17 February 2008

A weekend away

There is, perhaps, no greater irony than that wrought by God.

Some months back I agreed to “cover” the weekend in Tuscola and Arcola, about an hours’ drive north of Effingham. The two churches in which I celebrated Mass – Forty Martyrs and St. John the Baptist, respectively – are very nice, though Forty Martyrs I preferred because of its basilica-style architecture complete with a clerestory (pictures will be posted in a later post).

Upon arrival yesterday afternoon I heard all of two confessions (the homily that I had prepared suddenly seemed very “pastoral” and timely [it seemed also to have been well received]) . I know that it is only the second Sunday of Lent but still I expected many more penitents than two. I know that there are more than two sinners in need of reconciliation wandering around out there…

Prior to Mass I was informed that not only would there be no closing song at Mass but there would also be no opening song. The irony of this situation, in light of my recent post on the topic, was not, and is not, lost on me. Sometimes I think the Lord just likes to laugh at me.

Saturday evening I think I spotted a young man with a possible vocation, though I didn’t have a change to say so to him after Mass. I informed the sacristy and gave him the mission, and my card.

This morning after the early Mass – and just before I left for Mass in Arcola – an elderly woman thanked me for coming and told me to watch for water on the highway (thankfully there was no water on the road, but the fields are flooded). Apparently the area frequently suffers from flooding, though recent work on the drainage ditches and something has helped the situation. Her husband – who died ten years ago – once had to take a boat to work! You never can quite be sure what people will tell you after Mass.

While I was greeting people after Mass in Arcola a man approached me who I met at the previous Mass and told me a woman died in the house across from the church half an hour earlier. After putting my alb and chasuble in my car, I retrieved my Pastoral Care of the Sick – in which is found the prayers for the dead – I went to the house to pray for the woman and with the family. After that I hopped back in my car and returned to Tuscola for one more Mass.

All in all, it was a very good weekend, though I’m not used to three Masses in one day. I don’t quite have the stamina for three Masses in one day, let alone one morning. The sacramental work this morning, combined with the drive home and the drastically changing weather – has me quite exhausted.

I’m preferring myself for an early bed – which is good since I have the early Mass – by enjoying a Dr Pepper with lemon and cherries (we’re out of pineapple) before working a bit more on my web site.

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