It had an echo of Nicholas Sparks to it, but it was real life, and the story went viral: An Ohio couple married for 73 years died just 28 hours apart. But the part that wasn’t reported, the part that the Catholic reader might have sniffed out based on the names, the location or the family size, was the Catholic faith that undergirded Helen and Joe’s union.
Despite its reputation for deprivation, our Catholic faith is a celebratory one. We are drawn into thanksgiving with incense and bells, candles and wine. We mark feast days and holy days. We celebrate the Mass. Every act of celebration, however simple, can be a spiritual exercise, affirming life and honoring the Creator.
Looking back, the son that was born to Leoold and Anna Maria Mozart on a Tuesday evening in late January seemed to arrive with fully formed symphonies bound up in his tiny body, waiting for ink and instrument. At age 3, the toddler nicknamed Wolfgangerl was identifying thirds on the clavier, and by 5, he was composing music.
Decorating is not just an exercise in aesthetics, but in awareness and gratitude, an attempt to create a little beauty in the place where you hang your key, lay your head and stack your dishes.
Katie Lentz had plucked the perfect dress for her Sunday surprise, and the yellow J. Crew frock was dangling in the back of her 1989 Mercedes, bouncing along the highway as the sun streamed in and oldies played on the radio.
The 19-year-old blonde from Quincy, Ill., had just completed her summer internship in Jefferson City, Mo., and she had hatched a plan to surprise her friends there by making a final visit. She set off around 8 a.m. on that Sunday, Aug. 4, and began the two-hour drive so she could go to church one more time with the gang she had worshiped with every week that summer.
When Mary Margaret Gefre’s boyfriend drove her to the train station in their small North Dakota town, the 19-year-old farm girl didn’t tell him where she was headed on that brisk December day, clutching a small bag containing a rosary, her childhood prayer book, a few dresses and a pair of shoes.
It’s 15 below with a wind chill of minus 39 when I arrive at the cathedral tonight. The holy water is partly frozen.
Perched atop Summit Hill in St. Paul, the Cathedral of St. Paul is the mother church of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a Vatican-appointed National Shrine of the apostle Paul and a towering presence in the capital city.
And tonight, the first Monday of January, it is a refuge for 18 homeless people who will sleep on cots in the basement choir room.