The large windows let plenty of bright, cheerful light into the nave. But he thought the stained glass seemed off, too modern maybe. The colors, he decided, were too bright, vivid, stark.
They stopped. The usher attempted to eople in a crowded pew to scrunch together more.
Teresa put her hand on the usher’s forearm. “Move back,” she whispered. He just stood in place and gaped at her. Teresa grabbed his arm, and he closed his mouth and allowed himself to be moved out of the way. Then Jon saw the young colored woman on the second kneeler in from the aisle, alone in the eight-person pew. She knelt but rested against the seat behind her. The people in front of her were sitting. Behind her, a man and a woman were kneeling, their arms on the back of the pew. The young colored girl—Jon thought she was about eighteen, nineteen maybe—stared straight ahead.
At his Navy duty stations, at Purdue University, colored people attended Mass. Not many, but some did. He had always assumed Negroes preferred other religions, but if they wanted to attend Mass, well, certainly they’d be welcome. No big deal.
If he had been paying attention, instead of gawking around at the windows, he wondered if he’d have had Teresa’s presence of mind and courage to act. I doubt it, he confessed to himself. I’ d probably have allowed the usher to shoehorn us into an already-crowded pew.