Consider the vast pictures of our life: First birthday upon the lap of the multigenerational elders with siblings and relatives; first day of school; and of first Communion or confirmation; of sports, music, theater, community activities.
First date or dance as well as of graduation time. Off to more school or the armed services or jobs, of travel far away, of friends, parties, hobbies, engagements and marriage or ordinations or vows to community. Our sacred pictures of life. Things we learn to treasure more and more as older we grow.
Once cleaning out a rectory basement some years ago, I found a picture of a deceased priest’s parent, laid out in the coffin. A custom I’ve been told from the good old days. I had unfortunately stumbled upon something perhaps sacred to another, but so utterly foreign to me. The dead in pictures: too much!
Which brings me to the point of this letter: must there be pictures of the “death” of our dear, familiar spiritual homes? It is a joy to take pictures of the new building process: “We are having a baby,” if you will. Is it really prudent and wise to be so graphic with the tearing down of our spiritual homes?
I am sure there is no ill will, but things of this nature, unfortunately, continue the pain. I have never been edified by this tradition. In our world so vastly and rapidly changing, we do know that sometimes the inevitable does come to us and to edifices. Must something as delicate and somber as the taking down of a church be flung before all the world to see?
Thank you for understanding the sensitivity of the grieving.
Father Stephen Page
Pastor, St. Mary Parish, Fairfield