We were in Butler to pick up a Blessed Mother statue. I’d like to say it’s a strange story, but it’s not that weird—she needed a new home, and I’ve been wanting to have one. We planned our trip around the Mass times at St. Anthony of Padua, the parish down the street. I loved visiting new and different churches as a recent convert, which I haven’t done as much in the past year.
I’ve had a certain image of Catholic churches in my mind since I was a kid. Not the grandiose kind, though that’s obviously top of the list. But the quiet kind, the white walls and curved ceilings that seem to request contemplation. I don’t know why this screams (or, whispers) “Catholic” for me. I probably visited one parish as a kid that looks like that, so that is the image I’ve held. Or maybe there is something quiet and contemplative about them, which is something we often seek in a hectic life. Either way, this sort of church has a comfortable familiarity.
It was a fairy overcast day, but inside seemed to shine. Filtered light came through the stained glass windows, and people spoke in hushed tones. The nave was small, at least compared to other local parishes, so the pastor was able to greet everyone as he walked up the aisle before Mass. I’m sure we stood out as visitors; it seemed the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else.
Mass itself ended up being short, not even forty minutes. When I returned to my pew after receiving the Eucharist, I was surprised to see the back clock reading only thirty minutes past. But it didn’t feel rushed, despite the record-speed homily and lack of some more common things I’m used to. Instead, its atmosphere matched the structure of the church itself—quiet and contemplative, a refreshing change from the norm.
I did pick up that Blessed Mother statue while in town. There was something comical about driving up to someone’s home, when they’re not there, to steal a box off the porch. I haven’t found a home for her yet, but she’s been well-traveled and could use the rest, too.