Monday, September 14, 2009


After my brother-in-law and my mother died within seven weeks of each other, and only one person from church so much as acknowledged the losses, including the priests, we decided the church was too big for what our family needed and started shopping. One thing we all agreed about was that there should be energy and something for the kids to keep them involved.

The first church we attended, we walked in the door and past the ushers and greeters, who were greeting one another and ignoring us. Then we committed the major faux pas of sitting in someone else's pew, making the seating off for the entire middle section. Of course we got the "now who are those people" stare. Me, being the person I am, smiled and greeted the stare-ers, but they simply turned away. No one so much as spoke to us except one lady who said, "Come back." Fat chance of that. When you are a racially diverse family, you tend to be a bit over-sensitive of not being made to feel welcome, and at Our Lady of Stepford, that did not happen.

Then we got online and started looking, and EG made some calls. He found a church in the Next Big City which had a strong teen program, a strong youth ministry, and an active music program. We went to Mass, and the two music ministers greeted us enthusiastically and chatted with us after church. We got follow up emails, too. Plus, during the Mass, the young man who got up to read was about 18, stinking cute, with dark hair and eyes and long eyelashes, and wearing a blazer and khakis. Something for Kiki, too. She couldn't tell us about the homily, but she sure could recite the reading.

So we decided to attend this church, at least for a while. Last night, we went to the teen Mass with the kids, and Nita was thrilled: the rock band had a drummer. Rocky was interested: the rock band had electric guitars. I was pleased, as the young people were singing and even dancing enthusiastically, truly celebrating the Mass. But Kiki was the most delighted--guess who was active in this service, wearing his blazer and khakis. My mom-dar went off, as he appears to be truly a nice young man, but I refrained from mentioning that, as I know that mom approval is the total kiss of death despite the hordes of teen girls who apparently agreed with me, judging by their preening behaviors when he sat down. At eucharist, he held the wine right in front of our seats. Kiki kept her head bowed demurely, although I doubt she was deep in spiritual reflection.

After Mass, I looked at Kiki. "Don't say a word, Mom," she said. I didn't, except to mention that I noticed that she had partaken of the wine this week and that I was surprised she didn't loop around the pews for a second pass. And this morning, when I was researching chalices for more ammunition with which to tease her, I stumbled across this quote by St. Chrysostum, ""The table was not of silver, the chalice was not of gold in which Christ gave His blood to His disciples to drink, and yet everything there was precious and truly fit to inspire awe."

I guess I wouldn't dare.


Pete and Debora said...

Oh man isn't that perfect! I am sorry the old church didnt mention anything about your loss. But I am glad you seem to have found another Parrish near by. Its really impt. to have a great youth group, it sounds like this one has a lot to offer.

Anita said...

My church has a white pastor, about 60% black people, 40% white people, and a sprinkling of Latinos and Koreans. We enjoy the diversity and hope to become even more diverse. And there are always many smiling faces to greet one another. Hope your new church will fulfill your needs.

Munchkin Mom said...

Anita, we need to go to your church. It reflects our family demographics somewhat. I think we need an Asian kid, though. One thing about many Catholics--they are somewhat serious and skid in a the last minute and zip out at the first possible second to beat the traffic, even if there is a donut hour. The priest at our old, old church said that he should just set up at the corner and do drive-thru communion. (And where did you find that bench/chair in your picture? I love it.)

Owl, I am used to a small church, so the youth group here has as many members as my entire church growing up. It is a bit of a culture shock.

Anita said...

I was born into a Catholic family; baptized, First Holy Communion, Catholic school for five years... but then my parents divorced and I moved to another state, etc. Never got back to it, although my dad stayed committed his entire life. Your comment brought back memories: we had donuts after curc too. And you're right - if church was more than 50 minutes, you'd be able to sense the agitation.
My current church is large and that's mostly beneficial. They give a lot and do a lot for others, but no place is perfect, and some people have issues with it too.
Oh, how I wish I owned the butterfly chair! It's at the botanical gardens in Richmond, VA