When did you first go to church? What are your earliest memories?
So we went to church as a family beginning when I was a young child. My mother was a devout Catholic with a Jesuit Priest for an older brother as well as five other devout siblings and my father was madly in love with my mother so he joined her in her faith. He was raised as a Catholic and went to Parochial schools until high school but as a young adult he lived a rather wild life uncomplicated by Sunday worship. Anyway back to my memories. As I was saying we all went to church together each Sunday. My mother, father, brother and myself would get dressed in our Sunday best and go to mass. Most often when I was very young we would go to the 8am mass. I remember that we would sit either in the first pew or the third pew. We always entered the church through the side door and sat in the pews that were closest to the door. I remember being fascinated by the people. I loved watching them as they filed into the church through that door. Families, elderly, young adults all in the same building to worship God. I was also fascinated by the shoes. Sitting in the front pew I had a birds eye view on the footwear of the parish. Strange don't you think? I also loved the ritual and structure of the mass. There was comfort in the sameness every week, in the knowing of what would come next. As we came of age to go to Sunday school our weekly mass attendance depended on our Sunday School schedule. I remember walking over to the parish center for class after mass and my parents would spend that hour socializing in the parish hall. After class there would be time for milk and donuts in the hall. It was all very pleasant.
For a time when I was a young teenager I helped out in the Parish Center office, helping Sr. Jeremy who ran the education program. Then as a 16 year old I worked in the Rectory helping to count the collections each week. It was a wonderful job at the time. We had a personable and social Pastor who's brother helped each Sunday. There was breakfast to eat and special snacks of crunchy bacon and donuts from the kitchen. Mary was the cook on Sundays. She was a love. Very much a grandmother figure. I'm not sure how long I had been working in that position when our beloved Pastor had a breakdown of some sort and was sent away and replaced by a different sort of Pastor. The new Pastor had been in the service and had an edge to him. The camaraderie that had existed on Sundays changed drastically. Mary was let go. I have vague memories of the pastor being unkind to her. Shortly after that she passed away. It was a very sad time. Not long after that I left my Sunday 'job'.
As an older teenager and young adult we went to church as a family less regularly but still often. When I moved out and in with 'R' I would get up on Sundays and drive down to pick up my Mum so we could go to the 11:30 mass together and then I would spend the day at her home doing homework, helping to make dinner and just catching up after the week. That lasted for a while, but after my Uncle 'B'(the priest) died she stopped going to church and so did I. It was too sad, too hard, too emotional, just too much to manage. When my children were born they were baptised in my church. When my MIL passed away she was buried from my church and I tried to go back to church, thinking it would help with the healing. Then my Mum died. She was buried from my church. I tried to go back again with my 'n' in the baby Bjorn. I stopped going to church. It was too sad, too hard, too emotional, just too much to manage.