Visiting a church in Maryland

This marked a rare Sunday when I was away from my parish in Queens. For once, I had a chance to just sit in the pews as an ordinary Catholic instead of puttering around the altar as a deacon.

We attended Mass today at St. Mary’s in Rockville. We were married in the tiny chapel next door 27 years ago, so it was a homecoming, of sorts.

It’s very different from my church back home. When I was growing up, people used to call it the “Spaceship Church.” It’s definitely from another era.  I’m impressed that they’ve kept the altar rails (though they weren’t used at the Mass we attended).

Fr. Charles Gallagher—ordained just three years—preached a very good homily about the Holy Family and how we can make all our families holier. He focused on two key practices: weekly Mass and daily prayer. He said that when he is asked where he went to seminary, he answers: “I had two seminaries. There’s where I studied theology and learned how to be a priest. But my first seminary, really, was my parents’ home.”

Chatting with him after Mass, I was delighted to learn that his father was a deacon. His parents must be very proud. He studied in Rome with some priests from Brooklyn, and it turns out we know a lot of the same people, from New York and from Washington. Nice guy.

Merry Fifth Day of Christmas!

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