I’m counting this as new since I have only been to this church once 13 years ago. It’s a Roman Catholic Church in one of the poorest neighborhoods in town. I chose to go back here to give religion a second,(or third), chance. There were over 500 people at the 10:30 Mass and it was very much the vision of diversity. The priest, knowing that he probably had a huge number of once a year Catholics there, gave a great homily asking us to roll back the stone from our hearts. He welcomed gay, lesbian and transgendered people. He admitted that the parish had many challenges but encouraged people to help work them out.
I loved the choir. They were working hard, must have sang at least 20 songs and ended with Joy to the World – The Three Dog Night version. There was also a children’s pageant with two little girls yelling “Oh God, Oh God!”, when they find Jesus is gone from the tomb. The angels threw lots of flowers and sang Alleluia. The boy who played Jesus sang great and might have been smiling. There was even enough communion for us folks in the back.
A small domestic argument erupted during the service. The couple was yelling at each other as they left. At first I thought it was part of a staged drama but then realized the church just is what it is. Back when I lived in Massachusetts I remember a woman stood up and yelled at the priest. He was taken aback and asked her to sit down and be quiet. He alluded to the fact that she might be ill. In another church in Anchorage, the priest chastised some unseen person for marking the wrong page in his Bible. Today, the priest was quiet. There was no way he could reach the couple who had stormed out, perhaps someone else did, or not. The priest did ask the congregation to tell him what page the renewal of baptismal vows was on. He lost his place and was not afraid to say it.
I was getting a little antsy after an hour. I wanted to get to a brunch an old roommate was holding. I had an argument with myself which was not as public. Should I skip communion? Should I slip out right afterwards? Why am I here? I was almost at the point where my soul leaves my body and sprints away. I finally decided that since I was invited to share at the table, ( take communion), then I should do so and not eat then run. I stayed ’til the end but I didn’t talk to anyone. As talky as I am, I think that would have been pushing it as my soul might still leak out. Maybe next time.
These folks need each other, which is not a bad way to start a community. Don’t we all. I brought Passover macaroons which I made from a Parade magazine recipe to the brunch. There were plenty of delightful donuts from Fred Meyer’s. One of the jelly donuts had no jelly in it. We debated the reasons. 4-20 friendly baker or person who just doesn’t care about the high quality of their work? I reminded them of the man at the food court down the street who hands out extra large jumbo portions just so he can run out of food and shut down early. They thought that was funny. These friends have a nice community but they will be moving. Luckily they will still be in town. Who knows where I will be – one day, one Mass, one donut at a time.
I gave up on the last pope but I’m willing to give this one a chance. I think he would do the same for me. So happy Easter, may all your eggs be bright and your bunnies be solid!