Lifts her Like a Chalice
Donal Mahoney The weekday Mass at 6 a.m. brings the old folks out from bungalows around the church. They move like caterpillars down sidewalks, some with canes, some on walkers. Father Doyle says the Mass and then goes back to the rectory to care for his mother who cannot move or speak because of a stroke. And every Sunday at noon when the church is full, Father Doyle, in full vestments, wheels his mother in a lump down the middle aisle and lifts her like a chalice and places her in the front pew before he ascends to the altar. Sometimes at night, when his mother's asleep, Father Doyle comes back to the Church and rehearses in the dark three hymns she long ago asked him to sing at her funeral. He practices the hymns because the doctor said she could go at any time. When that time comes, he doesn't want to miss a note. The last thing she ever said was "Son, I'll be listening."