09 May 2011

Unexpected gratitude

This past weekend I visited my college room mate and his family to celebrate the First Communion of their oldest child at St. Patrick Parish in Yorkville, Illinois.

The Mass for First Communion was celebrated early Saturday afternoon and at the Mass I noticed the pastor's voice was beginning to waver, so I offered to celebrate one of the Sunday morning Masses for him to allow his voice a bit of a rest (I would have offered to help beforehand, but I didn't realize the First Communion wasn't at a regular Sunday Mass; there were, in fact, two First Communion Masses with a total of about 125 first communicants).

At the Mass I celebrated I had an unusual encounter I did not expect.

The sprinkling rite is a source of happiness for many priests (sometimes we do aim for people who try to hide) and a source of irritation for many of the faithful (yes, we know).  It is a powerful rite, if one considers it.

At any rate, as I passed through the back aisle of the church to return to main aisle on my way back to the presidential chair, a man arrived late to Mass and was walking toward me to find a pew.  I reached for the aspergilium which the deacon was carrying on my right and, with a slight smile on my face, blessed the man with holy water (I never let such an opportunity go by).

Much to my surprise, the man said to me, "thank you."  And he was sincere about it.  And that brought a smile to my face (it was the first time I've been thanked for doing the sprinkling rite).


  1. Would you move to my diocese and become pastor at my parish?? Please??? We are in need of a major faith lift!

    How kind of you to offer to celebrate mass for an ailing colleague. You are truly a gentleman.

  2. fwiw, I'm disappointed when I don't get wet.

    Also, I wish the rite were used more often.

  3. Anonymous11:06 AM

    Speaking of the 'asperges' rite brings back to me a memory from one of my visits to England (you're going to laugh at this, Father Daren).

    I went to the Sunday High Mass at the Brompton Oratory in London. I was sitting at the end of one of the pews closest to the front of the church, and right at on the aisle. As the priest passed by me, he threw the holy water and it landed 'smack dab' on the side of my face!

    Boy, was I soaked! I think my glasses were well-spotted, too!

    Seriously, though-how nice it was of you to graciously fill in for your ailing brother-priest! As one of the above posters said, 'You are a gentleman'!

    Barb in NY

  4. I'm sorry no one ever thanked you for the sprinkling rite in the past. So, ...Thank You.

  5. At the Easter Vigil Mass this year, the sprinkling rite was a source of delight for one special member of my family. My sister-in-law has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheel chair. She has other limitations as well but certainly knows how to enjoy happy moments. This particular happy moment came when our deacon (who will be ordained tomorrow) loaded his pine branch with water and showered her (literally) with blessing! Not only did she smile but she laughed heartily and danced in her chair. I cannot tell you how delightful and appropriate was the sound and sight of that laughter! God bless you, Father. :)