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Attendance

Attendance I remember that on my report card I got a grade for "Attendance." This graded how many times I was present or absent from school since the last report card. Everyone walked to the neighborhood school. Bad children would leave the apartment as if to go to school, but then would play hooky. The report card would reveal this to the parents, when "Attendance" got a C or a D grade. So children then would attend school to avoid consequences of punishment. But is attendance enough? We were called "Good" children because we showed up regularly. What if we day-dreamed while the teacher talked, or doddled in our notebook when we were supposed to be taking notes or completing an in

Holy Week

Catholics of my age will likely remember little or nothing of the traditional, unreformed rites of Holy Week, prior to Pope Pius XII's 1955 reforms. My minimal childhood memory of Holy Thursday from when the Mass of the Lord's Supper was still in the morning is a fleeting one. I remember the church being very crowded (as churches tended to be in those days), and I remember the schoolgirls in their white communion dresses solemnly walking past in the procession at the end of Mass. I have no memories at all of the other Holy Week ceremonies, for the obvious reason that as a child I would not have attended them. In those days, when the Easter Vigil service was still celebrated in the early h

A Distance- A meditation for Holy Week

A Distance People might ask me if I am a Christian, or a Believer, or go to church, but never am I asked if I am a disciple. Why? I suspect that it was different in the early days of Jesus' followers. Peter, the first pope, was asked if he was a disciple, that is, a follower of Jesus. He said no a few times. No one asked if believed. Belief was not an issue back then. Did you do as Jesus did was the issue. In time, belief trumped following as the focus. With the development of dogma, came heresies, that is, dogma debates. People stopped asking if you were a follower. They wanted to know what you believed. And as we came to see in history, you could believe but not really follow