Field notes from Albany (part one)

The Catholic Church in my neighborhood closed a few years ago when two parishes were consolidated. Fortunately the buildings were preserved. The church itself is now occupied by an advertising agency called Overit. Now every time I walk by, I think “Once I was Catholic, now I’m Overit”.

They had an open house a while back, so I got to see inside. They did a good job with the conversion. The main area where the pews were is now an open work area, full of computer monitors. Around the periphery were newly constructed offices and conference rooms. The religious items had all been removed. I think they should have held onto the pulpit and put it in one of the conference rooms. If I was in a meeting where someone was speaking from the pulpit, I would keep quiet until the speaker made some extremely obvious point, then I could say “You’re preaching to the choir”.

It would be difficult to have your annual performance review given from a pulpit, though. Instead of having to improve your work performance, you would have to atone for your work performance.

The rectory—the house where the priest lived—is now the office of my insurance agent. It is remarkable how the presence of the Holy Spirit has persevered. I went there to add my teenage son to our car insurance policy. Even though I am not a religious person, when they handed me the quote, the first words out of my mouth were “Holy Mary, Mother of God”.

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