Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Odds & Ends

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Odds & Ends

Article excerpt

As soon as I walked in I felt the catholicity of this congregation was different. People had arrived early and filled the front seats first. The flock was distinctly younger than run-of-the-mill parish churchgoers. The sermon lasted nearly an hour, and, most amazingly, no one complained afterwards.

This celebrant's clean and simple message was peppered with gritty and complex situations and examples. His spirituality was real-world stuff intended to be lived out in day-to-day activities, not the kind requiring people to jump through hoops to achieve nirvana or to crawl into comfortably spun cocoons in isolation from the world.

As he stood before this congregation in finely tailored vestments, this spiritual master suggested practical ways to live, among them: share the good things; pitch in for the hard work; keep the spirit before you and be led by it; seek out and keep before you icons that reflect the true welfare of the community; mentor the young; learn how to handle disappointment; set up situations of dialogue; meditate; find ways to build bridges; be open to ideas emanating from others; be dedicated and disciplined to a system that has a goal; find ways to live together wholly and wholesomely; reach out by doing community work; remember and exercise moderation in all things.

These spiritual ideals were made physically real for the congregants by this presider's interesting though admittedly quirky real-life examples. He had been involved as a leader of an improbable group of diverse and, at times, troubled people in the heart of Chicago these past 10 years. …

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