Sunday Brunch: The Pickle Aisle

Awkward Liturgical Moment #88: You are in line to receive Holy Communion when you realize you know the Eucharistic Minister ahead, and you feel like changing lines to avoid that I-should-be-focusing-on-Jesus-but-feel-the-need-to-acknowledge-you-seeing-as-we-know-one-another-in-some-capacity thing.

Well, anyway, I do that.

A few weeks ago at Mass quite the opposite thing happened.  I received the Eucharist from an elderly Eucharistic Minister I did not know, a woman with soft white hair, a slight slump of the shoulders, gentle grey eyes and a flowered blouse.

“The Body of Christ,” she said, softly, slightly, gently.

After Mass, I stopped by the grocery store.  I was busy averting my eyes from the white chocolate bars on the end cap when I ran into the woman.  She was pushing a cart out of the pickle aisle.

I must have passed dozens of people in the aisles without realizing it.  But this was different.  As I recognized her a great joy welled up inside me and I had to stop myself from shouting, “I received Christ from you!  Thank you!”

I smiled, and she smiled, and we went on our way.  She to the meats. I to the pickles.

And I reflected that maybe my spontaneous joy at our encounter needs to happen with more people, more often. Maybe this teaches me something about how I should pass every person in the grocery store, the apartment complex, the airport bathroom.  I received Christ from you.  Thank you.

Jane Sloan


B. Jane Sloan is a writer and high school theology teacher from Atlanta, GA. In addition to blogging for Catholic Exchange, she has been published in Our Sunday Visitor, Notre Dame Magazine and the literary journal Omnibus. Jane graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2007 with a B.A. in theology and philosophy. In 2009, she graduated with an M. Ed. from Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education. In 2009 Jane made a 500-mile pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. She spent summer 2010 as an intern planting vegetables and baking bread at the Abbey of Regina Laudis OSB in Bethlehem, CT. In 2011 she was present among the millions at the beatification of Blessed John Paul II. She is currently working toward her M.A. in Theology. Follow her on Twitter @CE_SundayBrunch. Follow her other blog on all-natural eating at

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  • Jklekas

    Lovely! I have nine to feed so I am at the grocery store more than I would prefer. I have had many a conversation there with someone I know, even if I hardly know them, and most of the time that person just needs me to smile at them and listen to them. Everyone has hidden hurts and a cheery, Christ like smile, can really make their day brighter!