When I was about to enter the seventh grade at the public school in Belgrade — after attending six years of Catholic grade school in Elrosa — I was mortified to learn that my mother would be my/our seventh grade religious education teacher during “release time.”
In the 1960s, we were “released” from school on Wednesday afternoons to attend religious education classes.
As a seventh grader, I was way too cool to have my mom as our religion teacher. (Note: she was one of the first “lay” teachers of religious education in the St. Cloud Diocese). I could not imagine the grief I would get from my buddies!
At our very first release time, Mom told the following story. It relieved me of my fears, and spoke volumes to our narrow, heretofore view of who will gain entry.
“A good Catholic died and went to heaven. When this person entered the Pearly Gates, they were met by St. Peter. St. Peter offered a tour of the place. As they went down the hall, he would point to a door and say: here reside the Lutherans, this room is for the Baptists, across the hall are the Jews, down and on the left are the Hindus, at the end of the hall are the Muslims, etc. Each room they came to had an open door.
Finally they came to a door that was closed. The new arrival asked St. Peter, “Why is this door closed?” St. Peter replied, “Behind that door are the Catholics. If they keep the door closed, they think they are only ones here.”