I used to practically break my neck to get to Mass each morning in enough time to pray the Rosary or a chaplet before 6:30am. I decided that it might be better to get there shortly before Mass begins and stay afterward for a while to pray. For a few minutes after Mass ends it's a little noisy but nothing terrible. Today, there were a lot of side conversations but it was hard to get mad at anyone. In fact, I'm kind of glad they were talking loudly enough for me to hear because some folks really need our prayers.
My little friend, who has been battling cancer since I first met him four years ago, has been absent from his pew for the last three weeks. A friend of his stopped to tell us this morning that he's in a nursing home and unable to care for himself any longer. I'm hoping to get over to see him this weekend. I'm a little afraid because I don't know what I'm going to find, but whatever it is, I'll survive.
Another lady, who keeps perfect silence and always stays after Mass to keep Our Lord company as most of us rush off to work, was just diagnosed with breast cancer. The sisters stopped to talk to her this morning and I learned that one of them has also recently been treated for breast cancer. She gave the woman an excellent pep talk and it was most reassuring to listen to her.
The gentleman who has filled the role of altar server the last two years informed us he is getting ordained to the permanent diaconate on Saturday. All along, I guessed he was a member of a third order, and to some extent, I was correct. He asked for prayers and prayers he shall get!
Finally, the couple who is faithfully at Mass by 6am each morning will be gone for a little while. I noticed lately he's been walking with a cane and tomorrow, he's having bilateral knee replacements. One of the sisters hurried over to me after Mass because she didn't know I left my old job. She wanted me to look after him as I had looked after her brother when he had his knees replaced. The look of disappointment on her face was so adorable I wanted to tell her I would go there tomorrow just to look in on him . I assured her I'd make a phone call to see to it that he'd get VIP treatment. But not until I make a plea "upstairs" on all their behalf.
I do not belong to the parish where I most often attend weekday Mass, but I do feel part of the little family that gathers as faithfully as it can in the wee hours to start the day off in the presence of the Lord. Most of the folks are older and I know that one day, I won't see some of them any more. Their journey home will be complete and it will have been a privilege to share some of the miles with them.
When I first started coming to this Mass, I would encounter a gentleman who sat in the back. He was very sickly and clearly, it was a struggle for him to get there each day. His greeting was always so endearing and I really do miss hearing him say, as he bowed to the altar "Good morning, Dear Lord." May he rest in peace.