Sometimes, when an evening felt empty and dark, I drove myself to Kilquade and watched St. Patrick’s Church breathing peacefully light into the surrounding space. The stained glass colourfully broke the black stillness of a night, nourishing my heart with serenity. 

That church has welcomed me many times, and my soul mapped it with a mark of being seen and witnessed, listened to and heard, embraced, accepted and loved. So I was coming back in my lonely moments, and despite the locked gate, I experienced heartbeats of being met and received.

It’s my fourth year with the parishes, and my empty darkness is constantly nourished with presence. There are no more lonely evenings with no soul to reach out to. Jesus gives himself abundantly to me here through His sacraments, His Word, His community, His call and His light. As Isaiah promises this Sunday: they rejoice in your presence.

I’m amazed at the church’s capacity to hold all shades of experiences. And remain faithfully focused on Jesus while witnessing births and deaths, transgressions and transformations, confessions and communions, selfing out and uniting.

I am a witness to being met in my lows and highs. The community has carried me through losses and cheered at successes. I was held in my heartbreaks and embraced when celebrating my engagement. I’m thankful for taking the risk and stepping into the church with all the colours of my life. The mosaic of the bright and dark elements offered to God and lived out with the community creates my own spiritual stained glass today, and Jesus’ light shines through every shade.

The people that walked in darkness
has seen a great light;
on those who live in a land of deep shadow
a light has shone.
Isaiah 8:23-9:3

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