Sunday, August 10, 2008

More Mass Adventures

Maybe not growing up with the Mass is what makes it an adventure just about every time I attend. Sometimes it's a completely Inward Ho! experience, other times it is not. Last night's Vigil Mass was mostly an Outward Bound adventure.

Having worked on a parish staff I know when something is seriously amiss. I've learned to recognize the stride of speedy reverence that deacons, lectors, and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist use when entering or exiting the sanctuary because of some snafu. I've become conversant in the body language priests use when they're pleased, peeved, or bored. There's even more to observe if the choir is floor level. Very distracting. Occasionally amusing. Usually invisible to the masses at Mass.

And so it came to pass that a variety of cues captured my attention last night. Sure enough, from where I was sitting, I could see a deacon scurrying out the back way to roust whichever priest had forgotten to get up, wash up, and vest up. The deacon returned, so did a priest -- eventually.

Meanwhile, I noticed a couple of things. First, the parishioners seemed blissfully unaware. No rustling or obvious watch checking (even after 15 minutes) or yakking or looking around. I, of course, was looking around but noticing I was doing so led to my second revelation. "Wow," I thought, "this situation is not my fault and not my problem to fix." Transcendent bliss. Inward ho!

What I did literally and figuratively pick up as my problem was an interesting piece of parking lot trash. After watching parishioners walk over or around it and after nearly leaving the church property myself, I went back -- to pick up the empty flattened box of Trojan Ultra Pleasure premium latex condoms.

No, I did not place my thoughts elsewhere. I let them roam through the mind field all evening.


  1. I haven't worked on a parish staff, but in Wyoming, the lectors would process in, carrying the Book of the Gospels, and I was friends with most of the priests, so I saw things from more of an organizational level. It does make a difference, but also gave me an appreciation of what goes into a Mass. Great to meet you Thursday. Paula

  2. Hi Paula!
    One of my church buds says,"Good liturgy is good theater" and having worked on stage sets, I have to say I've noticed similarities especially around production issues.

  3. Oh how I long for the heavenly bliss that is "not my problem!"

  4. Yes, Ms. Dirty, it's a transcendent experience. Well worth worship "out of network."


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