A thousand words beyond the Hill

Shannon Guthrie

At the entrance to the St. Thomas Aquinas Church on College Street, holy water flows.

A font filled with the heavenly liquid sounds like a soothing, faint wind chime. Students and families dip their fingers into the cool, rolling water as they enter the church and make the sign of the cross.

St. Thomas Aquinas is different from other churches the Rev. Darrell Venters has served at. This ministry is focused on students.

“We are here to celebrate their accomplishments and help when they have difficulties,” Venters said.

When Venters smiles, young crows’ feet stretch from the corners of his eyes. In his long white robe, he welcomes the almost 500 guests that pass through the doors each week.

As snow crusts the ground outside, people eagerly leave their white breath at the door. The warm wood-vaulted ceilings welcome guests as they settle into their pews before morning mass. In the background, an acoustic guitar is strummed in time to lyrics of faith.

The late comers straggle inside. When they file past the holy water font, it receives the tap of fingers as churchgoers remind themselves why they came.

Shannon Guthrie is a senior photojournalism major from Huntington, W.Va. She can be reached at [email protected]