Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bittersweet Mornings

This week is the last week I get to attend daily mass at my parish for the summer. Starting on Monday, we move to the summer schedule: one daily mass at 7:30 am. The timing of this mass doesn't work for me at all. It's too late for me to go alone, since DH needs to be in his office by 8am. And it's just a little too early to be able to get the kids up, dressed, fed and out the door.

So, starting Monday, I will be attending the 6:30 mass at a neighboring parish.

Now, I know that I am incredibly blessed to live in an area with multiple Catholic parishes within a few miles. But it is still hard to leave my morning community. Because, while I know that the mass is the mass, and Jesus is as fully present down the street as He is in my home parish, I will miss the kinship of this group.

We are more than just two dozen or so individuals gathering to worship the Lord. We are connected. We greet each other by name. We pray for each other's intentions. We offer hugs and support, friendship and small talk in the parking lot after mass.

Starting our day together, praying together and for each other, little by little, day by day, we have intertwined our lives. Our prayers include sons-in-law out of work, friends with cancer, parents placed in hospice, new babies, students graduating, young adults marrying, couples reaching milestone anniversaries. The very ordinary action of coming together every morning -- in the cold dark of winter, in the ice, in the rain, in the brightening skies of early spring -- has cemented us to one another. Just as water slowly carves paths in rock, drop by drop, so we have come together, connected to one another, prayer by prayer.

Mass, this week, has been bittersweet. I am soaking it all in: enjoying Father's homilies more than usual, watching Deacon prepare the altar for the Eucharistic feast with my full attention, praying for this community more fervently. I've been hanging out in the parking lot for a few extra minutes of small talk.

I know the summer will go quickly. It always does, with long, lazy days in the pool, sucking down popsicles, and warm, sticky evenings listening to the buzzing of the cicadas. Before I know it, we will have reached the end of August, and my 6:30 mass will have been restored. My community will still be there, waiting for me, welcoming me back home once again.

And until then, they will remain in my prayers and in my heart.

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