Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Experience of Mass today.

We break into our account of the Stand Up for Vatican II meeting because today has been one of great joy to We Are Church folk who have been praying that Judith would return to Mass. She writes:

The (Stand Up for Vatican II) meeting gave me great food for thought. Subsequent Prayer and reflection brought forth the conviction that if I truly believe what I believe then the only place to be was in my own parish community rather than leading a nomadic, erratic and privatised Catholic existence.

This morning I phoned my parish and asked the time of Mass. Initially I felt that the reception of my call only served to strengthen my alienation from the Church. But this melted away when my phone rang and the gentleman to whom I had been speaking said he had recalled my number because the Mass time he had given me was not quite correct. I much appreciated this, and said so.

An hour later I got in my car and drove the three miles to the church, admittedly in some anxiety and trepidation. Recent media reporting about the Church and the loud voices of those who proclaim they are Traditionalists made me anticipate a pre-Vatican II scenario with cold piety. In the light of current pressures in the Church I did not think the parish would have grown less conservative than it was 14 years ago.

I parked my car and, gathering my courage together, I walked through the church porch and opened the inner door. The lady on the other side greeted me courteously and then looked closer. The smile broadened on her face and she expressed delight in remembering me. It was lovely to see her too. I walked to a pew and prepared myself for the celebration of Candlemas. There was conversation between some of those around me and I was impressed by the care and concern for each other.

As is usual on this day we were invited to go to the back of the church for the procession. Whereas, in the past, this would have been done in almost sullen silence, there was an easy relaxed atmosphere. After a few moments the Priest joined us and we lit candles to begin the celebration. This easy and comfortable atmosphere continued through the Mass.

One of the ladies read the Readings and another was the Extra-ordinary Minister of the Eucharist. I found myself relaxing and thanking God for guiding me back to my community. To exchange the Sign of Peace with these long lost friends was a truly uplifting experience. Everyone received both the Body and Blood of Our Lord and most received the Host in their hands.

After Communion there was a deep peace as we each made our own thanksgiving and then we were sent out "in peace to love and serve the Lord".

After Mass I was not allowed to creep out of the church. Old friends wanted to speak and say how glad they were to see me back. I was overwhelmed by the warmth and welcome.

Without doubt I shall be back next week and hopefully, in time, I will be able to make some contribution to my parish.


  1. I do hope "Judith" managed to fit in the "Sacrament of Reconciliation" for sins committed during the 14 years she wilfully absenced herself from Christ's Church, and before receiving the Blessed Sacrament! Or has the post-Conciliar Church abandoned auricular confession?

  2. It is wonderful to hear that Judith was able to reconnect with her Church after so many years. Even more so that she encountered a warm and welcoming parish family who did not put her off with judgemental attitudes like those expressed by 'St Malachy'.

    I hope that Judith continues to enjoy a positive and fulfilling relationship with her parish, and that she experiences God's love and care ever more deeply.


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