Those heavenly odors

There's nothing quite like the comforting odors of a Catholic Sunday. Those mimeographed sheets of paper that came hot off the press, the thick smell of incense and polished wooden pews, the flowers on the altar, and let's not forget the candles after they're snuffed out signaling the end of Mass!

Sunday best

While some kids may have balked at the idea of having to dress up for Mass, there was something special about picking out a dress or pressed shirt to make an effort for God. Instructions to not get these precious clothes dirty would often go unheard.

The church

For those who got to frequent older churches, hours could be spent looking over every intricate detail of the impressive architecture. While the Stations of the Cross were the ultimate Bible picture story, the statues, chalices, and stained glass windows were our first steps into a world of art.

After Mass meet up

Most kids tend to sneak a few furtive glances at church friends during Mass, but meeting up at the end was just the best. Whether you ran around a statue of the Virgin Mary or kicked a few stones, it was a moment in the week to really look forward to.

Religious days

Those blessed Holy Days of Obligation were something we all looked forward to. As friends in public schools had to drag themselves to class, we went to church and spent the day with family. Celebrating your school or parish's saint's day was also an opportunity for fun, games, and happy times.

Singing

Even if you were tone deaf, joining in with hymns was obligatory. From uplifting favorites -- with the odd modern tune thrown in -- to more soul-searching songs, it was an opportunity to sing your heart out. For those doing a solo in church, it was an occasion to spot family members beaming up at you, offering their support.

Confession

There was nothing quite like that sick feeling when sitting outside the confessional awaiting your turn. You'd be pondering what grave sins you wanted to confess, and inevitably end up just repeating the same ones from the week before.

Saying prayers

For those chosen to say a prayer or a reading, those few minutes before your turn were spent in trepidation -- why did St. Paul have to write to the Corinthians and not people with an easier name to say? You'd then get to the lectern and start to read only to hear a younger sibling start to giggle.

The Nativity play

For those with a love of acting, or getting dressed up, the Christmas Nativity play was the event of the year. You might have waited anxiously to see if you'd finally get the part of Mary or Joseph, only to have to smile politely when you were offered the dazzling part of the third sheep.

Traditions

All those Church rituals are a lot for a child to master. From genuflecting at the right moments to mastering the Sign of the Cross, joining in successfully with the older parishioners was a rite of passage.