This post will finish off the previous one. I already discussed how I sat in on a Sacrament meeting. Not gonna lie. Still odd calling it that and not calling it, mass. I could have left after the service was over but I didn’t. Elder S an Elder D didn’t twist my arm and demand that I go. They politely asked if I had plans. I’m on vacation. I don’t have plans. Being lazy is my plan. God doesn’t care much for sloths. I saw Se7en. I know what happens to people who don’t follow the 7 Deadly Sins- Kevin Spacey comes after you.
This will be a 2 part post. I want to cover the sacrament part in ‘part one’ and ‘part two’ will be the sunday school/bible study and the 3rd part of the service where the men all gathered in a room to talk about guy stuff. If you find this blog and you’re a member of the LDS, don’t be offended by what I write. I respect your beliefs. While I do find some things odd, I am not going to stone you for your beliefs. I am writing what I witnessed during the service and also adding my humor and take on it. Will I attend the service again? Maybe. Will I convert? Doubtful. I started talking to the missionaries not because I wanted to become a member of your church but because your religion intrigues me. All religions do. As of now, I am still on this Mormon (LDS) kick. You can read their addition to the Dead Zombie Wife legend here. These two Elders (Elder D. and Elder S) invited me to attend service with them. It’s hard when I work on the Holy Day. I did promise them I would join them. It wasn’t an empty promise. I want to attend a mass. I really do. I just need to have that day off and when you work in the business of retail, getting a weekend off is darn near impossible.
Written by guest blogger: Erin
This is the almost, kind of, somewhat true story of the day that I was born. Of course my mother will deny everything. It was a lovely Sunday in April, long long ago. It was fairly early in the morning. The sky was still dark and my parents were getting the other children ready for church. “Why do we have to go to 5 am mass?” My mothers reply was that the good priest with the best homilies was saying the 5 am mass. It was almost Brady Bunch like, the other kids dressed up in the church clothes standing on the steps leading to the upstairs. They rubbed their eyes and yawned, wishing they could just go back to bed. Little did they know that their wish would soon be granted.
My mother started to have contractions and yelled at my father to get the hospital bag and get the car started. Dad looked up at the other kids and said well, looks like no church today. The other kids started cheering and ripped off the church clothes only to reveal the pajamas that were underneath. My mother was livid, it was her favorite priest saying mass and this heathen of a child was going to make her miss church. (Wow so I was a heathen before I was even born, did not think that was possible) She was throwing a fit the whole way to Central Dupage County Hospital. “I was supposed to help pass the collection basket, now I’ll be put at the end of the line, do you know how hard it was to get to the top of the list?” My father looked away and rolled his eyes. He then grabbed some change from his jacket and put it in the ashtray. He handed it to her, “Here pass this back and forth”. She was not amused. I was probably being a pain the butt and kicking her and wanting out. After a short drive, they made it to the hospital. My dad dropped off my mom at the entrance. “Make sure you park where you can pull right out, I hate when we have to back out of spots.”
My mom waddled inside and started walking the hall, peering into a room she spotted a priest giving someone their last rites. “Father! Father!, this kid is messing with what surely was going to be a great homily and I am missing it! I need you to come here right now and give me a sermon. I cannot possibly go through today without the word of God.” The priest was obviously very embarrassed. He was a man of the cloth, so he begrudgingly gave her a short sermon. “God is good, god is great, we should do what he says so we don’t burn in hell, go in peace my child.” My mother thought it was pretty lackluster, luckily my father arrived to steer her in the direction of her room. He apologized profusely to the priest as he led her away.
Some reports say that they had to use restraints on my mother while lying in the hospital bed. Nurses still shudder at the sound of her name. They say she was trying to make it to the chapel for the morning service even though the doctor was telling her to push. She wanted to partake in communion. Someone took a few crackers off a discarded plate in the hallway and tried to use that. She said it was sacrilege to make fun of a very important part of the mass. At that point, I am sure it was the drugs talking and not my mother. The reports however are hazy and years of therapy have made it difficult to get a clear account of what happened that Sunday morning. I was being close to being born and things a good catholic should never utter were being uttered, quite loudly. The Cook County Hospital nurses could hear her. Then at 7:13 I arrived. The yelling stopped, the cooing began. After weighing and measuring me, they turned to hand me to my mother, she was gone. High jacked a wheelchair and made it to an 8:00 service. So there you have it, the story of my birth. Ask the siblings and they will confirm the story.
