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07/06/2003 Archived Entry: "Beyond Belief"

Whatever faith I might have had in the institution of the church has probably been discarded at this point. That's not to say I don't believe in God or His teachings or anything like that...but I do truly believe that the churches of the modern-day world do a piss-poor job of carrying out His will. People wonder why fewer and fewer people go to church, probably because the church never goes to the people.

Yeah, the day after...so to speak. Still waiting for it all to hit me I guess...not really as upset as one would expect. Sure, there have been a few tears, but I think I cried more when I had to hear stories from a female friend of mine that she knew I didn't want to hear. Something about that just seems wrong...but like I said to another friend last night, but maybe events of the past ten months or so have just deadened me to emotional pain...I'm still hoping that I'm just in shock and the full weight of it all is going to smack me like a freight train soon. I already get accused of being emotionally cold enough.

Everything is still up in the air here. I mean, we don't know anything for a fact beyond my brother is dead. The police were the ones notified, so he's over in Norfolk for an autopsy. No idea when we'll be able to get him, and even less of an idea of what's going to happen after that.

When my family first moved here in 1988...or so...we went to the nearby chuch of Immaculate Conception. We went there for about...six or seven years I think...from third grade up until high school when we moved out to Tabb. Of course, for my brother that was his sophmore year through college...and he never really went with us to church in Tabb.

Of course, we knew very few people in Tabb and most of the ones we did know left when the pastor was transferred. Neither of the current priests at either parish ever gave what one would consider a spiritually satisfying service...I remember with the pastor at ICC we used to time to see how long he'd ramble on about something during his homily (or sermon to you Protestants)...the record was 34 minutes, that's not the service...that's just him talking in addition to everything else. The one in Tabb is much the same (He was called the Reader's Digest pastor as every homily started with a RD style story)...both of their predecessors were the exact opposite which I guess illustrates the differences that one man can make. If only the previous priest at IC would answer...he knew my brother very well and would certainly do the service.

Alas, none of the people we know with these churches is available, what with the 4th of July and vacations and all. However, such things need to get done, so we went to IC to try and see about holding the funeral there...was the logical choice we thought as more people in that parish there were familiar with my brother since that's where he grew up and spent his time recently when he wasn't sick or in the hospital (which, to be honest, wasn't a whole heck of a lot...if at all).

Talking to the pastor though, you'd have thought we were asking to sacrafice a goat on the altar and fling its blood all over the walls. He was insisting that we do it my brother's "community of faith" or at our own. Well, my brother didn't really have one, and we don't either...but more people at IC still know him than ever knew him at St. Kateri's in Tabb (meaning A person knows him...). Kept saying we needed to go where the support was...well, to be honest we, the family, would get a heck of a lot more support from a church in Pennsylvania than we would here. We wanted to have it here because this is where my brother spent the majority of his life...but apparently that's asking too much.

Oh, the pastor said if we wanted to have it at IC, we certainly could...but he "didn't know our son from Adam" and "there's nothing worse than having an empty church for a funeral" referring to the large service area IC has. I mean, what kind of thing is that to say to a mother who just found out less than a day ago that she's lost her eldest son and is in tears? The attitude was, as my mom concisely put it later, "he didn't go here, why should we bother with a ceremony?" Sorry, just figured the church was there to help the people, not the other way around. Silly me...but that's why I don't put a whole lot of faith in these institutions...they're run by humans, and humans are wont to completely screw things up.

Really sad when the reaction you get from an institution that claims to be service-oriented and for the community in general is more shocking to a bereaved mother than finding out her son is dead...just unbelievable.

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