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2008 Story #11 – The Resurrection

On Easter Sunday, I sit in a back pew. Statues of a boy standing in front of a man dressed in clerical garb are stationed in alcoves. The priestly figure affectionately places his hand on the boy’s shoulder. As the boy looks away, he holds a book as if to cover his exposed privates.

As the service begins, I look at statues and think about priests.

One tried to kiss me on the lips. A few days before graduating, I went to say goodbye, and he moved toward me.

Another priest, my former religion teacher, annually arranged a service trip. Once, he picked me. When I declined, he persuaded students to apply pressure. One said to me, “You should feel privileged. Father only selects a few.” Years later, my former teacher resigned from the priesthood amid charges of pedophilia.

A third priest jumped me in a darkened stairwell. He asked for help moving candles to the balcony. Then, he followed me downstairs and pounced on my back as if I had been saddled and let loose.

Through it all, I kept attending Mass.

One Sunday, my current pastor, addressed the scandal. He had watched a news program about elderly couples who care for each other. The report claimed that a husband too often abandons the marriage if his aged wife suffers a long-term illness. “What are we to do in the face of an ailing Church in need of long-term care?” he asked. “Should we abandon it or nurse it back to health?”

So I remember priests who served Jesus well.

The associate pastor at my childhood parish annually arranged bowling outings and park picnics for the altar boys. He absorbed all costs and asked for nothing in return.

When my father died, his pastor assured me by saying, “Your father is a Christian gentleman and is in heaven.”

By the end of Mass, it is priests who help me realize that despite the pain, God shows His love, and yet I continue to stare at the statue of the man dressed like a priest, pressed up against the back of a boy.

The presider then says, “Easter is about Resurrection and new life…The Lord appeared to those who began to lose hope…The human spirit can overcome.... The presider then says, “Easter is about Resurrection and new life…The Lord appeared to those who began to lose hope…The human spirit can overcome....For many it’s about ‘me and my wounded ego.’ When you look through the lens of grief, it’s a tough world. But when you look out of the eyes of love, you see things others can’t see - you see possibility and life. Can you see the possibility that can rise above the pain?”

As the priest washes his hands, he says, “This is My Body which will be given up for You…Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, grant us peace…Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” Soon, I wait for the Eucharist and pray for a renewed Spirit, healed by the Body of Christ.

Note: this story is from 2008. View other 2008 stories and 2008 voting results. View current stories.