July 29, 2012
Responsorial psalmsecho from wooden arches and stone walls in the nave of St. Peter Church, where the rhythm of the 9 a.m. service extends beyond the Order of Mass.
Familiar faces fill the pews week after week. Front and center are the Missionaries of Charity, nuns belonging to the religious order established by Mother Teresa. An Irish-American family sits near the back right. And a Cape Verdean family regularly arrives just before the Gospel.
Today Father Richard “Doc” Conway reads from the Gospel of John, specifically the miracle of Jesus multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish into enough food to feed a crowd of thousands.
Stepping from the lectern and into the center aisle, Doc looks at his flock and delivers his homily. Small groups, he says, are the building blocks for a strong community.
“We talk a lot about violence in the neighborhood,” Doc says. “What would happen if we started talking to each other; if we started talking to the people who live upstairs and downstairs?”
The community would be strengthened and violence might just decrease, he continues. “It all starts,” he says “with just talking to each other.”
And to conclude the Liturgy of the Word, the church prays for the unemployed and underemployed in the community — a petition underscored as jingling coins drown out the rustle of bills in offertory plates.Akilah Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @akjohnson1922.