Today was my first Mass in conjunction with my highly probable conversion to the Catholic Church. It was not my first Mass ever. To understand why, visit THIS entry. I have likely attended well over 50 masses in my time...just none for the past 10+ years.
I chose for our first Mass to be at the Church we will likely be attending on a regular basis. The CCD class TrainBoy attended last week is affiliated with it. The Priest serves 3 "local" Churches. "Local" in quotation marks due to the fact that I live in a rural area and this poor man of the cloth is serving an area of over 50 square miles. May God bless him!
Sacred Heart, where we attended, has a Saturday evening Mass. This fits in great with my schedule as a night owl, is fairly close to home (about 20 miles), and seemed like a "good" place to start.
Scared to the point of shaking for most of the drive there, I tried to gently explain things to TrainBoy he likely wouldn't have seen in our previous church experiences. We'd talked about the Sign of the Cross yesterday and he'd learned how to make it. I tried to explain that the cross would have Jesus on it, the reason for genuflecting, what the water at the door was for and how to use it, and that we would be adding kneeling to the sit, stand routine of worship.
Pulling up to the Church, one would think it's a Baptist building. It's your quintessential looking non-assumptive white rural church on the outside. It could house any religion from it's exterior. Coming from Chicago with it's massive Cathedrals it was almost funny to think that my journey would begin from this tiny little parish in the middle of nowhere.
TrainBoy decided he had to practice genuflecting in the parking lot. Fortunately no one was there. It was adorable watching him try to "get it right" despite being told he didn't have to do it.
Walking in the door, the Holy Water font was right there on the way in. I'd never seen little pebbles in it before...but knew that's what it was since it was the only water in the entryway. I "set the example" by blessing myself. An elderly gentleman walked in behind us. TrainBoy, being a lefty, tried to copy me but did it backwards. I smiled and bent down to help him "redo" it but the kind gentleman behind me leaned over with a smile and said, "It's okay - God knows what he meant." The gentleman then blessed himself and walked forward to be called Father Joe by the parishioners in the doorway...
I decided I liked Father Joe. :)
TrainBoy REFUSED to sit in the back (my original plan) and chose a pew about 5-6 rows back from the very front. I was terrified no one would sit in front of us and I'd end up standing, sitting, and kneeling at all the wrong places. He did his best genuflect going into the pew (also backwards) and knelt to pray. I did the same and sat down after marking my missal for the day's service and praying I didn't do something that would embarrass myself or my son.
Shortly after I finished marking my missal, the CCD teacher walked in. She's also the RE for the parish and is immensely kind. Her name is Diane for further discussion purposes. She saw me immediately and walked over and we began chatting quietly. Next thing I knew she settled down in the pew next to me for the service. I was so immensely thankful...and will continue to be for the rest of my life.
I was shocked at how much I remembered. I was impressed that I still had lots of it down. I still knew the Nicene Creed by heart - something most Catholics don't even know according to Diane. She seemed pleased with our attempts as did Father Joe (did I mention how much I like him?). She complimented TrainBoy on his behavior. The ONLY thing he did "wrong" was to stand on the kneeling rail to see better around the people in front of us. Diane thought it was precious. My father would have beaten me with a stick for even considering it. Italians....
The only thing I did wrong was forget that some kneeling rails have slippery surfaces. Trying to kneel on them in pantyhose is like an extra abdominal workout. I managed after sliding off twice to stay on there gracefully. Maybe next week I'll bring a non-slip surface to place under my knees. I could resort to pants like 98% of the congregation (there were only 2 of us in skirts/dresses) but after my Catholic grandmother beating into me that "wearing your best for God means young ladies do NOT wear pants" it's unlikely. Funny - she wore pants to Mass herself. Perhaps that's why I won't switch...I don't want to be old. :) lol
Anywho the whole thing was an immense success. I find myself looking forward to a discussion with Father Joe about how to get everyone properly reinstated or instated. TrainBoy is ecstatic about going back to CCD. Diane is like the Great-Grandma he doesn't have up here in the sticks. She's a really neat lady. I'm not sure if I an ask the RE to be my sponsor for RCIA, but if I can, she's the TOP of my list right now. :)