Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Ugly Church

Priests and ministers appear willing to sell their souls if they can be appointed to the better parishes and the finer church buildings. In the process, they get an attitude and you know they have arrived. Beautiful church, well-coiffed priest, fine homes.

I grew up in an ugly church. It was built from bricks that came from a demolished housing project. They never were lined up perfectly, there were major cement runs from between the bricks. As far as being painted went, the people who did it seemed to think that one swish with the brush was fine, so you’d see white and some brick red when they were done.

It was a Normandy-style church, rough-hewn and windblown out on the edge of civilization, surrounded by water. A fancy, well designed building just would not match the location. This place, complete with its peasant-village bell tower, was the exact right building in the exact right place. A cold, stark building in what can quite easily be a cold, stark village.

The pastors were equally unpretentious; no matter who we had, they fit the church and they fit the parish. When one of them could not light the New Fire at Holy Saturday night, someone in the pews tossed a pack of matches onto his table by the altar; he picked it up, and went right on. No big deal. Our dog trotting down the aisle when we were serving Mass? We’d lead it out; another no big deal.

A ugly church? Certainly not in our eyes; it fit us and our windswept village.


Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...

My kind of church!

December 27, 2006 6:49 AM  

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