Monday, June 1, 2009


There is something unsettling about going through the belongings of a person who has died. Yet it must be done. Drawers you would have never dreamed of opening while they lived must be gone through the articles dealt with one way or the other. But what is the alternative? You cannot seal up the house and preserve it as a museum.

I was driving down the street the other day and saw a sign at a car dealership that read, “Repose! Repose! Repose! Get great deals!” I think I would rather not know that the car had been repossessed from someone who was no longer able to make the payments on this cherished machine and I benefitting from their loss. But what is the alternative? Bury the car out of respect?

That is the kind of feeling I had the other day going to see where the things from closed parishes were stored and available for sale. We needed a couple of small items for the parish – an aspergillum and bucket so that we would not have to use plastic plant pots ever again. *shudder* Well, of course the one thing that would have worked for us was not for sale. At least not yet. The pastor from the receiving parish had not the chance to go through the articles yet to see if he would need the bucket at his parish. His parish is the “first born son” in line for the inheritance of a closed parish.

It was odd seeing so many articles catalogued and sitting on shelves. Tabernacles, candlesticks, stations of the cross, you name it, carefully stored away. Some of it was quite beautiful but sitting here out of context gave off an odd feeling. These were not new pieces with hopeful futures but old homeless pieces that hopefully would have a good home once again.

I could wax on and on about the overly sentimental thoughts running through my head but that would be counterproductive. Overall I am just thankful that they are in some way being preserved. For what is the alternative? They will not end up as decoration in some new pub, candlesticks are not being made into lamps, and sacred articles are not being destroyed for fear of profane use. These items will hopefully be given new life and their heritage will continue on like an heirloom passed on from one generation to the next. You hate to see something die but that is that nature of this world. It is in the next that “every tear will be wiped away.” So in this life we do the best we can with the hand we have.


Anonymous said...

The things of this world that seem so real, that can be touched and seen, are temporary and not lasting. The unseen realities of heaven are eternal. Thanks for reminding us, Father.

Anonymous said...

It is really too bad that a big warehouse can't be purchased for these items we hold sacred for use in the future. The warehouse doesn't have to be local, but maybe one for the US, somewhere.
This is so timely because we have just spent a week going through and separating things that were my M-I-L from 52 years of marriage alone. That was hard but the closing of a parish seems harder. At least with my M-I-L things, we had family that wanted pieces and it has the hope of being passed on, in a good way.

Matt W said...

"Bucket"?! You might as well say "that little stick thingie with a ball on the end" instead of aspergillum. I'm sure more than one altar boy got boxed on the ears by the good monsignor for calling it a bucket back in the day. How about "aspersorium" and we just leave it at that.

On a more serious note, yes, you're right: it's sad to see these things, but it would be tragic if nothing from these parishes found a new home in another parish.