You may know the story. The Catholics moved up the shore of Bonne Bay and the distance between them and their church grew too great. So the men cut St. Patrick's into three sections and hauled them on the ice the two miles from Bailey's Point to Woody Point. Then they hauled it even further, up a steep hill above the town, and put it back together. You can still see where the saws bit into the wood 130 years ago.
Today it's a renovated performance space of simple beauty and crystalline acoustics. The ceiling is sky blue and ornamented with pale wooden hoops, rosettes and stars that were, people say, carved by a man with his pen-knife.
Looking up at them makes me think of the title of Margaret Visser's book on the meaning of church architecture: The Geometry of Love.
And I think too about the pride old churches hold, and the worry and loss and memory flickering in the candles that people light in some of them, and the hopes I saw written on slips of paper in a village church in Yorkshire -- they lay in a little heap. "Help our children to find work," one read. The geometry again: heart to pencil to paper to... where? To hope.
I saw notes again in Canterbury Cathedral. I saw the saddest one ever:
"Dear God," read the large, rounded child's writing. "I am sorry. Love, Sophie."