In our small town, St. Mary’s is a church and a school, both Catholic. The church has been around since 1846 and claims about 40 percent of the town’s residents as members. The school started 10 years later. For years, it went through high school, but it now ends at eighth grade. When St. Mary’s kids finish middle school, they usually come to Fredericksburg High School to finish their education. My son has become friends with a lot of St. Mary’s guys because they dominate the sports teams. And now that my son and his friends are beginning to drive, an interesting distinction between the public and private school kids has been revealed:
The St. Mary’s guys navigate by St. Mary’s. Many of them are incapable of finding their way around town without driving to St. Mary’s first.
So, if they want to run to Sonic after basketball practice, they have to drive to St. Mary’s. Same if they want to go to McDonald’s. Or Walmart. Or even certain gas stations.
I find it fascinating that for a certain group of young men in our town, a church is still the center of their world.