My friends, who are fellow atheists or agnostics, ask if, by attending Mass, I’m betraying my own nonreligious nonbeliefs. I tell them, no, I’m not about to convert to a religion. But sitting in Mass doesn’t hurt anybody. It might even make you feel a little better. Believers have an advantage over nonbelievers; simply asking a higher power for help gives people more purpose in life.

Even without sharing in my wife’s faith, those monthly drives and quiet hours in Mass at her side make going the extra mile to church in Baltimore worthwhile.