I couldn't exactly put my finger on the place where all the trouble started but like other dads, my father made it clear when things had gone too far. "Saint Catherine, Saint Ann, Saint Jude! Where the Hell are they?" he said. Our Impala slowly rolled out of Our Lady of the Assumption's parking lot. "What's happened to all the saints?" He glanced at my mother who just sighed, then he turned and looked at us in the backseat. "You think they were just called up to Heaven?" In this case, the trouble was Vatican Council II and their latest hedonistic changes, a loosening of restrictions that suddenly allowed churches to engage in interior decorating.
My little brothers didn't attempt to answer and I didn't know what to think--except that it was true. All sorts of relics seem to have disappeared overnight as Assumption got caught up in the streamlining trend: floor-standing candleabra, marble baptisimal fonts and incalculable feet of wrought iron alter-railing were missing. The place looked looted. I watched our church get smaller in the side-view mirror.
Johnny-boy cleared his throat. "Maybe they're cleaning the statues," he said.
"That's a thoughtful idea, Buckeroo, but then where have all the kneelers gone?" He slapped the steering wheel. "How in God's name are you supposed to worship if you can't get on your knees?"
"You can still worship, John," my mother said. She took the lace veil off her head and folded it.
"Really?" my father said. "They're throwing away saints, Jane. Which Dumpster do we go to when we wanna pray to Saint Ann?"