Saturday, December 24, 2016

Author's Story II


Blessed Sacrament Cathedral
I graduated from St. Eugene’s in 1966, when the liturgical changes after the close of the council promulgated in Sacrosanctum Concilium to the best of my memory had not yet been thoroughly implemented. I journeyed off to Detroit Cathedral High School downtown, where my experience of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist began to fade, as I no longer was required (sadly, in retrospect) to attend daily Mass, and cannot to save my life remember one thing taught to me in high school religion class by my teacher, who was also the Business Ed. and Typing teacher and track coach. A rumination of the yearbooks for these years reveals photo captions such as “DC Sodality Men Reach Out,” and “Fr. Trainor Celebrates Mass Facing the Seniors as he Closes the Senior Retreat.” To be sure, in my adolescent years I hadn’t the foggiest idea of what was happening in the Church in the United States after the Council, and, after seeing a pretty, red-headed Sophomore on the bus on her way to Immaculata High one day (in the end I proved too shy to sit next to her on the DSR bus...), I confess I really never paid it much attention.

In the ensuing years I drifted further and further away from the Church, the Body of Christ, in true “prodigal son” fashion, often arguing with my mother over matters of faith. In college, I was approached by evangelicals asking, “Are you saved, brother?,” something they did not believe of me as long as I was Catholic. The norm would have been for this now-lukewarm Catholic to have been lured away from the Church, but baptismal grace proved me an exception.  Though I was not all that holy, I wasn’t about to become a Pentecostal! How Our Lord led me home is outside the scope of this endeavor; suffice it to say that there are rough parallels with St. Augustine.

When I did return, I was unable to find employment in my undergraduate major, history, so I began to volunteer teaching CCD in my parish, hoping eventually to land a job there teaching history. This required me to earn catechist certification offered by the Archdiocese of Detroit, which I did in 1978. No sooner had I completed the requirements, when a combination Religion/History opening occurred at a co-ed Catholic High school in inner-city Detroit. I taught there for one year, after which I landed a job teaching Scripture (for which I, by true Catholic standards, was woefully unprepared to do) in my parish high school, where I remained for one year. I then took a position at a Catholic high school in a suburb of Detroit, where I have been ever since. Since 1995, however, and my “reversion” (no doubt through the prayers of my Mom) to the fullness of Catholic teaching, I have made an extensive study of the post-conciliar years in the United States, for which my training in history and as a catechist at the St. John Bosco Institute for Catechetics, as well as twenty-five years as a catechist in the Archdiocese of Detroit have come in handy.