In a recent phone conversation — a catch-up during COVID isolation — a longtime friend talked of a memory that seemed especially relevant these days. A fellow cradle Catholic, whom I met at a Catholic university, she recalled how startled she was on entering my childhood parish for my decades-ago wedding and finding herself surrounded by statues of the saints and Christ on the cross, familiar to her but so very different. The faces and hands and pierced feet were painted black, so unlike anything she had experienced growing up.
It stopped her, until she realized how appropriate the scene was. Of course, these representations would be reimagined in the image of those who gathered and worshipped in this particular holy place, located in the heart of West Baltimore.