May 22, 2010... 2 months from today. That's the day they are closing the doors of our beloved St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church... for good. It's the end of an era for the people of the community, who built that Church, more than 70 years ago.
I have to be honest, when I moved here and had to leave St. Elizabeth's, it was painful. I loved St. Elizabeth's. It was a young community and we had a contemporary worship service. The priest was young (well, okay, younger) and the parish was lively. When I arrived at St. Francis, the first thing I noticed was that it felt old. The priests were old, the church was old, the people of the parish community were older... even the services had an older feel, heck they still rang the bell at communion, wasn't that practice out with Vatican II? But as I whined and moaned and attended services each week, St. Francis began to grow on me. Churches have a way of doing that. And the the priests came and went. The really old ones retired and, what's this? We got a young priest? And a really young priest, at least by priest standards... and I really liked him. And I got to know the people of the community and the old-school service grew on me and, what can I say? I kind of grew to like that bell! And while I was there we saw friends get married in that church and we had our daughter baptized in that church and we said goodbye to Michael's mother in that church and we saw our friends children get baptized, recieve their first holy communion and confirmation in that church. And, lo and behold, I became a part of that church and it became a part of me. Churches have a way of doing that. God has a way of doing that.
Where do we go from here? The simple answer is another church. It will likely be St. Rose, since this is where Camille attends school. Our church has merged with Mary Mother and St. Gregory's and the new home parish, who's name I can not recall, will be at Mary Mother. We can not afford to support 2 churches and since Mary Mother and St. Rose and equal in distance from our home (we could walk to St. Francis) we will likely end up at St. Rose.... and, I expect, again, it will be painful. But perhaps, with time, St. Rose will feel like home.