Yesterday was so special. We attended the wedding of two wonderful young people that we have known since we moved here. The Weber and Ortman families are homeschoolers from way back. We all brought our kids up together in TORCH and now Brad and Holly are creating a family of their own.
The ceremony was so beautiful, and the church, St Ignatius, is the first Catholic church that was built in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. It has been there since 1792. The parish has since built a new "Chapel" that is twice the size of the original church, but they have refurbished the old church and it is just gorgeous!
I was looking around after Mass, and I have to say that, for a moment, I felt a little wistful at the lavishness that the parish can afford in redecorating a church that is almost never used, while Good Shepherd still has to find a way to raise the money for a new roof. It was kind of like visiting the homes of some of our friends that have these fabulous new houses, with all the bells and whistles. I am not begrudging anyone the chance to live in a beautiful new home, certainly. Just as I am thrilled that the Parish of St Ignatius can afford to make the church as lovely as it has. It is a testament to their love for the Lord. God Bless them!
At the same time I was filled with love for our dear Good Shepherd. I thought of the way that we have been able to make it beautiful. Not the same way, but our own way. I thought of how much sweat and how many tears have been shed just trying to keep it going. It is not only still going, it is slowly turning the corner to financial health!
We can't afford to hire a bunch of contractors, and buy a lot of expensive materials. Still, Fr Jay, and a lot of very talented people have been able to refurbish the Sanctuary, make it beautiful, and give us a lovely space. God has been very generous with us, through other parishes, and we now have a marble altar, new lights, new carpet, new paint, and soon a new Crucifix. Fr Jay has many friends, and some of the things that we now have in the church came from the parish where Fr Jay said his first Mass!
So many people have put in time, money and talent to get the work finished. It's really our church. We are really a family and this effort has bound us together in a way that doesn't happen without adversity.
There have been lots of disagreements, some pain, as jobs in the parish had to be cut, and some discomfort. There have also been many triumphs and so much love. That is what it's like in a real family. Those are the experiences that build a foundation and make it what it is.
Our church isn't going to be a showplace. We don't want a showplace. I am comfortable there.
It feels like home. Our own house is very much the same. We steadily pick away at the projects that we can afford, as we can afford them. We are battling gravity and nature all the time. We don't have a lot of money, but Tim is just amazing at taking on projects and making improvements. We haven't had to get any loans, and while that means that the going is slower, we are not in debt, which I find much nicer!
There is balance. Our home isn't new, it isn't showy, but it is comfortable, warm, and it is exactly right for us. I am so glad that the boys have had the chance to live in the same house, and the same wonderful little town, and be a part of the parish at Good Shepherd, as long as they can remember.
There are as many different types of "home" as there are families and there are many, many special parishes within the Catholic church, all over the world. I am just so glad to feel so Blessed in our comfy little corner.