A Place within the Place- Holy Rosary Church

A Place within the Place – Holy Rosary Church, Branch

The Sunday morning ritual of heading up the lane to Mass is one of my favourites. I say that as a testimony to the central role that spirituality has played in my own life. For those who still make that journey up what is now known as Cemetery Road, the journey is both physical and spiritual all at once.

Let me describe it….A few Sundays ago, we engaged in our usual Sunday morning routine. Chris, the early bird of all time, likes to be in the Church at 11 AM and while I can’t seem to get there before 11:28 when he’s working, I like to be there early, too. The quietness of the Church before everyone arrives has its own sweetness and magic that’s perfect for a bit of reflection.

We dodged up a bit before 11 and it was one of those dreamy Branch Sunday mornings when all the important pieces of the day line themselves up and catch your eye. The boats were bobbing up and down in the Gut, seeming impatient for their months-long wait to head out again. The smell of an almost cooked pork roast wafted through someone's window- Sunday dinner on the stove. The cove was glistening , awash with morning light and sun, a thousand joyful sparkles everywhere. The place was quiet, as it is on most Fall mornings. So on we went to the Holy Rosary Church, the rectangular structure that somehow becomes a circle on the inside. And that’s when the magic happened.

As we walked in, the sense of familiarity and rootedness that struck me was almost palpable. The Church was cool. The sun was hitting the stained glass windows, blasting rays of ruby red and indigo blue everywhere. Donny and Walter were in the back pews, sitting down and catching up. When it all jumbled together into one thought, one experience, it was the astonishing sense of “home” that settled.

I thought of the monumental life events that had happened in that Church. The joyful – our wedding, lighting the Advent candle, quiet Winter evening prayer groups. The sorrowful – Nanny and Poppy's funerals, saying goodbye to so many fine Branch women and men through the years. The transcendent – First Holy Communion and Confirmation. The communal – the gathering of our community on Sunday mornings.

Anyway, such is a Sunday morning in Branch at our little Church on the hill – a collective in relationship with each other and God in a place that is a central thread in the colourful fabric of our community.

This coming Sunday, that Church will take centre stage as we gather to discuss and determine where our Church is heading, this sacred place where we gather to pray, to worship, to chat on Sunday mornings. I hope we will see our Church as one part of a living, active faith, not just on Sundays but on every day of the year.

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