I have never liked church. It has nothing to do with the hour-long sermon, the kneeling, sitting, standing, kneeling, sitting, standing, walking, sitting, kneeling, praying, and kneeling thing. Who needs aerobic classes? Convert to Catholicism. It’s a one day a week work out. If you are older and have only feline pets, then it could be a bi-weekly event. It’s cheap too. You can pay if you want. Just empty the change from your pocket and put it in the collection basket. No one is going to know if you didn’t pay. Some Churches hand you the basket and make you do all the work. Others, have the basket attached to a long ass pole and you drop it in when it passes you by. Mass can be seen as a kind of gym. When you’re born, you become a member. You can’t join all willy-nilly though. You gain membership by association. Day one, you’re brought to the Church, given a bath, and then wiped clean. It’s the only shower you’ll ever have to take at this gym.
During your younger years, you’re welcome to work at the gym. You can be an altar boy or an altar girl. You guide the people in and spot them. You sit there, you sit here. Then like any good gym employee, you sit on your ass and watch as everyone else works out. When you’re young, your parents force you to go to the church. But as you get older, you don’t have to go as much. You are welcome to attend. It’s a lifetime membership. My mom recently became a member of a different church. It’s a cathedral. Bigger church means more members. She was overly excited when they announced her name and printed it in the bulletin. Seems like the bigger churches are hurting the smaller one. Nothing like stepping on the little guy.
It’s custom to at least visit church on holidays. The two big holidays to attend are, Easter and Christmas. Easter mass is filled with pastel colors and drum playing. Christmas mass is over crowded and a sign that holiday music is over. There is only so many times you can hear, “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” and watch as hundreds of people race to the doors, not in an orderly fashion, but more like a reenactment of the LA Riots.
Mass starts out when you bless yourself in a dirty, bird bath looking bowl. You perform the sign of the cross,(spectacles, testicles, wallet, and watch) walk in and look for a seat. You look around, seeing who is there. Spotting someone you know is almost a shock to you.You then kneel down and do the sign of the cross again. It’s all about repetition. This is the part of the pregame when you’re suppose to kneel and say prayers and ask for forgiveness. But no one does that. I never did. I usually just looked at other people and thought about what kind of people they really are. Does he beat his wife? Does she have a gambling problem? Is his kid damned for all eternity? These are the questions I asked myself. You say your prayers, then sit. I was always afraid to sit first. If I sat first, will my mom think that I didn’t really pray (which I didn’t)? But if you kneel longer, does that mean you have a lot to confess about? It’s a lose/lose situation.
The priest and the altar boys stand at the doors entering the church. Someone approaches the podium and raises their hands, motioning the people to stand. We sing a song. Usually it’s, “As the Deer Yearns”. The priest walks up and stands before the people. Sometimes you’ll sing one verse and other times you get to sing all twenty verses of the song. How many deers yearn for running streams? How many channels are there of peace? So we stop singing and the priest makes the sign of the cross. Again, you make the sign of the cross. He says, “hello”. You said “hello”. We offer peace to each other. Then we can sit. Someone reads a part from the Bible. We sing a hymn. Someone else gets up and says another passage from the Bible. Usually, the passages Six Degrees each other.
