@postaday 69; #postaday2011
It was meant to be funny, but it was also meant to be sad:
Gave up Lent. #FB
It got retweeted and liked on Facebook. My friend Jack responded, “See ya in heck.”
When I left the house yesterday morning for work, I said Happy Fat Tuesday to the family and John mocked my ‘lapsed Catholic’ mode. Hah. I’m at peace with that. I’ve got K-12 parochial schooling in my past. Plenty of rosary drills, stations of the cross, and Apostles Creeds. I have said more Hail Marys and Our Fathers and Acts of Contrition than probably were ever necessary. If I forgot my uniform beanie, I’d have to get a Kleenex bobby-pinned to my fuzzy hair to attend First Friday Mass. I adopted a ‘poor pagan baby’ and got the stickers to prove it when I was in second grade.
When I was a student at St. Peter’s School in Riverside, New Jersey, I’d sit in the cafeteria finishing all of my lunch because the lunch ladies wouldn’t let you throw away food or milk. The cafeteria was in the basement of the church. To a little kid, that church was a cathedral. The best acoustics ever. I joined the choir when I was in the third grade and was only happy at church when I was singing. Sometimes during Sunday Mass I’d faint. I used to think it was because I was possessed or just brimming with sin.
When I was in the first grade, The Adams Family was a big hit on television. I used to love to sing the theme song. I could hear the first three notes and still name that tune today! We were permitted to go up to the church and pray to give thanks for our lunch when we were through eating. One day, I had other ideas. I went up, kneeled at the very center of the railing at the altar, and waited for the church to empty. Then, at the top of my voice, I started singing the theme song from The Adam’s Family. Oh the joy! Such volume! Sweet angel echoes! I was ecstatic! I was six! After I got through about half of the song, a priest stuck his head out from the sacristy. I stopped, crossed myself and quickly walked out, a flush of embarrassment washed over me and I thought I might be struck dead by a heaven-sent lightning bolt.
We know it’s rare that a lightning bolt strikes a sinner in the Catholic Church. As I got older and invited to help lead the classes in song, the priests insisted that a separate microphone be set up for me because I was a girl. I didn’t get it. I still don’t get it.
And I don’t get giving up something like chocolate or beer or booze for Lent. The concept of a personal and soul cleansing experience, I get. Learning to live without something detrimental, I get. Doing instead of not doing, I get. Insisting the flock confess its sins, do penance and pay homage to its leaders, I get. I think it’s bogus, but I get it. But letting leaders get away with harming innocents, I don’t get. Even if the Catholic Church were to put its house in order, I’ve moved on, and I’m OK with that. Heck or not.