Half past two Wednesdays Catholic
”a fair number”would rise up
in silence when their special
buzzer jolted our Queens
classroom, summons a good
hour before our scheduled
parole to their midweek Saint
Teresa’s spiritual sparkle, a canny
swap of Byrd’s tale of his schlep
over the Antarctic or Vasco de Gama’s
spice routes for Jesus matinees.
As if aged or made wiser by this in-
cantation, they moved off with short
grainy strokes, an etiquette faith
associates with a seasoned squad
of pallbearers primed to meet
the threat of church front steep
slippery stairs, death’s dance
swift bitsy two-step sole
shuffle spilling soft sand-
paper sounds on gathered grievers
below, cargo remaining aloft,
upright. “Early dismissal
for religious instruction,”
they call it. I envied them
their discharge before our
time and think of them now
in the wake of abrupt dismissal,
return tomorrow a fool’s
gold dream, of my daughter, 24.
We launched the First Things 2023 Year-End Campaign to keep articles like the one you just read free of charge to everyone.
Measured in dollars and cents, this doesn't make sense. But consider who is able to read First Things: pastors and priests, college students and professors, young professionals and families. Last year, we had more than three million unique readers on firstthings.com.
Informing and inspiring these people is why First Things doesn't only think in terms of dollars and cents. And it's why we urgently need your year-end support.
Will you give today?