A Tribute To Another Old Friend.
I grew up at Holy Spirit. For as long as I can remember, I attended mass on a weekly basis, participated in the annual fundraisers for Casa Amparo, the monthly Habitat for Humanity build dates, and many other ministries at the church. I attended religious education classes each month, Vacation Bible School for some 14 summers, walked in every walk-a-thon for our sister parish in Guajoyo, was a founding member of the Puppet Ministry, worked for the church as a sound tech for several years, and helped out at the annual Thanksgiving Dinner from when I was 5, till I was 19.
I’ve been attending school in Boston for the past 2 years, and so I only visit home a few times a year. Each time, my parents, who attend another parish now, ask me if I’d like to go back to Holy Spirit, knowing that the church and its community hold a special place in my heart. Every time, I’ve said yes, and every time, as we return home from church, I’ve been deep in thought as to what I was going to write next.
You see, every time I attend Holy Spirit, I become so disappointed that I return home and feel that I must write a letter to Fr. Louis, in hopes that I can help him see what I so miss in Holy Spirit. Time and time again, these letters receive no response. I doubt whether they are even read (though if you are interested in reading them, feel free to send an e-mail to me; my address is my first name DOT my last name at gmail DOT com).
This has been my typical experience at home… until today.
Just now, my father walked into my room and asked if I’d like to go to Holy Spirit tomorrow. Without thinking, I replied, “Not really.” Upon hearing my voice mutter this phrase, I stopped to think about why I said this and it occurred to me that when attending Holy Spirit today, I receive nothing. I am not challenged to make a difference. I am not moved by the spirituality of the parishioners. Nothing. Nothing at all.
I see a parish, devoid of all signs of life and community. Where I once saw people actively seeking ways to live their faith, I see people simply repeating prayers as if mass were a Disney Sing-a-Long. Where I once was challenged to make a difference, I hear sounds entering my ears, absent of any application to my life. Where I once saw a community that looked beyond socioeconomic lines, I now see a community which prides itself in showing the monetary wealth of its individual members instead of the moral wealth of the community as a whole.
For me, every day that goes by I feel as though another piece of my childhood is ripped away from me, as the dimming flame of Holy Spirit Parish fades into the deep, dark night. I just question whether the oil available for this lamp will be enough to outlast the darkness. I guess we can pray for a miracle.
On a related note: If what I have said deeply offends you, I ask that you take the common courtesy to talk with me directly (my e-mail address is listed above if you prefer that everyone does not see your name) instead of simply leaving anonymous comments. What I have written about is very important to me, and all I ask is for this simple favor.