Bishop Swain’s March Column

Lent is a time for honest reflection

When I was growing up I was not a Catholic and attended public schools. In my mind, there was something intriguing and mysterious about the Catholics in my class. They were special. It was especially apparent when the kids would come to school on Ash Wednesday with smudges on their foreheads. The ashes we understood, but the thought that they would go to church before school was impressive. They already had been tagged lucky because of released time. Once a week they would leave school early to go to the Catholic Church for religious education while the rest of us had to stay and study. Lunch on Fridays accommodated the fact that they could not eat meat. This blatant respect for church practices would probably be seen as unconstitutional today. But by their public witness they stood out.