My pastor, Msgr. Leigh Lehocky, gently corrected me this morning. My column said St. Peter’s "Parishioners live in something like 35 ZIP codes." He told me the number is now 46.
I probably remember the 35 figure from back when I was president of the parish council, back in the early 90s. I’ve heard different numbers since then, and consider it one of those wobbly numbers that can never be perfectly correct — even if you give the precise count for right now, based on parish registration, registration itself is a fuzzy thing — not everyone who attends our masses is registered, and some who are registered could have left us.
My point was that it was a bunch of ZIP codes, and I knew I would not be exaggerating if I said 35, so I covered myself by saying "something like." Bottom line, I’m right — it’s a bunch.
Msgr. Lehocky reminded me of something else I’d forgotten. Speaking of The Big Sort, the book that inspired the Robert Samuelson column that inspired my column, he said, "That’s the book I was telling you about a couple of weeks ago." Monsignor had been reading it, and recommended it to me. All I knew was that when I read the title in the Samuelson piece, I knew that I recognized it from a recent conversation; I had forgotten with whom.
Msgr. Lehocky said the book beats up on churches for the usual MLK thing (about 11 a.m. Sunday being the most segregated hour in America), but agreed that St. Peter’s was something of an exception to that "rule."
"And thank God for that," he added.
And perhaps our parish — and particularly the sub-community of those of us who habitually attend the only Mass that is bi-lingual — is an exception. But it’s the only church community I have, so my point that I don’t have the kinds of associations Mr. Bishop writes of — at least, not in any form that comes to mind — holds true.