So, a couple of interesting Catholic tidbits to share today. The first is that my new experiment with Magnificat magazine, after my first full month, is officially a success. I use it pretty much every day. I don't often get to the evening prayers, but I say morning prayer nearly every morning, and I use it for Mass on Sundays as well. I've also read nearly all of the daily meditations and saint stories. It tucks easily into my purse, and I have it for all of the needs that I just mentioned in one compact source. It's quite perfect.
And today, I used it for daily Mass. :) It's been a long time since I've been to a true daily Mass, usually attending during the week only when there is a holy day of obligation. But I used to go all the time back when I was in law school and working as an attorney. My schedule, as well as my location, worked out such that I could make it nearly every day back then. I also went occasionally when I was in college, which is what initially turned me on to what daily Mass truly was.
Daily Mass is pretty much the reason why I'm a committed Catholic today, and didn't just laze around in terms of my spirituality when I was a young adult. I had always assumed that it was like Sunday Mass, just during the week. It's not. It's a lot shorter (less readings and you don't recite the Creed, usually a more concise homily as well), but it packs a heck of a powerful punch. As well, many parishes don't celebrate daily Mass in the main church, having a separate, small chapel for this purpose so that they don't have to worry about heating/cooling the larger space. Obviously, there will be a much smaller crowd for daily Mass as opposed to Sunday, but the people that do go form this cohesive little community. It's comforting to see the same faces all the time, there is a feeling of camaraderie. And these are people who treasure the Mass and the Eucharist, so the reverence level is high.
It was a huge boon to my faith life when I started to attend daily Mass in law school, and that is when the religious vocation discernment took place. After I graduated, I went during my lunch break at work, Our cathedral downtown had a beautiful daily Mass chapel that I could walk to in under 5 minutes.
When I started working as a librarian/went to library school (both at the same place) it wasn't as easy. There is a Newman Center here, but they only have daily Mass during the main semesters, and even then only 3 times per week. My schedule is also different here, I often have classes or meetings that conflict with the Mass time.
At first, when the Newman Center was an easy walk from my office, I would go down there occasionally for Mass. Then, last year, they built a new, gorgeous Newman Center building, which is great, but I can't walk to it. It necessitates a short drive (this is a fairly large campus) and parking here is at a premium. I didn't want to leave my spot and then have to agonize over finding a new one when I returned. Plus, all that walking out to the lot and driving to and from took my time away from my office from about 20 minutes to 40 or 45. It just didn't work.
But I had always wondered about the daily Mass at our parish. The church is maybe a 2 minute drive from our house, and they have an 8 am Mass. I usually like to get to work around 8:30, but even with attending Mass I knew I would get in before 9 am. I just often have 9 am commitments and didn't want to be feeling rushed. Well, today I had no meetings, classes, or reference shifts on my calendar and I knew the opportunity was nigh. It's also the summer, and so parking is easy. I was going to daily Mass.
I left my house at approximately 7:53 am and made it in plenty of time. The small daily Mass chapel, located in the parish center, has it's own small parking lot that I had never used before. I arrived, collected my stuff and headed in.
I was unprepared for the amount of people in there. The chapel was pretty full. I suddenly remembered that the parish Women's Sodality prays the rosary after daily Mass for the month of May, and so they must all make a special effort to come during that time. A quick perusal confirmed Mike's suspicion that, when I expressed an interest in joining the Women's Sodality, I would likely be the youngest member by at least 15-20 years. :) I slipped into a seat and scanned my Magnificat while I waited for Mass to start. There was a featured meditation on the Feast of the Visitation, since that is what we are celebrating today. Love!
I recognized all of the people present from Mass on Sundays. Many of them also serve as lectors or Eucharistic ministers, or in the choir. I sensed some interest generated amongst the congregation that a new person was suddenly in their daily Mass midst, though I'm sure they recognized me. It's not often that a new person will start going to daily Mass, especially when it's not Advent or Lent.
The chapel was quite warm (it's pretty hot here today, at least by my standards :)) but Mass was lovely. I just feel so *good* when I go to daily Mass. It's the perfect way to start your day. After Mass, Father exposed the host in a monstrance, and I stayed to pray for a few minutes before they started the rosary. I was on my way to work by 8:30 am.
So, this pretty much seals the deal that whenever I don't have a 9 am commitment I'm going to go there for Mass in the mornings all summer. It was just smashing.