January 29, 2014

Did you go to a place of worship when you were growing up? If so, what was it like?

Oh, Yes.  We went to a place of worship.  Every Sunday we walked to church.  We only lived a few housed away from the church so it wasn't a hardship for us.  We also went to religion classes on Sunday.  These were taught by nuns in the early grades and by the priest when we were in high school.
It was an old church that had been built by our grandfather and his brothers.  It wasn't a big cathedral just a brick building that was big enough for the congregation and any visitors who might come by on a Sunday.  We didn't have the vigil mass then.  When you came up to the church, the first thing you would notice was the entryway which was a three sided cement set of steps which led up to a double door.  After going through the doors, you were in a vestibule and had to go through another set of double swinging doors to get into the sanctuary.  Or, if you went left, you could climb the curving stairs to get to the choir loft.  That was my favorite place to sit.  My sister and I were recruited for the choir when we were quite young but not for the most charitable of reasons.  There was a choir member with a very strong voice which was never on the same note as the rest of the choir and we were recruited to help drown her out.  I don't think we did but we enjoyed being above the rest of the people and we could see everything that went on.  I will explain this later.  Let us go back down the stairs and walk to the other side of the vestibule where there was the baptismal font.  It was later moved into the sanctuary.
Entering the sanctuary, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful window over the altar and the stained glass windows.  The altar was quite large and was very impressive all white and gold with many carvings at the top and the bottom.  After Vatican II, another smaller altar was brought in and placed in front of the existing altar to conform with the new regulation for the priest to face the congregation when celebrating mass.  The altar area was carpeted in deep red plush and it looked very elegant to us since we had linoleum in our house.  In front of the carpet, there was an altar rail with a long white covering hanging from the top of the railing to the floor.  When we would come up to receive communion, the cloth would be pulled over the railing.  On either side of the altar, there were statues of Mary on the left and Joseph on the right with flowers placed at the base of each statue.
There were two sections of pews with three aisles.  The windows were stained glass but I don't remember what scenes they depicted.  I do remember that there were names printed on them denoting who had donated them.  In the back of the church behind the pews was the confessional.  There were three doors.  The one in the middle was for the priest and on either side for the penitents.
 There was a basement where classes were held.  There was also a restroom. 
To the side of the altar, there was a room where the priest and acolytes dressed and where the wine and hosts were stored.
The church has been redecorated since I was a child.  It used to be blue and gold and now it is green and gold.  It is still beautiful.  It is the place where I was baptized, confirmed and married.  It is the place where the funeral mass was said for my parents and extended family.
It still stands after a hundred years and it is still beautiful to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment