A colleague was going about her work on Wednesday when she saw a copy of this week's CS&T fresh off the press. "Wow!" was her reaction to the photo above, one that we shoot for every week in designing the front page. The hope is that folks picking up a copy at church will have the same reaction, and become regular subscribers.
The realization behind the "wow" of the photo is that the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, which is hosting the Synod of Bishops that the CS&T is covering this week (along with Catholic News Service), is part of us. As much as we feel a sense of home for our own parish church, the ornate basilica is ours too. It's part of our heritage as members of the Catholic Church that we share in the gifts of the Church throughout the world. We may never be able to visit Rome and all its glorious churches (including St. Peter's), nor the high Middle Ages' masterworks such as Chartres or Notre Dame, but they too are ours.
But there's more to it than buildings. The modest churches of the developing world stand no bigger than most American homes, and they are ours, too. Again , we may never visit a village church in the Guatemalan highlands or teeming towns of India. But we know the vibrant faith expressed through the sacred liturgy in which we all share is part of us too.
Most important is the notion that the Catholic people bursting the walls of humble churches are just as much "us" as the neighbors in the pews around us each Sunday.
Our heritage is both high art and humble humanity, joined together in Jesus Christ through his Church.
Talk about a wow moment.