Issue Date: October 21, 2005
By JOSEPH McGOWAN
I had wanted all my shy, awkward young people to gather around the altar. I asked them and then prodded them. Come on, lets get going, just go on up there.
Two women my age stood in the back of the church. As the children moved up around the altar, I went over and talked to the women. Its great getting older and having nothing to lose, I whispered. I dont have to please anyone. I dont feel shy or afraid. I just go on and do things now.
The two women nodded. What have I got to lose? I continued. All anyone can do is complain and not invite me back. I dont care. Its not about me, is it? Its the kids that count. They nodded in agreement. Its the kids, one repeated.
I joined the children at the altar and urged them to come closer, right around that altar. Im not going to bite you, and I took a good shower today. One of the children laughed.
Why did I invite you up here? I asked. So that we could get blessed, a young man said.
Not really, I replied. You are the blessing. The Holy Spirit is right with you and with everyone here. You are the blessing.
Its our table, a young woman said. Now youre talking, I repeated. Yours, and you better keep it. Dont let anyone take your table from you or Ill haunt you, come back from the grave and just make life miserable for you. They laughed.
Fr. Joseph McGowan is a member of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus.
National Catholic Reporter, October 21, 2005
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