When I was in hospital recently to have my sense of humour checked I saw something I'd not seen since I was a child.
They have a chapel in hospital. The door to the chapel is an ordinary door, like all the others in a long hospital corridor. It says on it "Chapel" as opposed to "X Ray" or "Pharmacy" or whatever else is posted on the other doors.
I noticed that several people whilst passing by this door did the sign of the Cross. A few opened the door and looked in for 5 or 10 seconds, did the sign of the Cross, and then continued on their way.
Now this is something I've not seen for many years when, as a child, we were taught to do the sign of the Cross whenever we passed a Church. I certainly did not expect to see it in secular Britain.
Years ago, when Catholic churches used to ring the Angelus bells three times a day, people used to make the Sign of the Cross. Also, if in the street a funeral hearse passes by they would make the Sign of the Cross; and men would take their hats off. But I've never seen this happen in the UK.
I wonder whether this sign of respect is prevalent elsewhere. For example, do people make the Sign of the Cross before meals when they are at a restaurant or in public? Or say grace even?
I remember when young, on Ash Wednesday, some people used to go to work with ash on their forehead having been to Mass first. Not seen this in public for some time nowadays.
Times are changing. People don't want to publicise the fact that they are Christians any more.