Small Christian gatherings like the one that welcomed Peter and John are dear to us.

Monday, 4/28/14

Our first reading describes the release of Peter and John from the court of the high priest. The other disciples had been praying for them in that upper room where they had celebrated the Last Supper, and where the Holy Spirit descended on them on Pentecost. There was great joy among them all when Peter and John returned to them unharmed.

There is a startling contrast when you compare the Christian flock then and now. Then all of Christianity fit into one room. Yesterday there were two million of us filling the court of St. Peter’s and all the side streets of the Vatican.

That was a glorious turnout for the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII, but somehow small groups are more heartwarming. We find pleasure in recalling our intimate gatherings. You can add yours to mine, but let me bring back some that have been dear to me.

From 1940 to 1945 those of us belonging to the eight Catholic families on our block left our homes to gather at one or another of the Catholic houses for a Monday 7:00 P.M. block rosary for peace. The Protestants who made up the majority on our block didn’t care much for Catholics, but they liked seeing us pass by for the rosary. It was something our whole block was doing for peace.

From 1946 to 1947 I was one of eleven boys undergoing the strict regime of a novitiate. When the discipline was relaxed for Easter Week, and we gathered in our club house with no source of enjoyment but ourselves, that was more than enough for us.

You must find that you enjoy kinship with the people who attend the same Mass as you. You needn’t talk, you just feel good about being there together.

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