Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cast of Thousands

One of the funny things that kids express sometimes is the belief that we priests only celebrate Mass. What does Monsignor do the rest of the week, mommy? Equally mistaken is the idea, not limited to kids, that only we priests celebrate Mass. You know, light the candles and turn Father loose, and you’ve got Mass.

Well, this past weekend was a perfect demonstration of how not true that is. I was made particularly aware of how much work so many people were doing to make our Masses beautiful, rich, holy, and enjoyable.

First I appreciated all the volunteers who made up my Fearless Team to distribute and collect the cards for the offertory campaign. A large number of kids and some older folks worked to facilitate the daunting logistics of that in-pew appeal. I was marveling at how many there were, and how well they did their work.

And because I have been at all the Masses the past two weekends, I have seen our musicians working to make Mass sound as beautiful as God’s presence itself. They come during the week to rehearse, show up early to warm up and practice, and work hard throughout to help us all pray. That is a lot of people, and a lot of their time.

Of course, you all see the altar servers. They come early too, and work beforehand and afterward. They have to be on their toes throughout. Back in the dark days of snowstorms, once or twice we had no servers for Mass – though not a Sunday Mass, I think – and that is terrible.

Imagine how long Mass would take if we didn’t have Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion! The distribution of Holy Communion tales longer than any single part of the Mass already, as it is; without them, it would take another fifteen minutes. They have to coordinate their days with our schedules to make this beautiful encounter with God go so smoothly for us all.

And talk about unappreciated, but with a huge impact – the ushers! The SECOND longest part of Mass is the offertory, and the more skilled ushers we have, the faster and better that goes. Thank God for their help! I know we could use a few more who are willing to commit, and put their names and numbers on a list. Talk about something I would like to get for Christmas!
It takes a steady stream of volunteers to make our Children’s Liturgy run, too. No small feat, taking and holding the attention of all those small people, showing them Jesus in that day’s readings, and then bringing them all back to Mom and Dad.

Then there are the folks you don’t see. Unless you are the parent who drops off, you won’t see the volunteers in our babysitting program. Boy could we use more of those! I would LOVE to expand it to the 11:00, but that takes folks we just don’t have … yet.

Equally invisible are our sacristans, who are there long before and long after Mass to make sure everything is ordered properly. Again, imagine how clumsy our worship would be without their preparation.

Yep, we clergy get the microphone, and the wardrobe – but it takes a lot of willing souls to make Mass happen every Sunday as beautifully as it does here. Praise God for their fidelity -- and yours.

Monsignor Smith

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