The Death of the Parish



     It was a strange obituary, to say the least. Not only was it in all the local newspapers, but it had also been posted on walls and telephone posts all over town. It simply read: “It is with the deepest sorrow that we regret to announce the death of Saint Bridget Church. Funerals will be held this coming Sunday at 11 AM.

 It was therefore not surprising that by 11 AM that Sunday the Church was so full, that many people had to stand at the back of the Church. That was certainly unusual. It had been a very long time since the little church had been full on a regular Sunday. Many of the parishioners who had shown up for the “funeral” had not seen the inside of the church for years. Even more unusual though, was the dark wooden coffin laid out in front of the altar.

     The Parish priest spoke briefly: “I doubt that it is possible to resurrect this parish and to give it new life. However, since we are all here, I would like to try one last time. I would like all of you to form a single line to file by the coffin. Take a good last look at the deceased as you pass by the coffin. When you have seen the body, leave the church by the sacristy door. Those who wish to do so can come back in by the front doors for Mass.”

     The priest opened the coffin. Everyone was curious to find out the identity of the mysterious deceased. The procession started. Each parishioner in turn passed in front of the coffin and stopped to look inside. Most stayed a few seconds contemplating what was inside. All left very quietly and a bit taken aback by what they had seen, for at the bottom of the coffin a mirror lay reflecting their image.

“Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God's sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2: 4-5

This text is a translation/adaptation of an article published in the Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe. Used with permission.