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Sunday
May022010

Three Seats at the Table

There is precisely one Catholic parish here in Salida.  As a person who grew up in a German Catholic ghetto, the lack of shopping opportunities was horrifying.  What if this one church had a tabernacle shaped like a cactus, or an altar furnished by the Worship Department of the Oriental Trading Company (Supplier of Useless Plastic Crap Since 1932, and It's Not Exactly a Coincidence the Great Depression Continued for at Least Another Decade After it Came to Be.)

The parish is a respectable place, blessedly, with votive candles, and nobody insisting that I congratulate myself for existing.  I was startled, too, to discover that it was First Communion Sunday.

This is a Big F'n Deal back where I come from, involving weeks of practice, parent meetings, and the rental of after-Mass party rooms.  (When Julie The Nephews Mama had her big day, we got us a big ol' table at the Proud Rooster.  This wasn't just a  life event; it was a Proud Rooster life event.)  In two year's time, when my godchild comes of age to Taste and See, he will do so in one of five Masses.  That is the necessity of things on the West Side; it's not so much a sacrament as a cattle call.  I shall have a camcorder at the ready, held high in the general direction of the altar so as to avoid the waving arms and cell phone flashes of the parents, other godparents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, next door neighbors, co-workers, classmates, and parole officers.

At St. Joseph's of Salida, Colorado?  There were three new communicants, two boys and a girl.  Her middle name was Guadalupe.  The boys wore ties.  Maybe three women in the congregation had dresses on, and the music department consisted of one woman at an organ.

I watched from a pew in the back, the second graders stepping forward, the parents receiving roses from the pastor once the Eucharist was returned to the (non-cacti influenced) tabernacle.  You could say that the tiny Communion Class of 2010--catechized in tiny, private classes  instead of the parish grade school which shut down twenty years ago-- was a weary reminder of the sloppy label which passes for "Catholic" these days, one which I myself have doubtless helped to sloppify.

But I saw three mountain kids who might grab at an aspen leaf along the riverbank, learn to drive on twisted, sometimes-paved roads, see the mule deer wander through the front yard and think, "Well, there's more to it than just me, isn't there?"

I hope the world someday never sees the little girl in the white dress standing atop a bar in a Panama City wet tee-shirt contest.  I hope the two little boys who flanked her up the aisle never wake up thinking, "I answer to no one but the other online gamers."  They might, of course.  But between you and me and the deer and the tabernacle, I think they've got a shot.

look not on our sins at:  mbe@drinktothelasses

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[...] local branch is one of those duplex jobbies which houses both a KFC as well as a Toxic Smell (there aren’t enough Catholics here to rate a triplex with a Long John Silver’s), and so it isn’t as depicted in all its [...]

[...] duplex jobbies which houses both a KFC and a Toxic Smell (there aren’t enough Catholics in Salida to rate a triplex with a Long John Silver’s), and so it isn’t as depicted in all its [...]

[...] duplex jobbies which houses both a KFC and a Toxic Smell (there aren’t enough Catholics in Salida to rate a triplex with a Long John Silver’s), and so it isn’t as depicted in all its [...]

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