The cathedral was full of people, inside and out. The crowd surrounded the enormous building, including the sides and the back where you could hardly hear anything. Jared was looking at all the faces in the crowd, some ecstatic, some happy, some neutral, some just bored. He thought back to a time when he was genuinely excited about religious ceremonies. It was not when he was a child, that was a simple time for him when church was something you had to do, not something you wanted, and he often ran off to the woods to play with the other boys.
The time he was really excited for religion was when he attended university in Europe. He was just after a breakup, at the cusp of adulthood, and he thought a serious young man should not concern himself with women as much as he should with cosmic matters. So he studied all the holy writings he could lay his hands on and meditated the Omnipotence of the Divine.
That was a time he took long walks on the riverside each morning and hung around the church before it opened, and then attended first mass. Among the stained glass and the smell of incense, he felt heavenly.
Now, in front of the cathedral, he was in a crowd of people each with a story equally or even more compelling than his, but he did not realize that. Almost nobody did, even if they could afford the luxury of thinking about something other than the announcement they were about to hear. An announcement that, the Church assured, would change their lives forever.
The music out of the loudspeakers stopped and was replaced by the trained speech of the pope. The master of all the preachers said: “Dearly beloved, we are here to share with you the latest revelation from the Holy See.”
A gasp rolled across the crowd. Jarod was not excited, but there was a pang in his heart.