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Mairead Corrigan Sacrificial Giving Talk
November, 2012

Listen to this talk (.mp3 file)

            Good morning. My family has been at St. James my whole life. My parents were married here, and my sisters and I were all baptized here.  I have three sisters: Siobhan and Clare, my older sisters, and Nora, my younger sister.

            When I was younger I did not always enjoy coming to church. Most of the time Nora and I would sit on the kneelers and try to fish the small pencils out of the envelope holders. I remember in the summer of 2007, the last book of the Harry Potter series came out. We had ordered the book, so that when we arrived home from a camping trip it was waiting for us. However, it was Sunday, meaning before we could start reading the book we had to go to church. This was not received well. Later this taught me the lesson that mass comes before material things. To make us more excited to come to church, my parents encouraged each of us daughters to join a ministry. Siobhan became a youth usher, Clare and I became altar servers, and Nora is a youth reader. 

            Living with three sisters can be difficult. Your clothes could go missing, and there are plenty of practical jokes. For example, Siobhan and Clare always liked to try and help Nora and me at church. They once informed me that “the word” that needs to be said for us to be healed was "hippopotamus." So every time we said “…for only say the word and we shall be healed," we would all whisper "hippopotamus" under our breath. Sadly it took some time before I realized I had been tricked. As we all grew older, it became harder for us to trick each other. Also my sisters each began to focus on our faith in ways that inspire me. Siobhan is a great advocate for social justice and is in her senior year of college, where she was part of a program dedicated to social justice.

            Clare is the sister you probably see me with most, because we are both altar servers. Clare made sure that I was present at church, especially on the days I did not particularly want to go or felt too tired. Together Clare and I were formed into altar servers. At ten o’clock mass the altar servers are like a small family. Although we may not all agree on what the best sport is or the best movie, we see past these trivial differences and enjoy each other’s company. There are several of us who have really grown up together including Isaac, Andrew, and Jack. I do not have any brothers in my family but if I did I would want them to be like these guys. One of the people who helped us grow up is Celeste McDonell, she has guided us in becoming leaders for the younger servers. She encouraged me to be confident and responsible. Although I usually serve the ten o’clock mass all the servers work together on holy days and special events. By working together we share a responsibility to support the mass as a spiritual time.

            Last May I was confirmed at St. James. During the time leading up to confirmation, many people asked the teenagers to make sure we were doing it for us and not because of our parents. My parents and my family have had a great impact on me, so when I heard this I actually had to stop and think. During this time I had realized I had never asked myself why I was Catholic.  Once again the altar servers made me grasp just how much St. James means to me, and how I should trust in my faith. The altar servers were a reminder about how much I love coming to church, because we all show up on Sunday because we want to be here.

            I wonder how I was ever able to get from the girl doodling in the bulletin to where I am now. Even though I know I may have struggles later on, thinking about my time at St. James will always remind me why I believe. My family has taught me many things, but teaching me how to practice our faith has been the most important lesson. St. James is a unique place to attend mass and I know I will miss it if I go away for college next year.  However I know that St. James will always be here, and I will always be with St. James. St. James is family.

Mairead Corrigan





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Seattle, Washington  98104
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