Sorry for skipping last week, but we were in transit and wound up going to Mass one last time in the United States. Ironically enough, we went to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs during our suffering sojourn to the UK. It was a beautiful church and we were glad to go.
Here in Britain, we went to Our Lady Immaculate and St. Robert's Church for the 9 a.m. Mass. We were going to attend the 8 a.m. at St. Joseph's, but did not get up in time. St. Robert's is a small and tastefully decorated church, not adorned wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling like an Eastern church and not bereft of decor like many a Protestant church. I liked it very much--nice stained glass windows, a few statues and a beautiful set of Stations of the Cross. We arrived 10 or 15 minutes early. Jacob had plenty of time to go potty before Mass. Like our penultimate US church, St. Robert's toilet is in the parish hall across the way. Jacob and Mommy left and returned in plenty of time for Mass.
Things started well. Jacob kept asking when the Mass would end (surely he'll figure it out soon) and if I had any peepee for the potty. I said I could wait till Mass was over, after we went to communion and said some final prayers. He seemed satisfied each time I told him. He did a great job being quiet and sitting still during Mass. He even said the Our Father with us and shook hands at the Sign of Peace. We missed the collection because Lucy had been noisy and we were all in the vestibule. I could see through the glass doors that the collection baskets looked like a mini-picnic basket with a slot in the middle. I'm not sure if they wanted to prevent people from making change or to prevent noise from clanging coins (the equivalent of a dollar bill is a coin in the UK).
Lucy was pretty restive, hence our being in the vestibule a few times. She did sing along with the songs (the "Lord Have Mercy" was sung in Greek!) and sweetly asked to light a candle. We stayed after Mass and got in the queue to light candles. Three other children went before us, giving us ample opportunity to figure out the system. Under the candle racks was a box of votive candles. You took one from there, put it on a rack, then used a wooden stick to light the candle from another candle. The box for donations was built into the wall, 20 pence per candle. I sorted through my pocket change and found forty pence for the children to put in. Jacob prayed for me and Lucy prayed for Mommy.
After Mass we headed over to the church hall for one last potty visit. We almost stayed for tea and cake, but Jacob decided to be anti-social. We did briefly talk to one mom, or I guess I should write "mum," who welcomed us to the parish.
I'm afraid the sermon was a bit of a blur due to my continuing cold, lack of sleep, and distracting children. The readings for today are quite touching, about the humility of faith and the care that God has for us. In spite of all the challenges we've faced coming to England so far, He's seen us through and we trust in Him to keep us going the right way.