OUR LADY OF LOURDES CATHOLIC CHURCH IN ATLANTA
Happy, Blessed Easter Sunday to YOU!
So, I’m Catholic. A practicing Catholic. And I am therefore supposed to (required to) go to church every Sunday.
I am also (super old school here) supposed to tithe, i.e. give 10% of my income to the church. However, since I have a very modest (okay, pathetic) income and basically live off my husband, I’m just going to pretend, for the purposes of giving myself one day a week off from this blog, that I’m making a reasonable income and go from there. So every Sunday – all year long –I’m going to be giving $100 to Our Lady of Lourdes, www.lourdesatlanta.org my amazing, adorable church in the heart of the Martin Luther King Jr. Landmark district in Atlanta.
Our Lady of Lourdes was founded in 1912 as an African-American Catholic community, financed by Mother Katharine Drexel – a rich Main Line, Philadelphia heiress who founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and donated her fortune to serve Native American and Black people. From the steps of OLOL (no relation to LOL, kids) you can see Ebenezer Baptist Church (where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his father, grandfather, and brother all preached); and the neighborhood infuses the church’s soul.
I love OLOL so much, it’s ridiculous. It’s small, it’s mighty, it has awesome music (thanks to our Minister of Music and chair of Spelman College’s Department of Music, Dr. Kevin Johnson), and it’s got Father John Adamski – our tall, thin, challenging, intellectual, lovely priest… not to mention our affable, groovy deacon, Chester Griffin (whose beautiful wife Janis also leads the choir). I’m not sure if you know many Catholics, but I can tell you for sure, we’re not the monolithic, homogenized, “jump to the Pope’s every proclamation” pack of lemmings that you may think. I, for one, believe that the church’s stance on birth control is socially irresponsible, morally insupportable, and just plain nuts. But I also think the church’s position on poverty, social responsibility, gun control, the death penalty, immigration, health care, equality, civil rights, justice, peace, and charity is truly inspired.
For these reasons – and for the reasons I’ll add every Sunday that I go to church and am freshly inspired (or spiritually challenged), I’m making this my weekly tithe. And if you can find a church you love even half as much as I love Lourdes, you’ll feel blessed to support it, too. I promise.
Well, I can’t wish you a Happy Easter, yet. Easter is very late THIS year!
Have you read Paul VI’s prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae? You did not mention the Church’s position on abortion but think the Church’s stance on birth control is “socially irresponsible, morally insupportable, and just plain nuts.” Are you aware of the connection between birth control, abortion and the degradation of woman? I hope you will study more of the Church’s wisdom and see that She is right.
Hi Ted —
I honestly think that to speak out against birth control (let’s leave abortion out of it for now) and condoms in developing countries where HIV/AIDS and overpopulation are keeping people in abject poverty and at deadly health risk is morally irresponsible. Women need to be able to control their own health safety and their reproductive choices — anything less is degrading and puts them in a position of inferiority, in my opinion. But thanks so much for reading and writing!
Catholics are not required to tithe, ask your priest.
Happy Easter! Great comments about your church. I grew up a Catholic but was not as fortunate as you are. I hope the Church is getting past all the guilt, shame and exclusiveness I experienced when I was a a young boy. I love your goodness and your quest to clear a pathway through our jungle of mindless materialism. Society needs leaders who think and provide wise and useful alternatives to the mind-dead habits and foolish following of the money driven media. We need values to live by that nurture love, community, sharing, cooperation , honesty, giving, personal responsibility and encourage real happiness in society. Keep up the good, thoughtful and heart-filled work you are doing. Your thoughts are much more powerful and healing than you will ever realize.