Well, I went to a funeral Mass recently. The much beloved mother of a well-known political activist had died and there was a large turn out of family, friends and neighbours in the chapel, located in a Catholic/ Nationalist heartland of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
At Communion, the priest said if people wanted to come for a blessing instead of receiving, they could. I got to my feet and suddenly became aware that there were very few people approaching the altar for blessings or communion.
Now, I’ve been going to Holy Communion for 45 years and for the first time ever, I felt I was part of a small minority religion. I liked it. I respected those at the Mass who had the integrity not to take part in something they had no faith in and I felt they were also acknowledging the fact that Communion is something meaningful and important for others, if not for them.
I don’t think it’s good for a religion to be established and respectable or part of the status quo. And I felt like ‘the odd one out.’ That gave me hope.