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Quieting the Book Racks

St. Maria Goretti parishioner and volunteer, Bill Schneider.

Quieting the Book Racks

By Sr. Denise Herrmann, CSA, Pastoral Associate & Director of Liturgy and RCIA

When Bill Schneider and his wife Catherine joined our parish, they heard a distinct sound in our church that they hadn’t heard in other churches where they had attended Mass. At the end of many hymns, their keen ears were bombarded by the clunking sound of the hymnals being dropped into the book racks. Needless to say, the sound was distracting to their prayer. They even noticed at times that the priest would wait to start a prayer until the sound diminished.

Bill knew he could do something about this distraction. He took the initiative to talk to parish administration and the custodial staff with his idea of how to quiet down the return of hymnals into the book racks. After seeking the appropriate approval, he went in search of carpet pieces on sale. Once he had chosen the color (which he said was the hardest part), he purchased the needed amount and proceeded to cut the strips to fit into the racks.

After the strips were measured and cut, it took Bill three or four days to insert the strips into each book rack. Finding blocks of time when the church was empty and available for him to work was a challenge. Having completed all the pews downstairs, he planned out another segment of time when he could also do the pews in the choir loft.

Being relatively new to St. Maria Goretti, this project gave Bill a feeling of belonging and being a part of the parish. Bill commented that his work “brought me into the physical structure of it all.” He was “in.” As a new parishioner, he had truly inserted himself into the parish.

As Bill reflected on his time going from pew to pew, he commented that he had “seen the altar from many angles.” His statement was about the physical layout of our church. Even though Bill said he basically kept his mind on his work from book rack to book rack, with the need for safety in using his tools, such a comment can lead one to marvel at Bill’s faith. To have made a comment about the altar is akin to having given a witness to his faith in the Eucharist and his recognition of the altar as the focal point of the Eucharistic sacrifice.

Thank you, Bill, for quieting the book racks and for your labor of love in our church for the sake of the Eucharist.

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