Although this post doesn't have much to do with Luke as my usual posts go, I wanted to record this memory for him and use it as a reminder to myself of the experience we went through for years to come. The entire post is a commemoration of our Ash Wednesday Mass we attended last night. If any of this comes off as mean or in a complaining-type voice, I apologize as I mean to be purely a factual statement. And I mean that. Factual.
First, the good-I have never seen so many people attend a Mass at St. Mary Magdalene. The junior high gym setting can tend to detract some people from attending there, but not last night. The small gym was packed (probably way beyond what is deemed safe by the fire code). There were people standing in the hallways, overflowing outside, and even lined up in places along the front walls where they weren't able to see a thing. For the most part, the entire Mass was reverent and it was neat to see so many people celebrate the beginning of Lent together.
Now to the bad-As a religious education teacher (r.e. from now on) I was required to have my students sit with me in the bleachers, because they were all required to be there as well. I took attendance and then proceeded to cram children as young as Kindergarten all the way to junior high in one small section of bleachers. There were a few teachers and aides dispersed through out the sea of students, but not nearly enough to adequately control them. I literally had third grades right up next to me on both sides with another one's knees in my back while trying to convince the junior high kids in front of me that there wasn't any reason to talk during Mass. We were packed like sardines (Keith's observation, not mine) and had no room to move. At one point, one of my kiddos even had to go the bathroom. Oy.
And the sweaty-I can't honestly recall ever sweating the amount that I did last night; not even when I gave birth to Luke or when I work out. The room felt like a sauna and there was no escaping it. I know a lot of places don't have air conditioning turned on full blast yet (it is only February) and I'm guessing they didn't prepare for that many people to attend, but geez. Last night was the first night you could actually see sweat stains on my shirt. So gross.
It was eventful and I will be recommending a different situation for dealing with the kiddos next year (make them sit with their parents), but all in all, it was amazing and so heart-warming to see such an out pouring of people attend a Mass that isn't a required Holy Day of Obligation. Lent is off to a great (and hot) start.
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