My mother, Katherine Emily Mary Laing, sister and I moved to Montreal, Canada from Montclair, New Jersey just prior to World War II. Mother was an English citizen, never naturalized, and was therefore not entitled to any benefits in the United States. Our dad had passed away during the Great Depression, leaving no money.
There was no money in the family for anything but basic food -- and sometimes not even enough for that! But, despite that, my Irish mom put two quarters on our dining table each week; one to be used only for our church offering from the family, the other for our only treat, ice cream after Sunday dinner. We knew we dare not touch either of those quarters.
The Laing kids grew up with that story and, to this day, we love the memory. My mom has long since gone to her reward, but we enjoy sharing her story with our church.
I was asked as a parishioner to speak on a Sunday in 2008 on what the church meant to me in preparation for pledge week, and I took out two quarters, held them up and told Mom's story as a part of what the church meant to me. During the offering that Sunday, I dropped one of the quarters into the plate along with our family offering and Lois dropped the other, quite noisily, I might add. Other people followed this cue and ever since people have been noisily dropping quarters along with their tithes and offerings into the alms basin. These quarters are designated by the parish for use by the ladies of the Altar Guild to buy needed supplies for their work.
God Bless my Mother's Irish soul; she is still an influence on her church!
~ Brien Laing (Brien went to his rewards on January 4, 2015)