I’ve been thinking about my religious upbringing. I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic elementary school and high school, and attended daily Sunday Mass.
During Sunday Mass, a lay person reads a story from the Old Testament of the Bible. Stories like Noah’s Ark, Moses and the Burning Bush or David in the Lions Den. Then another story from the New Testament of the Bible. Stories of the young church forming after Jesus lived and died and rose from the dead. Then the priest reads a story about Jesus’ life from one of the four Gospels in the Bible. Then the priest closes the Bible and just talks to the congregation. His talk is called the homily. I always enjoyed the homily. I guess because the priest would remind me of the message just read from the Bible but he explained it in a way that computed with my childhood brain. I also liked the singing and the quiet time during Sunday Mass but days later, the story told by the priest during the homily is what stayed with me and helped me to look for ways I could live the message of the Bible throughout the week.
Now I tend to spend my Sundays listening to God as I garden or as I visit with a friend, instead of regular attendance at Mass. Instead, I get my stories here through this blogging community, by reading the Washington Post, by listening to Rachel Maddox smartly report on MSNBC, by reading YA novels, by reading twitter posts from my favorite literacy minds and authors, by asking my students about their day and listening to their stories.
I guess you could say that Catholic priests were one of my first storytellers.