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Posts Tagged ‘St Roch’

My Catholic school background leaves me baffled.

Memories come and go, but feelings remain and for me, boredom was predominant. Memorizing prayers and counting bricks in the building across the street filled my days, punctuated by feelings of humiliation. Nuns stood guard over desks with arms folded under their cassocks. They were prepared to smack a ruler behind a girl’s knee for chewing gum, or pull the small hairs at the back of a boy’s head for launching paper airplanes. Once I had to stand in a corner, with my back to the class, for speaking to a boy.

It’s no wonder when the time came to pick out my very own saint’s name for Confirmation, I chose Dolores – Our Lady of Sorrows, patron saint of the suffering.

But this isn’t a story about me… This week Bob, my newly-discovered-retired MD-social butterfly, attended a ceremony outside Germantown’s Catholic Church to dedicate its newly restored steeple. The Assumption Church, built in 1845, was severely damaged during the March 2020 tornado; it lost many stained glass windows and roofs and needed major structural repairs. Since then, every time I drive by the church and the rectory, I’m struck by another glittery new copper gutter or roofline.

Finally the repairs have been completed! Rising many stories above the red brick, Southern Victorian homes of our neighborhood, the steeple was replaced to the sound of cheers and bagpipes. Most surprising to Bob, everybody got down on their knees in the street to pray!

“The steeple exists to point to God to remind us, you know, God is in his heavens. And then really the purpose of a steeple is to support a cross. And the cross now is going back up over Germantown and so that for us is very important.”

https://www.newschannel5.com/news/a-symbol-of-hope-nashville-catholic-church-restores-steeple-after-tornadoes

“Do you know anything about relics?” Bob asked me when he returned.

I tried to look knowledgable. “Sure,” I said. “It’s like a toenail of a saint.” Of course it might be a piece of cloth the saint actually wore too. Then Bob was happy to report that there is a third level of reliquary – something the saint touched!

“Like the bed Washington may have slept in?” I chimed.

It turns out that the cross that was hoisted above the church’s new steeple holds a First Class relic from St Roch! It’s a piece of his bone! Now if that didn’t get my old Catholic juices churning. I’d never heard of this Roch, and so some digging googling was required. Born in Montpelier, France (1348 – 1379), St Roch is the patron Saint of many things, but first and foremost it’s PLAGUES!!!

The story goes that he was born into money, the son of a governor, but set out for Rome as a poor confessor during an epidemic of the Bubonic Plague. Supposedly, he would make the sign of the cross over people suffering and they would miraculously recover. He survived the “Black Death” himself and went into prisons and public hospitals to minister to the sick; Roch was known to casually lift his pants leg up to show his scarred “buboes.” Which is why some of his statues look vaguely naughty…

And even though Roch is also the patron of dogs and Single Men, I refuse to think the worst! Just as we are ready to bid adieu to Covid, Omicron sweeps in during this festive season. Just as our children and Grands are being vaccinated, we are warned of a January surge in cases and deaths. I don’t know about you, but if praying to a piece of bone in a cross up the street might help end this pandemic, I’m all in.

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