“Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.”

It’s a dreary Sunday, a cloudy day with a chill in the air. I followed Gracie outside this morning and noticed red leaves on my oak tree. It was my foliage moment.

My childhood church had an upstairs and a downstairs. The upstairs was the church proper with a main altar and two side altars. The wooden pews were ornate with curly q’s and decorations on the end panels. There was a choir loft with an organ. Only once or twice do I remember a choir singing: at Christmas. Mostly one woman did the singing at weddings and funerals. The sound of the organ filled the church. Above the main altar and along the side walls were stained glass windows. When I’d get bored, I’d look around and read at the bottom of the windows the names of the families who donated them in memory of another member of the family. The only time I saw the side altar used was really early in the darkness of a Christmas morning when I was around ten. Some people used to sit at the ends of the pews. Anyone else looking to sit down in the same pew had to scrunch by them. When it was time to kneel, lots of people perched on the seat, more sitting than kneeling even though their knees were on the padded kneelers. I understood old people doing that but not young people. It just seemed lazy. In those days ushers passed the baskets which were actually woven and had long handles. All the ushers wore suits.

I preferred going downstairs for mass. There was one altar, plain wooden pews, no organ and regular windows. If there was an upstairs and a downstairs mass at the same time, the downstairs one always ended first. That was its draw. When the nuns brought us to church, they always brought us downstairs so it was a familiar place. In the back were racks filled with pamphlets, and I usually took a few. I figured reading them during the mass was okay. It wasn’t as if I’d brought Little Women. I’d do the stand up, sit down and kneel when I was supposed to, but, being a little kid, my mind was often elsewhere. Sometimes I’d go through the hymnal just to have something else to read. I always listened to the sermon though I sometimes didn’t understand all of it. Kids were not the intended audience. I always had a dime for the collection; my father made sure of that.

When the mass was over, I’d run up the stairs and out as fast as I could. My obligation was over, and the rest of the day was mine, except, of course, for Sunday dinner.

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21 Comments on ““Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    It’s very rare that protestant churches has more than one alter, at least here in Sweden. I always get confused when visiting a catholic church because of all those altars 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever heard of upstairs and downstairs mass either, I guess we swedes didn’t go much to church after the WW2 🙂

    But Like You I never could concentrate so I sat and read what ever I could find so the time would pass quickly, not that we went to church especially often though.

    We did however go to church every Christmas with the school. But those times they made it short and we sang only the popular psalms. I liked to go there those times 🙂 After that we went back to school and had Julmust and gingerbreads 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • Christer,
      Usually it is the central, the main altar, which is used for services. The parish is the only one in town, a fairly large town, and it has so many parishioners that just upstairs would not hold them all so they have two masses to accommodate everyone.

      I got bored when I was a kid. I’d look around and read whatever I could find. I had to go every Sunday.

      I’d like getting the gingerbread!

  2. Bob Says:

    Cool cloudy and damp yesterday and this morning here in North Texas. A slight chill is in the air for the first time since early April.

    I am glad to hear that our Catholic friends have stooped to the same level of charity collection as the rest of the religious world. One of my great dislikes of organized religion is the need to have a donor’s name placed on an object to get them to donate money. What does it say about integrity when you find the ‘Harry Schwartz memorial broom closet’ in the religious school? I guess the family didn’t think old Harry was worth the cost of a classroom. Why not place a plaque on the urinals in the men’s room, ‘In Loving Memory of Sam Levy’. Everyone can now urinate on old Sam. Selling bricks to be placed on a sidewalk with donor’s names is really cheap move. Everyone walks all over uncle John’s name just like they did when he was alive.

    The Dallas Jewish Community Center was renamed ‘The Aaron Family Jewish Community Center’ a few years ago. My sister in law worked at the center and she told me that the Aaron family wouldn’t donate a couple of million dollars for needed renovation unless the board put their name on the door. Shame on them. Disgusting!

    The highest form of giving is when the recipient and the donor don’t know each other and the donor receives nothing in return except the knowledge that they did the right thing.

    • Bob,
      I’m talking 50 years ago when I’d check out those windows. They were placed there in the 1930’s when the church was built. I don’t think there are any other memorials in the church other than those windows. They did a needed renovation of the church and paid in cash as they sold off the old convent and some land because they didn’t want to saddle the parish with a mortgage. They haven’t yet fallen to naming everything.

      Colleges, baseball teams and on and on now are named for sponsors. Sadly, it has become the way of the world.

      • Bob Says:

        I forgot that the Catholic Church is a very wealthy multinational corporation almost as wealthy as the Mormons. 🙂

  3. Bob,
    Each parish in this country is separate and must survive financially on its own without help. What Rome may have has nothing to do with individual towns and their parishes which is why many churches have been closed and sold. They couldn’t survive: not enough parishioners to support them.

    That old convent had been built in the 30’s, and when I was a kid, it was filled with nuns, but not anymore. It was just an empty building so the parish decided to sell it. That made perfect sense as they were then able to add an elevator to bring people to the upstairs of the church. The only way to get there before the elevator was a flight of about 15 stairs.

