Growing Up Catholic in a Small Texas Town: Just Listen

Kathleen Kaska
5 min readFeb 11, 2024

Four Things I Learned by Listening

For years, I used to tune out in church when the priest began his homely. I’d enter my daydream world. I got some excellent writing done that way. But since the goal in a Catholic’s life is to become a better person, and since I write murder mysteries, which seem sacrilegious to ponder during Mass, I’ve recently decided to try and focus on the sermons. Not only is it good for my soul, but wrangling in my brain is a great mental exercise. Here are a few things I’ve learned lately by listening.

  1. There really are exorcists. I didn’t know that priests had to go to the Vatican to train to become exorcists. I also thought that much of what happened in The Movie was bogus — not so! Levitation, yep. Head turning 360 degree — yep. Our priest didn’t go into detail but mentioned one exorcist, Father Carlos Martin. I came home and Googled him. This guy is hugely popular, as you can probably guess. I watched a few of his YouTube videos and interviews. This one gave me nightmares, and I made sure my Holy Water supply hadn’t dried up, and then I rushed to confession.

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

2. I gotta get myself to the Holy Land. On another Sunday, our priest gave a sales pitch. Our Catholic Church sponsors a trip to the Holy Land each year, and he encourages us to go. Of course, I didn’t. The parishioners who went last year returned with ethereal looks, like they knew something I didn’t, and that something was pretty darn incredible. I asked one of them what it was like over there, and she just told me I had to see for myself, and then she winked. I hate it when someone knows a secret and flaunts it. The trip to the Holy Land is not cheap. If I went, I’d select the single occupancy price because I would not spend two and a half weeks sharing a room with someone I barely know. Since saving that much money is difficult, I’ve decided to pray a little more and buy fewer shoes.

Photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash

3. God likes mountains. During another homily, I learned many miraculous things happened on mountaintops during biblical times. God…



Kathleen Kaska

Author of the Sydney Lockhart mysteries and the Kate Caraway mysteries. I blog about, “Growing Up Catholic in a Small Texas Town.”