Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Waiting to be Buried

It is a strange morning for winter, the temperature has reached 60 degrees. Although it is approaching noon the sky is dark. Winds are powerful and the rain is tropical. It is my job to make a delivery. The majestic church stands as a mighty reminder of a past. The thousands are gone. Their school is closed. Their convent is empty of nuns. A rectory built for many priests has but one. Crumbled sidewalks betray a maintenance abandoned. Surviving trees mix with their long dead brothers. Rain drips from rotten gutters. I have breached the barbed wire fence through the hidden entrance and made my delivery. A gentle soul has quieted the old dog long exhausted from his guardian duties. The task is done. I wonder where did all my people go. In suburbs perhaps where they harvest wonderful memories of another time...reciting creative names of celebrity nuns long buried? Memories...crowds of worshippers bustling home for a Sunday breakfast...altar boys extinguishing candles...ushers closing doors. Sunshine always paints memories. But today is not such a day. I know I am really looking at many Catholic churches in many American cities. The tribe has moved, and left behind their monuments. Their new churches are pitiful imitations of a majestic disciplined past. Perhaps they reflect the depth of their new century faith. I hope not. But now, here in the city it is raining. This wondrous church stands alone looking down on the collapsing houses of its ghostly congregation. Across the street a new African American Baptist church glares with the arrogance of victory. My church stares back waiting to be buried.