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My church had an upstairs altar and a downstairs altar. The downstairs one was for the little kids. It had a painted triptych of some Old Testament story full of blood and thunder. I don’t remember which story. I only remember that God was in the center panel and didn’t have a face which was really creepy. Especially if you were a little kid.
    I started going to church when I was 5. My mother said I didn’t have to keep going if I didn’t like it. When I was 8 I decided I didn’t need to do that anymore but my father said I did. He didn’t go to church so I must assume that he didn’t want his Sunday morning solitude to end. 🙂
    I joined the choir because I figured that if I had to be in church I may as well do something I liked. I used to stuff a paperback up my cassock sleeve and read it during the sermon. I was (and am) also guilty of not exactly kneeling.
    The weather here is the same as yours. There’s more colored foliage, though.
    Enjoy the rest of the day.

    • Hi Caryn,
      The downstairs wasn’t decorated all that much. It was also where the confessionals were. There were a couple of statues, but small ones. Downstairs is where they have daily mass.

      I started in the second grade. Once you received first communion you were stuck going every Sunday. I was in college, away from home, when I stopped going. I remember my parents weren’t happy when I wouldn’t go on my last Sunday home, the day I was leaving for Peace Corps training. Two years later, my parents had even stopped going.

      I like church choirs, but we didn’t have one too often. I love you hiding your book, a woman after my own heart!

      Now it’s raining!

      • Caryn Says:

        I quit at 18 as soon as I graduated high school and had a full time job. Week ends were all mine! 🙂
        It has already rained and the heat went on. It’s set rather low so it must be cold.

  5. Birgit Says:

    I still love church buildings and church related music, but being forced to go to church every sunday didn’t encourage faith. Neither the protestant nor the catholic services I had to endure. Field studies once in a while is ok, but the rest was pure boredom. I was glad when I had a hymnbook, so I could read and sing inside my head.
    Most hated was the service in the conservative catholic bavarian village, where my grandma lived. I had to wear a dress even in winter and an ugly oldfashioned hairdo and the very long mass was in latin. We had to be in church 30 min earlier for the rosary. Extra boring.
    But later I enjoyed visiting churches and services in foreign countries. In Greece and Norway I didn’t understand a word, but it was an interesting experience. You can learn more about societies in churches than in shopping malls, even as an atheist 😉

    • Birgit,
      I visit churches when I travel in Europe as so many of them are old and majestic. Florence was amazing. Every church was a museum with famous paintings on the walls.

      When I was little, I always had to wear a dress to church as well as a covering for my head. I hated both of them. Now anything goes, including shorts. I guess it’s the going which matters.

      I went to church a couple of times in Ghana. I loved the music and the enthusiasm, but the services seemed to last forever!

  6. Hedley Says:

    “Where ever you are, may your God go with you”

    And while Tottenham were winning their fourth in a row in North London, we headed to Comerica for an absolute corker between your Detroit Tigers and the Oakland athletics.

    For those of you with the MLB network, you would have seen a terrific game and THE Tigers won it with a fly ball from Mr Kelly. Cabrera hit and then hit some more.

    Now we are settled in for a coffee, and “call the midwife”.

    Go Get Em Tigers

    • My Dear Hedley,
      That was quite a game with the end result never clear until that Kelly fly ball in the bottom of the ninth.

      I am DVR’ing Call the Midwife as The Amazing Race is on, and we, my friends, play games and have dinner together before we watch.

      • Bob Says:

        Detroit only one by one run. It’s a short series and anything can happen.

      • Hedley Says:

        We brought home the DVD from our recent trip and we are on episode one…..a lot of delivery stuff so I am behind the sofa.

        I thought that AR Episode 1 was moderate and their Shanghai stuff poor, especially the food nonsense in such a cosmopolitan city. Haven’t picked a team….yet

        You are completely right about the game and, of course, the place was jumping as the Tigs got it done. Great for Kelly. Some long nights ahead in Oakland, we shall see

  7. Bob,
    They only needed the one run t the bottom of the ninth. @ games to none is a huge advantage!

  8. My Dear Hedley,
    I haven’t picked a team yet, but I was impressed tonight by the Sri Lankan twins who did a great job with the fish, the more difficult task. I was sorry to see the team with the double amputee eliminated.

    • Hedley Says:

      Katmah, isn’t it strange how often the bad taxi driver has caused AR disaster ? I was also sad that they didn’t go on. Maybe the Sri Lanka twins who are fun
      Not sure about Midwife but we will watch a second episode

      • MDH,
        Taxi drivers are the bane of AR. So many times they have been the cause of a last place finish. Two other teams had taxi drivers who hadn’t a clue.

        I thought the Sri Lanka twins amazing when one of them dipped her head into the barrel of fish and her hair was around the top of the barrel. Phil was right about them smelling of fish.

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