For a few years during college, I worked at a summer camp on a campus outside Boston. It was a wonderful 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 limited to lying in an un-air-conditioned dorm room and listening to my tiny desk fan do what it could to dispel a humid Massachusetts summer.
Sundays, though, were different. Early on, someone in the camp leadership had sidled up to me and said they’d heard I was Catholic. I nodded slowly; there weren’t many Catholics at this camp, and I wasn’t sure why they were asking. So far, the only skills the job had demanded of me were returning from field trips with precisely as many middle-schoolers as I’d left with, and making sure that no one had gotten too terribly sunburned in the interim. I’d had a 100-percent success rate with the former and was running about 50/50 with the latter. That was apparently enough to qualify me for the next request.
“There’s a student,” I was told quietly, “who wants to go to a Mass.”
At first I worried that they wanted me to say the Mass, but no, the matter had been looked into, and a Catholic church had been identified nearby. If I were willing to chaperone, they’d give me the keys to one of...