Sunday, July 2, 2017

The kids stole the show

I rehearsed the Gospel reading and the homily before the Spanish mass today. I knew the deacon would be away and I would have to be prepared for a number of unexpected requests. Usually, I can forward the people to the deacon and he takes care of everything. However, I thought, "This is summer and many people will be away. Nothing out of the ordinary will occur."

As I approached the church, I saw a dozen Anglos looking lost. They approached me and said they were here for the Baptism of their child but they misunderstood the time. They arrived at 10:00 a.m. instead of 1:30 p.m. I sent them off to see the parochial vicar because, as a visiting priest, I have no authority over those decisions. I simply carry out what the pastor has arranged.

The parochial vicar returned and said, "The people said you were willing to do the baptism right after mass," to which I replied, "I said no such thing. I merely told them to see you." He said, "I thought so. Don't pay any more mind to it."

The family came back and said they were willing to come to mass for the baptism. So, I checked with parishioners and they were fine with the idea. The musicians, servers, lectors, and people agreed, so I agreed.

After all, the homily was about being hospitable. If we welcome others, we welcome God.

So I did the baptism in Spanish, with a little English, and the little baby slept through it all. She groaned at the exorcism, snoozed deeply at the triple immersion, yawned at the anointing with Chrism, and was very content during the placing of robes.

So, I said, "Isabella, would you like to meet your new community in Christ?" She awoke. I paraded her around the church so everyone could see. Everyone was clapping and smiling and send their blessings upon the child. It was a joyous moment, especially for the parents.

Then we continued with mass. I raised my arms during the Preface, "Lift up your hearts," and an eight month old Dominican toddler raised his arms with me. He then took steps up into the sanctuary and then retreated. He charged again and I was there to meet him. We continued with the prayers, and as I extended my arms, so did he. I placed him with the altar servers at the institution rite and then collected him again. When it came time for the Doxology, I gave him to the older girl altar servers so they could say the "Our Father" with him. He did great. Then we stood and gave the kiss of paz to everyone, and I returned him to his Big Mami. She was full of joy. All was good.

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