HAD SUNG scores of Lakota prayer songs in sweat lodges across the Pine
Ridge reservation and talked about Jesus in halls packed with people. I had
walked down dusty roads at sunset behind schoolchildren and nuns holding
black plastic rosaries and said hundreds of Hail Marys. I had listened for hours as
faith was shared, sat in dozens of desks in graduate classrooms, read thousands
of pages about God. But I had never before performed the Last Rites—which ac-
counted for my nerves as I stood before the door of a dying woman’s home and
raised my hand to knock.
When I did, the door opened quickly and her daughter’s welcome was smooth
The best thing about being a priest is being there for
moments when “hearts are suddenly wide open and the God
who has always longed for such an opening rushes in.”
God rushes in
BY FATHER PADDY GILGER, S.J.
Father Paddy Gilger, S.J., founding editor of
at The New
School for Social Research in
New York. An
author, Gilger is
editor for culture at America
Jesuits during his
PHOTOS COURTES Y OF FATHER PADDY GILGER, S. J.