Monday, July 25, 2011

Hail Mary, Full of Whaaaaaaaaaaa?

Faith is a very personal thing. It's just that, faith, usually unrewarded but still an important part of human existence. Faith in God, or Jesus, or Allah, or The Chicago Cubs. It's really all a waste of time but come on, who wants to believe in nothing?

Somewhere outside Green Bay lies some out of the way burgh called Champion, Wisconsin or New Franken, Wisconsin or Al Franken, Wisconsin and for some reason, The Virgin Mary decided to appear here back in 1859 to some little girl from Belgium. Well that's the Vatican's story and they're sticking to it.

We visited this little place last weekend. Me for my I'll do anything once attitude and Max's Mom's I'm living with this agnostic idiot and maybe I can save his soul attitude. Pulling into this gravel parking lot at the Our Lady of Good Help, I fully expect my 20/seeing eye dog sight to immediately become 20/15. Unfortunately my faith went unrewarded. But I did find a bathroom off to the side. Small victory.

Just as we went into the small church to check it out, yep, Mass began and I was stuck there for the first time in months. You see, despite my 12 years of Catholic education, I got over it about a month after I got out of it and I only attend Mass when somebody dies, a child gets confirmed, or I really really want to get out of the house for an hour.

I can tell the Catholics are still all hung up on that fetus worship because they mentioned it numerous times. At the end of the Mass, in the true Catholic tradition, they attempted to guide you not to a better life by serving others, but to the gift shop. Chaaaaa ching!

The gift shop, you know, the place where the mother of Jesus took time out of her busy day back in 1859 to scare the shit out of a little Belgian girl, was full of Chinese made statues and cards and books and a pile of anti abortion bumper stickers so high it may have been what Mary ascended back into heaven on.

To the "crypt". This is the place where Mary actually showed up. In the basement of a church? Surrounded by candles and plastic rosaries which can be yours for only a dollar. I lit a candle for both my deceased parents though my Mom may have been screaming at me from the great beyond to not bother. My Dad may have appreciated it, especially if he hasn't been sprung from Purgatory yet. Hey, I'm hedging my bets, folks. It only cost me a couple of bucks. The beer at Titletown and the slot machine at the Oneida casino cost me twenty times that much an hour or two later when in the fine Irish Catholic tradition we went from kneeling and worshipping the Lord to furiously drinking and gambling. Thanks, Mary!

No,as I said, faith is your own personal superstition, errrrrrr, belief. Whatever brings you peace in this world is a-ok with me. I wish I had that blind allegiance to something that makes no sense. Like rooting for the Bears. But Our Lady of Good Help, the only place in North America where Mary visited, other than under a bridge in Chicago or a tortilla in Mexico, is a peaceful enough place. It was quiet and it was interesting to flash back to the 60's and see the old school Catholic women with head covers and ten kids.

Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wisconsin. Hey it's cheap entertainment. Thanks for comin', Mary!

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