Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cry Room Chronicles LIII

After a few harrowing nights of semi-sleep, we had some decent sleep last night and were able to have a more or less normal Sunday morning. We didn't make french toast since we have a bread shortage but breakfast was satisfying nonetheless. We tried to head off early to 9 a.m. Mass. Failure resulted from unsuccessfully convincing Jacob to use the potty for #2. He wound up using a diaper. The delay wasn't too bad. We still arrived at church with time for Jacob to visit the church potty before Mass started. The opening hymn began as we walked in.

The children were very quiet though also very squirmy. Jacob tried to sing along with some of the hymns. The songs were unfamiliar and their refrains weren't particularly easy or memorable. He did his best, which made us happy. Both Jacob and Lucy joined in for parts of the creed (we'll be using the new translation next week, way ahead of you Americans!!). I gave Jacob a pound coin for the collection. Lucy picked her own coin from my hand. Then she picked the five pound note from my hand and gave her five pence piece to me! Not a fair trade but it all went to the church anyway. They had their typical level of participation with the Our Father and Sign of Peace. We didn't have to take any breaks from church this week which was highly satisfying for both Angie and me.

After Mass, the kids lit candles. Jacob prayed for Mommy and Lucy prayed for candles. She still hasn't quite got the concept down. Hopefully soon she will.

Today's gospel was the follow on from last week's. Jesus tells the apostles how He will suffer and die. Peter says, "God forbid!" and gets rebuked by Jesus. Jesus then explains how we all need to take up our crosses and follow Him. Father said that many a pastor would take the final line, "[God] will reward each one according to his behavior," as an opening to pound on the pulpit and promise perdition if parishioners didn't repent. Father took the more gentle approach of reminding us to embrace our own crosses, which are fitted for us and the times of our lives. I didn't get much more from the sermon because I was trying to keep squirmy children from distracting the rest of the congregation. It was a good Sunday for us and we look forward to many others.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cry Room Chronicles LII

We went back to St. Robert's for the 9 a.m. Mass this week since we had such a smashing success last week. We were able to repeat a lot of the positives--we arrived early, Jacob went potty before Mass started, we had some religious books for the kids to help them be quiet and pray.

The Mass went smoothly. The kids were a little antsy now and then. Lucy didn't want to put the coin I gave her into the collection, so she grabbed a different one from my hand. She downgraded from a pound coin to a two-pence piece. I put her pound in the basket. Jacob prayed along with the creed as well as he could and was very good with the Our Father. At communion time, Lucy wanted to light a candle but we told her we'd do it later, once Mass was over. When lighting candles, Lucy prayed for the people of God (I can't believe she said that!); Jacob prayed from Mommy. It was pretty sweet. We never left during Mass and they were mostly behaved.

The sermon seemed to be a little rambling, though probably the kids distracting us was more of the problem than Father's delivery. He started off discussing the importance of having more than just a personal relationship with Jesus. Jesus Himself gave us not only a church to help know, love, and obey God. He also put someone in charge of that church, Peter and his successors (today's gospel is the "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church" passage from Matthew). He talked about a bunch of other stuff, but I didn't quite absorb it.

He did talk about the call he got yesterday. The papal nuncio from Guatemala called to see if he could offer one of the Sunday masses. Father said the nuncio would be at the 11:30 a.m. Mass if anyone wanted to double dip. He had met the nuncio in Rome and has known him for some time. Then he told us the nuncio is Archbishop Gallagher, originally from the UK. He admitted it was a lot less impressive that the nuncio is someone he knows through English connections, but still it's pretty cool to have such a friend. We all had a good laugh.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cry Room Chronicles LI

After last week's rough time at the 8 a.m. Mass, we went back to St. Robert's for the 9 a.m. Mass, to give us more time in the morning and hopefully the children more sanity. The plan was quite successful.

We arrived about ten minutes early and we preemptively took Jacob to the potty across the street in the church hall. I saw people setting up tea and snacks. After Jacob did his business we headed back to the church. We walked in and still Mass hadn't started. I was pretty happy to be there from the beginning.

The children were very well behaved. Jacob sang the Gloria and even mentioned to Mommy how we sang it at Fountains Abbey. He tried on other songs with varying success. He did get antsy during the Consecration and claimed he had an emergency needing to go potty during Communion. Since he already claimed that several times in the past without having any results, I told him to wait till Mass ended. He fussed for a while but calmed down by the time we actually went to receive. Otherwise, Mass was pleasantly uneventful. We never had to take either child out of the church. No cry room in this chronicle!

After Mass, we didn't light candles but we did go across the street to the church hall for tea and snacks sponsored by the Catholic Women's Club. They were also selling assorted odds and ends. We had a snack and bought Giant Snakes and Ladders for Jacob, some ballerina slippers for Lucy (too small for her feet, but she thought they were cute), a set of Dalek playing cards, and other things for the house. We also bought two tickets for a raffle drawing. About ten minutes later, they pulled numbers and we won! Jacob came up with me, so I was too shy to take the bottle of wine. We took the box of Lindt truffles. We all enjoyed them after lunch.

The sermon for today (the Feast of the Assumption) focused on the blessings of Mary, mother of God. Father's basic point was that we all share in her blessings, because the promise of grace and Heaven and the resurrection of the body is for us all, if we do the will of the Lord. So we can take consolation in hearing how Mary was blessed.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cry Room Chronicles L

I welcome all new readers who may be confused by the title of this posting. The L is a Roman numeral. Which means this posting is fiftieth of the series. I should do something to celebrate...but what?

At any rate, this week we went back to St. Joseph's, church without a cry room. The vestibule is off of the main church but no doors protect the congregation from any noise. We had a rough morning getting out of the house. Jacob has started to use the potty for pooping though he is inconsistent in using it. Sometimes he can't quite do it; sometimes he just asks for a diaper. Just as we were about to leave for church, he wanted to poop, but could not. So we wound up being late.

We walked in to church during the gospel reading. As the homily started, we found an empty pew toward the front of the church. Both Jacob and Lucy were very squirmy and talkative throughout the Mass. Angie and I were very frustrated. We could barely pay attention or pray.

The kids did like putting money in the collection basket but not giving the sign of peace. The other people gave us sympathetic looks as we wished them peace and they wished us peace. I hope we do have peace next week. We have been going to Sunday afternoon Masses for a while, so maybe the kids weren't ready for 8 a.m. Mass.

Even lighting candles at the end was tough. Neither a box for money nor a stick for lighting could be found. Jacob was uninterested in lighting a candle but Lucy was. So we took the tea light candle and tried to light it from another candle in the shelf of lit candles. The candle dropped out of the rim I was holding, extinguishing the one from which we hoped to light our candle. I picked up the wax (the wick had stayed with the rim/base, strangely), put it back in and tried more carefully to light it on another. That worked but I couldn't relight the extinguished candle because the wax was still melted, meaning it was both too hot to pick up and too messy to turn upside down to light from another candle. We prayed for a more peaceful Sunday next week.

The homily was pretty short and very good. The gospel was about Jesus and the disciples on the Sea of Galilee. The apostles were out on the boat at night and saw Jesus walking across the water. Peter asked to walk on the water too, which he did until he realized how strong the sea was. He began to sink and called out to Jesus, "Save me!" Jesus chided him for his little faith, saved him, and both got in the boat. Father said this story points out a big problem we have with prayer. We pray only when we are in danger, stress, or need. What we should do is pray always, in good times and in bad times. Prayer should not be our last recourse, like in the attitude, "All we can do now is pray." We need to pray without ceasing. That's how I should celebrate number fifty, by a prayer of thanksgiving.