Twice-a-year churchgoers…from a different perspective

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 25, 2008

By Kevin Chiri

Preachers, reverends and priests all around the River Region are probably still smiling today about what is always their biggest turnout of the year for church services, which occurs on Easter Sunday.

There are traditionally two different times that certain people show up in church, who don’t usually come, and that is Easter, along with Christmas, or Midnight Mass.

But Easter is the biggie, to be sure.

I’ve seen it for years, the way so many church regulars see the once-a-year chance coming up each spring, and hope that this will be the year that “certain person” finally decides to come to church.

You know how it is. For those regulars in church, they can’t help but have a little discouragement about their spouse, or teenage kid, or whoever, that they can’t seem to get into church.

If they would just go to church, they think, then it will solve all of their problems, and make them into the kind of person that they really want.

And once a year, on Easter, you do see a lot of people show up in church who normally don’t make it. The pews are packed at every church in town, and you can almost hear the silent prayers of so many in the congregation, hoping that something special will happen to make that loved one continue coming.

I was one of those people many years ago.

I was raised Catholic, but never was really serious about my faith as a teen-ager, and once I got out on my own, it was the end of my church going days. That’s when you really know you’re grown up….when you don’t have to go to church if you don’t want to!

So I was living with a buddy and not going to church, then I got married, and neither my wife nor I went to church.

But then something happened. She got religion!

Yup, she got hooked up with a bunch of ladies selling Mary Kay cosmetics, and they got her “saved” and then going to church. At first I just pushed it off like it was no big deal, but then it began to bug me.

“Who did she think she was? She wasn’t a better person than me, was she? But somehow I was sure she thought that since she was going to church and I wasn’t,” I remember thinking.

That’s the funny thing about church. Even people who say it’s not important, or you don’t need to go, somehow sense that it’s a good thing to have a little religion, or to go to church. I’ve always thought that it proved in a simple way that there really is a big God sitting up there somewhere.

Anyway, I started going back to my Catholic church to prove something to the wife, but it just didn’t do anything for me. Then out of the blue one night, on the eve of Easter morning, I remember quite clearly my wife saying, “you know, I’m sure you won’t come, but I just wanted to tell you that I’d love if you came to church with me tomorrow.”

Well it must have been just the right time, or God must have been zapping me with something at that moment, but I just went along with her like it was no big deal.

“Hmmm,” I thought. “Sure, I’ll go with you.”

I figured I would just go once to make her happy, but it never happened that way. I just kept on going, and it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened in my life.

From there, my wife and I grew much closer, and we were taught a lot of great lessons from the Bible that we used to shape our marriage, and eventually our children also.

To this day, we look back on the lessons we learned over the many years we went there, and figure that church as the prime reason we have had a largely successful marriage and family for 32 years.

So to all you folks out there who saw a loved one show up for church this past Sunday, don’t give up hope. I’m a prime example of that Easter Sunday service changing a life, and changing a family.

Hopefully for your family it can happen too.

Here are a couple of cute messages that actually appeared in church bulletins:

—The Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals.

—The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks on the Water.” The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus.”

—Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 pm. in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.

—Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

Kevin Chiri is Publisher of L’Observateur and can be reached at (985) 652-9545 or at