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Posted on Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 9:48 a.m.

Catholic Changes: What's your story that ties you to ...

By Wayne Baker

0222 ov sunrise along a pathway.jpg
This week, columnist Terry Gallagher is writing the OurValues series …

Pope Benedict's retirement raises questions for Catholics around the world—including one in four Americans who identify themselves as Catholics. What happens throughout the Catholic church is no trivial matter!

Why do so many people stick with the Catholic church, despite all that we know about the horrors that have been perpetrated in its name for so long?

Earlier this week, we talked about the connections believers feel to their own parishes, and to the appeal of the Catholic “stories” that provide structure and meaning to the lives of its members.

In my last years at my parochial elementary school, I used to go to Mass every day during Lent at our parish church, about a five-minute walk up the street. On weekdays, Mass started at 6:15 a.m., so when Lent began, still deep winter, I’d leave home in the dark and it would still be dark when I got home. My mother usually went with me, and we’d have a fried egg or a bowl of oatmeal together before I turned around and walked back up the street for school.

About halfway through Lent, the night would end and light begin coming through the stained-glass while we were still inside the church. And by the end of Lent, winter would be over and we would be walking in daylight both ways.

Yesterday we cited Father Andrew Greeley’s belief that one of the great strengths of Catholicism is its “stories.” “Catholicism has great stories,” he wrote, “because at the center of its heritage is ‘sacramentalism,’ the conviction that God discloses Himself in the objects and events and persons of ordinary life.”

Even as a schoolboy, I understood the timeless appeal of the Lenten season at this time of year, when our pathway toward Easter carries us toward a season when we can walk in daylight both ways.

What's the story that ties you to a congregation or community?

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