There was this parish I went to in my old college. The church was a circular building with the altar right at the center. Surrounding it in likewise fashion were the pews. The multiple church doors were open all around it inviting everyone and everything.
And I do mean everything.
During the hot humid noon hours (this isn’t in the States but in the Philippines and it’s very hot here), beggars would come in and lie on the pews. Stray cats could also be found nestling somewhere with regularity. And there was this old dog that wandered perpetually all over the church.
And of course, sparrows can be seen flying in the rafters. I don’t know how it is in the States but this one is something common to every parish here except for some expensive air-conditioned ones but the latter is quite rare. Most have open air windows or doors.
Inspite of which, people would drop in at all hours. Some would go to the portrait of the Divine Mercy and pray. Others would go to the statue of Our Lady, hold her hand and look up at her lovingly. And of course, there’s Eucharistic Adoration 24 hours.
Heh, I remember when this old diseased beggar woman conned me out of a lot of money once. She used to loiter around this church. I have no negative grudges against then and now, she probably needed the money and ever since the con, she used to wave at me everytime we met somewhere around the campus. Fond memories.
I don’t know why I’m mentioning this. But this topic about the dog reminds me of that parish. For some strange reason, all of these elements inappropriate as they are in the parish gives me a warm fuzzy feeling of God’s all-accepting love. When I still went to mass there, I felt extremely welcome even though there wasn’t a single human voice greeting me.