By Sarah Strba, Columnist
Last spring, my dad ran in the Boston Marathon and I had the privilege of coming along as well. While there, we did lots of sightseeing. As we went around, I kept noticing the churches. It was really cool because Boston has a mix of old and new buildings. There could be an old church on one street, and right behind it… a skyscraper! I have a great interest in older architecture, but having huge, new towers is always exciting to see as well. Boston is great because it has a mixture of both the old and the new.
For our family’s trip to Boston, we arrived on Saturday and, as practicing Catholics, the next day we headed to Mass. It was pretty easy to find a church to attend, since there was one on almost every block. I inferred that this was due to the beginnings of our country, when large groups of Irish and Italian immigrants came to the United States and brought their Catholic faith with them. I learned about this once in a class I took, Catholicism in Contemporary Culture, where we were taught that Irish and Italian immigrants primarily settled in the Northeastern cities. Most Irish immigrants had settled in Boston, which makes sense, as their basketball team is named the Boston Celtics.
That Sunday we went to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. The Mass was held in the downstairs level of the Cathedral. It was very neat to have Mass in Catholic east coast culture. The church was full, and it seemed a bit more formal than my parish back home in Oregon. Most of the men wore suits, and many people were more dressed up than I was used to seeing at my home parish’s Masses.
The service, itself, however, seemed much more rushed. The homily was probably 5 minutes long, something I was NOT used to. Even as we were getting Holy Communion, the priest seemed to have been saying “the Body of Christ” before the next person was even in front of him! I wondered if this was due to the fast-pacedness of east coast culture. It could have just been the style of the priest celebrating our Mass, though.
I’d also like to reflect a little on the reason I was in Boston, the Boston Marathon. Specifically, I’d like to talk about the bombing that occurred in 2013.
As Catholics, it is so important for us to honor those who were injured or lost. These kinds of tragedies are heavy and require a lot of thinking. I tend to become angry at God, more often that I’d like to admit, when something bad happens. I ask Him why He would allow such a thing to happen. Why does He not change the hearts of the people who commit these terrible crimes? In several instances, I have blamed God for the tragedy, forgetting that He only makes good things and weeps with us when something terrible like this happens. Instead of getting angry, I could have been praying for those who lost their lives and their families. I believe they need our prayers to help them turn to God in their time of need.
God can also console those affected by a tragedy in the form of the love and support from the people around them. After all, God works through all of us.
It is vital that we answer God’s call to love others.
I feel helpless, knowing what families and friends of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing had to go through in losing their loved ones. But we should all be at peace with the hope that these beloved children of God whom we have lost, have been gained back by God and are in a better place. Those who mercilessly lost their lives have been reunited with our God, Who loves them and loves all of us. I thank God for being so loving and merciful, especially to the poor, weak, and vulnerable.
Boston was an interesting place to think and reflect, and I’m glad I got the chance to go there and to write about it. Beauty can be found almost anywhere, especially if you take the time to see it.