My favorite church

It’s where my wife and I were married 27 years ago: the chapel at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rockville, Md.

We paid a visit today, before heading back to New York, and had the privilege of praying during Adoration and sharing in the celebration of the mid-day Mass. There were about 70 or 80 people there for Mass.  Many were parents with small children.

After, I walked over to the small cemetery next door, to see the grave of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald—decorated this day with roses, pens, paper and, inexplicably, a prayer card to St. Gertrude.

I have a sentimental attachment to St. Mary’s, of course.  But the church also reminds me of Mary’s recurring presence in my life: I received two sacraments, Matrimony and Holy Orders, in churches dedicated to her, and I now serve as a deacon at a church that bears her name.

Beyond that, this little chapel is a happy reminder of the faith that people brought to Maryland centuries ago, a faith that nurtured and nourished countless people in those four walls across nearly 200 years. To sit in one of those plain wooden pews and think of all the Masses that were said, rosaries that were prayed, confessions that were heard, weddings that were celebrated, candles that were lit, hymns that were sung, tears that were shed, hopes that were raised again and again and again…it’s heart-stopping. And humbling. I’m grateful this small piece of history has been preserved. I hope it is there for a long time to come: a testament to perseverance and prayer.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.  Pray for us, O holy Mother of God…


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