Friday, March 21, 2008

Childhood Church

My thoughts around this time of year with Easter so very close always go back to childhood and attending our catholic church. Lent was and still is very huge in the Catholic faith and I remember the sisters of the school we attended stressing that we must give up something that would make us feel like we were suffering as Christ did for us. In my child's mind that meant I must give up candy because that was sure to make me suffer terribly. In fact it still does. I am a self-admitted candy addict. I can't say sugar because I don't crave cookies, cakes and such....just candy....all kinds. I was also told that we could give up a bad habit as well and I remember thinking "well if I have to give up candy then Jimmy should give up picking his nose". It is funny now but it was so serious to me back then. Jimmy was a kid that constantly had his finger up his nose and it used to make my stomach swirly when I looked at him. I tried not to look but you know how it is....sometimes you just have to.

Above is an Easter photo of my parents and two older sisters along with three aunts, an uncle, my grandmother and some cousins. My mother is on the left with my sisters, Barb and Loretta in front of her. If you look closely my father is standing by my mother but behind my grandmother (his mom) and to his right you can barely see the head of my Uncle Bill. My father was not a very big guy, being only 5'9". But this is ridiculous. My grandmother was only 4'11" so you can see that both brothers were squatting down to "ruin the picture" as my grandmother would say. This made my mom look like an amazon woman. They were a bunch of pranksters and she used to get so irritated with them. Don't you love how everyone dressed up and wore bonnets or hats to church?

Here is the church as it is today. It looks the same to me as back then. There are double front doors that are kept locked now due to vandalism but growing up and many years afterward I remember these doors were always unlocked. You could enter the church at any time.


Here is what the inside of the church looked like when I was a child. The altar was beautiful but was later taken down and remodeled. I don't know why they did this. The priest walking to the right of the photo was Father Schwank who left the priesthood and married a nun and moved to Bend years ago. It was such a scandalous thing then. Oh my!

This is what the inside of the church looks like in color after the remodel of the front. The stained glass windows were always there and were not touched as well as the stations of the cross on the walls to the far right. If you enlarge the picture you can see more detail. I used to sit during mass and just stare at all the stained glass pictures and the paintings on the walls, mostly because the mass was said in Latin and I was bored out of my mind back then. The only thing that kept me from falling asleep was all of the kneeling and sitting and standing that I had to do.....that and a healthy fear of the nuns. It was torture for a child.

Here is my brother, John working on the restoration project of the church. He is a contractor and a very faith filled Catholic who volunteers so much of his life and time in the church.

My nephew, Shalon worked with my brother on this and many other projects. Here they are installing the marble tile work for the alter.

I love this shot of them in an outside building working on the new dome.


This is what it now looks like inside. The paintings and carvings were restored by hand. All of the statues are the same ones that I stared at every morning before school and on Sunday. I am glad to see that the cathedral has been lovingly taken care of.

8 comments:

Jill said...

I can't believe how different it looks! I never realized how drastically they were remodeling--I just knew that Uncle John and Shalon were working on it!!! This is incredible! I actually really like the new colors and look of it, very pretty! Amazing...

Junebug said...

Oh, I would have been in awe as a child to sit there during services and stared at the windows and everything. We were raised in a Baptist church with a very high ceiling (30 ft) and I used to stare at the ceiling when I was a child. If you stared long enough the ceiling would appear to lower down. It was fun to do. But so wrong, huh? Ha ha. Catholic churches with the spires always look so European. In reality, I guess they are. Very nice restoration. Happy Easter! Great picture of your family too. So funny for your dad to have hunkered down like that! A regular riot, eh?

tipper said...

Love the post. I love the history of your family. And how funny that your Dad squatted down. When I first glanced at the picture thats the first thing I thought "wow that lady is tall"!

Kelli said...

I love that picture of grandma and grandpa, and him squatting down. When I first looked at it, I though wow, grandma must have shrunk a lot over the years! She sure isn't that tall now! Haha, that's funny. Thats so awesome that John is involved with the restoration of the church, it looks beautiful!

Noble pig said...

Many childhood memories here of church on Easter Sunday. It seemed like a bigger deal then. Now every store is open on Easter and it's just strange to me.

Kristi said...

I went to an all girl school. My junior year they allowed boys to attend. It was so much more fun to have boys there. They were always playing jokes. Hilarious. Your church looks beautiful. Hope you had a wonderful Easter.

Kristi

"JEANNELLE" said...

What a lovely post, the story and the photos! How wonderful for you to be involved with the same church for so many years.

k's mumbo jumbo said...

I grew up in Baker in the '70's. A very dear family friend was a priest at the church. Thank you so much for bring back some wonderful memories of my childhood.