My church (and a few jack ‘o lanterns) …standing in the light.

Happy Halloween!

This is one of the oldest European holidays, invented by the Celts (my people) as a day when spirits, ghosts and goblins were thought to run wild, and food and wine were left on doorsteps to entertain these spooky visitors from the underworld.

I love Halloween because of all the little kids dressed up in costume. And because I have virtually unlimited access to candy corn.

The trick is to treat yourself without going completely hog-wild, but that’s a delicate balance for some of us (hence the need for spiritual guidance).

Happy haunting, fellow goblins!

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Atlanta

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, 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 our brand-new pastor: Father Jeffery Ott, a Dominican friar from New Orleans, and our new Assistant Pastor Father Bruce Schultz … not to mention our affable, groovy deacon, Chester Griffin (whose beautiful wife Janis also leads the choir), a liturgical dance company called Amazing Grace, and some highly gifted & competitive sports teams (of which I’m not a member).

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.


2 thoughts on “My church (and a few jack ‘o lanterns) …standing in the light.

  1. I’m always glad when Halloween is over. It is my least favorite community event- way too spooky for me. However, I love the next day- that being All Saints’ Day when I can bellow out the hymn,”For All the Saints” who from their labors rest… Glad it was a peaceful night!

  2. The trick-or-treaters are just starting to show up at our door. We always like the first hour, because that’s when the younger kids come and they seem so amazed by the experience. Later, the huge high school kids arrive with their scruffy faces and voices deeper than mine, and I think, okay, time to hang up the old treat bag. But it’s hard to turn down free candy, isn’t it?

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