The Me Before Me

Stop 42 took me to Middletown, Ohio, another steel town sitting astride the Great Miami River.

The Cincinnati-area town is also home to Holy Family Parish, consisting of St. John and Holy Trinity churches, separated by just a few downtown blocks. It’s also home to Kara Jackson, the me before me.


Back in the middle of the past decade, Kara embarked on a multi-year trip, working as an altar server in all 50 states and D.C. (the Jacksons didn’t make it to Puerto Rico, though some Irish priests she met invited her to the Emerald Isle). The young lady, pictured below, served the Mass I attended, the first time she’s put on the vestments since COVID. She didn’t lose a step during her time off.


I actually spent time with Kara and her family, (father Rick, mother Tina) a full eight months before my trip began, reliving Kara’s trip in intimate detail one beautiful Saturday afternoon at their Southwestern Ohio home. And when I reviewed my notes upon our reunion, I realized just how accurately Tina had predicted my own trip would go.

Kara Jackson in the recessional.
Holy Trinity Church, shortly after dawn.
The interior of Holy Trinity.
St. John Church.
The heavy marble interior at St. John.
St. John Church.

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