Saturday, November 20, 2010

twentieth visit: Nov 20th 2010 Roman Catholicism

4:00pm saturday
St. Aloysius Parish
3616 Mount Troy Rd, Pittsburgh PA 15212
north side: reserve township

Oh my. Don't know what made me think that writing a post after a four-hour-night's-sleep was a good idea. Apologies for the first version of the seventeenth visit post, if anyone happened to read it. I think I have it cleaned up to a better state now. It was truly such a mess of rambling ideas. (or more than usual, anyway)

Although St. Aloysius is a block or two outside the city limits, something told me I needed to put it on this weekend's list, so I went with that instinct. (Generally I'm staying within city limits, except when this would lead to the exclusion of a faith—and in that case I venture out, such as to Monroville for my SV Temple visit.) Anyway, did you know that a nine-minute drive from Lawrenceville, through Millvale and a hill beyond lands you in a farming community? With my childhood peppered with trips to Grandma's farm (the spot where my mom grew up), my gatherings experience would not be complete without a church that backs up to treed fields and a parked tractor. Mission accomplished.

The service is only an hour long, but still my knees need a break before the end. (How does my sister do it?) I notice that the scripture reading comes from the same chapter of the Bible as last night's service—this time earlier in the 15th chapter of 1st Samuel. This is the second time something has happened in two's. (During back-to-back visits of Oct 23rd and 24th, the growing prevalence of shooting deaths of male African Americans was mentioned, and never before nor yet since those visits.)

My mind wanders once or twice to the hopeful possibility of an interesting conversation after the service... being so certain that people would linger to socialize. I should not make assumptions like this, but the following is why: Growing up, my sisters and I used to give my mom a hard time about making our family stay in the sanctuary a long, long while after services, while she talked to people. Forever. Over the years, I came to understand that this was a life-long habit that she was not going to break. For her, up to the beginning of her adult life, it was the best way (almost the only sure way) to keep in touch with neighbors—neighbors who lived quite a ways apart from each other, on large properties, in her farming community.

Alas: nope, not at St. Aloysius, or not tonight, anyway. The sanctuary empties, the parking lot too, and even the Priest bids me goodnight as he walks to his car... all before I am finished taking just 4 photos of the church's exterior. At 5pm on a Saturday, just a few blocks outside Millvale, the night is young, I guess.

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