Wednesday, February 14, 2024

A Medieval Ash Wednesday

Howard and I put off our Valentine's Day celebration until next week. And so today I turned my attention to Ash Wednesday. There was no getting out of it, you know?

And already I can say: It is going to be one of those Lents.

Our 6 p.m. Ash Wednesday Mass was a Low Mass -- that is, long, silent, and mysterious to anyone who has not attended one before. A friend I have gotten to know at the St. Louis choir was thinking she might go to this Mass and so I made sure I was there. I had told her she could join us in the choir loft. Choir reciprocity! And if we sang a chant she knew, she could sing with us.

La la la la la la la.

What happened was, she did join us up in the choir loft. However. 

She lasted 10 minutes!

OK, 20 minutes. Or a half an hour. However long it took for the ashes to be distributed. It is funny, I am accustomed to the Latin Mass. We do not have Eucharistic Ministers or any lay people who distribute the ashes. We have nothing like that. There is a priest -- sometimes two, however in this case we had one. And there is a crowd. The church was full today. It can take quite a while.

And I am kind of oblivious to it. It is like my sister Margie, living in New Jersey, has come to expect traffic jams. She visits Buffalo and hits a bit of a backup on the 190, no big deal for her. She just keeps talking, whatever. Whereas I, living in Buffalo, am all mad. What is this, I am saying. No one on the radio warned us about this. What is this backup?

A modern Mass goer is like me in this situation. What is this? Why is the line for ashes a mile long?

Why is the Mass two hours long?

It just not is something a normal person can deal with. OK, the Mass was not two hours long today. However if Jake, the choir leader, had not been sick, it would have been. Not that I would have noticed. You sing a lot through a normal Mass. It flies by like a freight train.

As it was today, we had a Low Mass and it was a little over an hour. However those ashes, they took a while.And it was too much for my St. Louis friend, I am afraid.

Here is a snapshot someone took of us finally receiving our ashes.

After which she fled into the night. And I do not blame her. Heck, she must have been thinking. What have I gotten into?

Next time anyone mentions wanting to come to our Latin Mass I will know better.

Instead of being all welcoming, I am going to say, "You know what? Don't."

And if the person persists, I will say, "OK, but be warned, we are on 12th century time."

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