Sunday, March 3, 2013

Front Row

To my son Tommy,

When we sat in the front row (or very close just behind the wheel chair row) on the other side of the church, it simply was to sit next to family members.  I had forgot that we were having the Arch-Bishop visit and give mass today.  I tend to forget things like this because it really doesn't interest me that much.  I prefer a much humbler mass and there is only really one Person (actually 3 Persons in One) that I go to see.  I am not saying that special events are not fun, it just never has been that exciting for me.

I remember attending a mass at the Vatican when I was about 10 years old and being upset because I could not hear or focus in on the mass itself.  When Pope John Paul II walked down the aisle after mass, your great-grandmother Deezy Klein picked my husky butt up and made sure I got a view of the Pope as he walked down the aisle.  He stopped at me and laid his hands on my head and gave me a blessing.  So that was pretty cool, but up until that point the experience was a bust for me.  Of course seconds after that, a little battle axe of an Italian nun threw an elbow into my side and dropped me to the floor, no doubt because she believed I hogged the moment.  As I lay on the floor out of breath with my grandmother grasping for me to save me from the crowd that was trampling me as they pushed toward the aisle, I realized that my religion is really going to have many ups and downs and it hurts to be Catholic.

So though a fun experience to have a visiting dignitary, I was more interested in your continued teaching of donating some of your coins for lent.  Before we made it out the door, you made sure we had some coins from your piggy bank.  You warmed my heart as you reminded me to grab some, even though I was way ahead of you.  You put your first batch of coins right in the poor box when we came in.  When mass started you had one burning question, "What is that smell? as the incense was in high effect and someone got overly excited about the Arch-Bishop and obviously put an extra scoop or two in.  Other than that, for the most part you remained well behaved.  Then, after a couple more questions which I enjoy because it shows you are starting to take a bit more interest, it happened.

The offertory was coming and I had given you your second batch of coins for the upcoming basket.  You don't quite have a sense of timing yet with the mass, so instead of holding them patiently you started playing with the coins.  Then they jumped right out of your hand and spilled out.  All I could do was cringe as it seemed like the whole church was completely silent when it happened.  I looked down at your face and you had that look that mixed sorrow and fear and embarrassment on your face.  I simply said that it was ok and asked you to pick them up.  You were still cleaning when the first offertory basket came around and we got only half the batch in the collection.  You collected the rest from the floor and now you were upset that you missed the full basket experience.  Thank goodness there was a second collection and you got a second chance which you aced.  You did go up to communion with me and the Arch-Bishop gave you a blessing, which is cool.  And unlike your father's younger experiences, no elbow to the side to wind you which is even cooler.

Afterwards there was a nice event in the gym that gave a chance for everyone to get together and talk and meet Arch-Bishop Lori.  When we went in you found some kids running and playing and did your best to join in.  You ran and ran and ran with the other kids, and I tried to shadow and keep an eye on you while letting you have some freedom.  I thought there would never be anyway I was going to get you to go home but it turned out that it was just challenging but not impossible.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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