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The Club by ProQuest


After a startling introduction the day before as the moderator of the "Catholic Club" (the what?), I made my announcement, got two takers, and was given the keys to the car - a massive, ancient Chevy station wagon, with a school bus placard haphazardly affixed to its roof. A switch beneath the dash controlled the requisite "stop lights," which a camper riding with me switched on and off delightedly, causing surrounding traffic to screech to an infuriated halt. [...] the "new" church was very old.

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									                               THE LAST WORD

                               The Club
                               Liam Callanan

                                      or a few years during college, I
                                      worked at a summer camp on a cam-
                                      pus outside Boston. It was a won-
                                      derful experience, but an intensive
                               one, in part because I didn’t have a car.
                                  If I wanted to get away on my day off, my options were largely         We headed to the nearby parish identified as our “best bet”:
                               limited to lying in an un-air-conditioned dorm room and listening      word was, the Masses were quick and the place was air-condi-
                               to my tiny desk fan do what it could to dispel a humid Massa-          tioned. It was also carpeted, small, and—judging from the way
                               chusetts summer.                                                       the people in the pews dressed, and from the way they looked at
                                  Sundays, though, were different. Early on, someone in the camp      how we were dressed (T-shirts, sunburns, hair that hadn’t seen
                               leadership had sidled up to me and said they’d heard I was Catholic.   a scolding parent’s comb in weeks)—a rather wealthy, reserved
                               I nodded slowly; there weren’t many Catholics at this camp, and        parish. We drew a lot of stares, and on the way back to camp,
                               I wasn’t sure why they were asking. So far, the only skills the job    the kids commented on it. I said I’d look into alternatives, and the
                               had demanded of me were returning from field trips with precisely      next week I took them somewhere new.
                               as many middle-schoolers as I’d left with, and making sure that           Actually, the “new” church was very old. There was no air
                               no one had gotten too terribly sunburned in the interim. I’d had a     conditioning and anyone who wanted to be heard—the priest,
                               100-percent success rate with the former and was running about         the lectors, the choir, the congregation—had to compete with the
                               50/50 with the latter. That was apparently enough to qualify me        aircraft-quality standing fans that ran up and down the outer aisles.
                               for the next request.                                                  As a result, just about everyone was red-faced and T-shirted—just
                                  “There’s a student,” I was told quietly, “who wants to go to        like my crew. Indeed, no one stared or glared at us. The priest
                               a Mass.”                                                               even smiled. And, then, egged on by the fans, our arrival, or, more
                                  At first I worried that they wanted me to say
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