Yes, I'm still drinking coffee despite it being a thousand degrees here for the past week. OK, maybe not *quite* that hot, but it feels quite close to that. I live in a mostly cold weather climate, and thus a lot of people here do not have centrally air conditioned homes, including us. So heat is very unpleasant. And this week, we've set a record: 7 days in a row so far (today projected to be the 8th) of temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Farenheit, with yesterday topping out the week at 98. Around here, that might as well be the Surface of the Sun. 😂 We are blessed to have window a/c units for our bedrooms, though not for the rest of the house. Taking my dance and fitnes classes in our home office has been occasion of melting for me this week. It's kept things interesting, to be sure. We've actually fared pretty well until yesterday, when everyone just felt lethargic and vaugely ill all day. We've taken the kids out to places that do have a/c: the public library, local coffee shop, and also on a wooded hike to look for birds. It's actually been quite lovely in it's own way. A summer family adventure!
In other big news, I went back to mass for the first time since the pandemic started (nearly 4 months)! I went to the vigil mass, figuring it would be a pretty small turnout to test the waters, and I was right: even counting Father, 2 ushers and the music minister, there were 26 people present. And our church is HUGE. The restrictions were pretty much what I expected, and I think all are prudent at this time. In my personal opinion, I would rather have less tape on the floor and pews (I can ascertain how to stay physically distant from others without it) but I suppose I can see the other side of this, that the parish wants to assure they are doing absolutely everything they can. Everyone was wearing a mask, which is the proper course of things right now, and very doable for an hour.
After I sat down, I excitedly paged through my new missal and got the ribbons all situated. I had heard that some churches were not letting you bring in your own missal (and the paper missalettes are all removed from the pews, I think this is pretty standard everywhere right now), and I was going to be sad if that was the case for me, because I thrive in being able to follow along visually with the readings and prayers. Happily, bringing your own missal was not an issue at my parish.
Isn't it beautiful?! I set up my ribbons for the prayers of the liturgy and the readings of the day, one just to keep track of those wily Prefaces, one for the calendar, and the last one for the Proper of Saints. I was IN LOVE. I've subscribed to magazines like Magnificat and Living with Christ for as long as I can remember, or I've had the small annual St. Joseph's Sunday missal. This is my first daily missal, and it's sheer heft excites me. 😁
So, mass started, and while everything feels a bit awkward with the necessary restrictions, it was very, very beautiful. Receiving the Eucharist again for the first time in nearly 100 days was...emotional. I haven't gone without receiving for that long since I fell away from my faith in graduate school (and that was 2 decades ago!). The only part I didn't love was that we were rushed out of our pews to comply with the one-way markings for dismissal. When it was your pew's turn to leave, you literally had to leave, no lingering to pray for a few extra minutes. :-0 I could have lived without that, but nothing is perfect, and the parish is just doing the best they can to hold public masses while complying with necessary public health precautions.
I didn't bring the kids. I wanted to scope things out a bit on my own so that I can tell them what to expect. I'm also going to be honest and say that it's not going to be easy to drag them back to mass after not going for all of these months. They are at ages where "church is boring," and I get it, as that's exactly how I felt, too, when I was their age. So I'm working on that. I'm undecided as to whether I'll bring them this Saturday, or wait until next weekend. But we *finally* got word about First Communion, and Anne will be making hers on August 2nd!! I'm SO EXCITED, and so is she. I'm planning to use the weeks leading up to this to share tidbits with her about receiving to try and stoke her hunger to receive Jesus, and hopefully this will lead to a softening about attending mass again.
I've also been trying to keep my spiritual spirits up by delighting in my new St. Dymphna rosary!
|Rosaries by Allison on Etsy|
Have you returned to in-person mass? If not, how is your experience going with the streaming mass options? How are you holding up in the July heat? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!