Tuesday, March 15, 2016



Coming across this old photo recently, I was reminded of my first real moral dilemma. 

Look closely at this old interior shot of St. Theresa Church! At the foot of the Mary statue and under the Sacred Heart statue is a heart-shaped votive stand - a place where people could drop coins, light a candle and pray for a special intention. I could not afford a candle, so I never used it. I had to pray without the help of a candle. Maybe that is why so few of my childhood prayers were answered? I digress!

About 1953, this old votive stand was thrown into the dump behind the church. I guess it was too far gone to repair. The dump was a great place for my brother, Gary, and I to go "treasure hunting." I was 9 years old and he was 8. One day we came across this discarded votive candle stand. I had a big stick in my hand so I gave it a big whack. All of a sudden, coins started flowing out of it like some kind of heavenly slot machine. There was so many coins in it that it didn't rattle when it was thrown out, so nobody bothered to check its contents.

When we regained our composure, we gathered it all up a bag or box, took it home and hid it till we could process this moral dilemma.

After a day obsessing over it, and knowing we would get caught if people saw us spending a lot of suspicious cash in that small town, we decided that we would take our chances and take it to Father Johnson in hopes that he would let us keep it.

Bad idea! He gave us a quarter each and sent us home!

Childhood lesson learned! Crime may not pay, but sometimes honesty doesn't pay much either! 
As much as it hurt, Father Johnson was right, the money did not belong to him or us, but to the parish!

My brother Gary at a slightly earlier age - about four.

Me at a slightly earlier age - about five years old.

I am the altar boy on the right at this Latin Mass wedding at 7 or 8 years old.
The old votive stand might, or might not, be in this picture, on the left, but out of sight.
It was about this time that it was removed and dumped. 

No comments:

Post a Comment