After he receives communion--pale bread, deep ruby wine--he returns to his place and stands.
Parishioners file past him after they accept the eucharist, too. This procession seems to him to register every human face, and on each face is written love and doom, concern and grace.
Each face is carried by its person, transitory, passing through the space and light inside this place, the parish, passing through this mystery we label, out of custom, life.
Each face helps an identity cohere in the body, in the brain, as parishioners all sit down again.