"It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterwards were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait. At any rate after a short halt go on he did..."
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102 days in between Masses and...
From back in March until now, it was exactly 102 days in
between Masses at my local parish. It was about as I expected. As I frequently
say, “expect the worst, and you won’t be disappointed.”
We arrived the mandatory 15 minutes early to avoid being
locked out. The church was allowed up to 30 people (technically more, but I won't get into that). Some people were spaced
out, gasp, with one pew separating themselves from others. They were promptly
told to move to a gap of two pews before Mass could start. That was pretty awkward.
Mass was 55 minutes long. Approximately 26 minutes of that was
chatter about COVID-19 and regulations. At the last second, we discovered that
for those wishing to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, the priest was to
wear gloves (to go along with his mask). They were super cheap hospital gloves
that crinkled and touched the side of the mouth (without the priest knowing
it). That’ll have to be the last Holy Communion we receive there for quite some
Apparently Mass attendance has dropped significantly around
the world. Places allowed, say, 30% capacity are scoring far below that number.
After this past Sunday, I now know why. It was all so dehumanizing. I’m not
overstating it when I say it felt like we were not welcome at all. A nuisance
at best. The whole process was more about bowing down to “Science” and “The
State.” People left visibly upset. As did we. Our 6-year-old son asked at the
end, “Dad, can we just go back to you doing the Mass prayers next week?” I
think we will, actually. But we'll look around first. And no, we cannot get to a TLM. The nearest one is 2.5
hours away, at 8am in the morning. Talk is cheap. Getting four little kids up before
5am is not doable.
So there you have it. 102 days. What have we learned? That there
are far worse things than a virus. “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the
soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt. 10:28).
Sometimes words are hardly necessary. Behold Bishop McElroy's 2020 Pentecost Mass for all Cultures. He is head of the diocese of San Diego. Procession Reading Virtual Prayers of the Faithful Setting the Table... Incensed yet? How about now? Let's Zoom over to his view A touching photo Jammin' To quote Susan from the Parish Council: "Bless and Amem."
Unfortunately it was just a little too much to handle. I speak of homeschooling. After three years of homeschooling our oldest child Joseph, our family is worn out and simply cannot go on like this. Starting after Easter we will be sending Joseph (age 7) to the public school where I teach. Thankfully I know his soon-to-be teacher, and can confirm that the class has already completed their units on Native Spirituality, Yoga, Diversity in Family Life, and Caring for Mother Earth. Thus it should be smooth sailing for Joseph from now until the end of June, apart from one small unit titled Pink Shirts. Of course we will supplement Joseph's education at home. I'll be sure to teach him some math at night, and how to write properly (sometimes these skills are not emphasized in schools). I might even have him read from books as well, for he will surely be tired of reading only from Ipads at school (though I think he will come to enjoy, and even crave, having that Ipad in his h
Mark Twain once mused that “all you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” These seem like fitting words to begin as I, quivering with emotion, scribe a few words on the death of the fictional (and yet real) Susan from the Parish Council . Her ignorance was inestimable, her confidence impenetrable, and her success undeniable. Not that I can confirm Susan has indeed passed from this life to her eternal… reward. To further cite Twain, perhaps reports of her death have been greatly exaggerated. I suppose Susan can rise from any alleged demise. Truth be told, if Susan is not cremated first, I imagine her funeral as such, with the priest requesting additional “ministers” of Holy Communion, and Susan rising from the casket to pump the Purell and serve Jesus to all her sisters and brothers. But for now, I will dare to speak of Susan as having died. Her online “group newsletter” via Facebook/Twitter has gone silent. She warned recently she was sick