It's where I first started attending Mass with Joe, and where we met Father Joseph Jenkins, who married us (check out this post to see where). It's where I entered the RCIA program in the fall after our marriage (and I remember sitting on the couch in the rectory with the other candidates watching a videotape of a person I'd never heard of named Scott Hahn), and where, with my family in attendance, I was received into the Catholic faith. It was where Father Joe heard my very first confession and many more after that. (Did I ever tell you about the time in the confessional, after absolving me, a quite sick Father Joe asked me if I wouldn't mind running to the supermarket just up the road and getting him some NyQuill? He had a Mass to do and didn't have time. I was happy to oblige, of course; Father handed me a few dollars--so much for my anonymous confession--I got the medicine he needed, and left it and the change on the table in the confessional so he could find it after Mass. I like to joke that it was my best penance ever.) And it was where Larry was baptized--screaming his head off the whole time, and with a full diaper to boot.
We decided last weekend that it was high time we took the kids there for a Sunday Mass. We wanted them to see the place that was our parish so many years ago. Larry was too young to remember it; he was just under a year old when we moved to where we live now. It looked almost exactly the same. Except for a new coat of paint and the outdoor Stations of the Cross that wasn't there before, I smiled when I saw the same altar, the same tabernacle, the same slightly uncomfortable pews (I didn't mind, and the kids didn't complain); even the same cantor and the same deacon. There was a different priest, of course (who was wonderful, I might add), and after Mass I made sure I said Hello to Deacon K. I wasn't sure if he'd remember us, but he did.