A few years ago I attended my first Catholic mass in a busy church outside Birmingham. It was Easter Sunday. I sat in the nosebleed section.
People greeted me with the words, “He’s risen.”
And because I was not raised under a rock, I answered with: “He’s risen indeed.”
I was not reared Catholic. I was born into a fundamentalist family with a mother who sometimes prayed in tongues over our meatloaf.
But after my father died, I learned that he had been raised Catholic. He went to Catholic school, he played Catholic baseball.
He didn’t talk about it. I never knew that version of him.
All I knew was a man who did not dance at wedding receptions for fear the pastor would catch him.
There in the Catholic cathedral, the priest announced, “He is risen.”
“He’s risen indeed,” said the congregation.
I was an outsider in the room. The priest recited the Liturgy of the Eucharist, people formed a single-file line to drink out of a chalice.
Sundays in my family were nothing like this. My father was an usher at our little church. He’d stand by the front door and hand out bulletins that advertised upcoming Baptist church events.
—Thursday fundraiser, dinner on the grounds. Bring a covered dish.
—Young men’s Bible study, 6 P.M. Bring a covered dish.
—Women’s Sunday school class is holding an upcoming prayer vigil against beer. Bring a congealed salad.
—Men’s group is recruiting for its annual mission trip to Biloxi.
On Easter, my father always gave folded bulletins to those approaching. He would say, “He is Risen.”
And any Baptist worth his salt would answer with, “He’s risen indeed.”
Most who attended our church on Easter were only visitors. They came twice per year. My father called them “nosebleed Baptists.”
I never heard…