We are motioned to stand again. The priest reads from the Gospel. After he’s finished, he lets you sit. The sermon really depends on what kind of priest you have. Some priest will be funny and some will just talk aimlessly about the reading, being deep and philosophical. My mom always tells a joke about a hare with a permanent wave. Some priest told it. I don’t know the joke and probably never will. So, the sermon is done. You’re sitting there. The priest walks to his seat and just sits there, doing nothing. There is some awkward silent that fills the church. Without notice, he stands up. Then you stand. Again. Someone sings a song. You’re welcome to sing along but at this time, you’re fumbling through your wallet or purse, be it which ever you have. Members of the church come around with baskets, or in some cases, a basket attached to a long pole, and ask for money. It’s like a street act. The priest performs his sermon, a “free” lecture, then is asking for money. “anything will help”. While he’s making it rain with our ‘dollar, dollar bill ya’ll’, his posse is in the lobby, pouring the money into a larger basket. Just look at them. All smug and proud of their thievery. Look at them roll around in the money, rubbing those bills over their mothball-smelling Sunday outfits. All the while, we’re shaking hands and giving peace to each and everyone around us. We sit then kneel. Three or four suckers, get conned into bringing the money and other essentials to the altar. The priest mutters some nonsense and opens a wall safe. Inside, is wine and stale rice cakes. We call this delicious meal, blood and body. Catholics get a bad rap for lots of things. Talking about drinking blood and eating flesh, doesn’t serve us justice. Even praying to Mary is a sin. Well, some people think it is.
We’re told to open our hymnals to a page. The staple song for the communion is, “One Bread, One Body.” We are kneeling while people walk by, touching the top of the pew. When they touch your pew, its okay for you to get up and get in line. It’s custom for you to sit when they are about 2 pews ahead of yours. It makes the line move quicker. When you get to the front, you can stick out your tongue and have the rice cake put on it or you can take it in your hands and place it in your mouth by yourself. Again, you perform the sign of the cross. The wine is offered, but you don’t have to take it. Did you know, that the Catholics allow minors to drink wine? When you have your first communion, which if memory serves me right, (is in the second grade) that is when you can start drinking wine. Also, a thin, white cloth can stop the spread of germs. After each person drinks for the cup, they wipe it down. Catholic don’t believe in backwash.
For people who attend church, they sure don’t want to be there. People sneak out after communion. It’s as if they think they’re being sneaky. Some like to sit in the very last pew. It’s easier to get out. You’re the first to your car and the first one out of the parking lot. But if it is Sunday, then being in the back pew means, you’ll be the first to get coffee and donuts. During this whole work out people call mass, you have to shake hands with the person next to you. “Peace be with you.” The only peace I like, is peace and quiet. There is really no escaping the shaking hands thing. Even if the person is four pews in front of you, you have to nod. How far out to you have to go? Is there a legal limit to peace giving? If you’re in the front row, you’re lucky enough to get a handshake from the priest. It’s a honor. What make the whole shaking hands thing awkward, is when you’re backing up on shaking hands. You’ll be shaking one persons hand and there are two other people waiting in line to shake yours. You need one of those number ticket things you see at butcher shops. “Now serving the handshake from the guy in pew four“.
We go back to our seats but have to kneel. After the last person is done being fed, the priest takes the bottle of wine and gulps it down. He puts all his crap back in the wall safe and sits down. If lunch ran longer, a second song is started. I’ve never participated in a three song lunch and I hope I never have to. We’re finally able to sit again. You would be rejoicing too. Those kneelers are horrible. We are asked to stand. The priest speaks. To this day, I have no idea what he says. I think by this time of the mass, I am anxious to leave and I am just thinking about getting home and relaxing. Sunday is the day of rest. It isn’t the day to get up at six in the morning, pile in the car and drive to a church. The priest mutters some final words and let’s us go. We are sent in peace and told, “the mass has ended. Let us go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.” Mass is over but not without one final sign of the cross. We sing one last song. It’s a joyful song. Either joyful cause we’re going home or joyful cause we heard the word of the Lord. Mass ends with the number, “Sing to the Mountains.” You stay in your pew till the priest and altar boys walk by. It can take a short while or a long time. Like I said. It all depends on the priest. I remember one priest who could do an hour-long mass in 25 minutes. My mother didn’t like that church. We did though. It was the cliff notes of the Catholic mass.
The priest hangs out in the lobby and shakes hands with people. It’s pretty crowded in the lobby. You need to be quick to escape. Once you’re out the doors of the church, the world is yours. Do with it what you wish. But remember. A week from that moment, you’ll be right back in that church, singing about deers, mountains, and rice cakes.
The post has ended. Go in peace. In the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit/ghost.
When I was little, I was dragged to church. I never liked church at all. There were only two upsides to church. I got to get an extra hour of sleep in those really comfortable wooden pews. On Sunday’s after mass, they had coffee and donuts. Why it was the highlight of Sunday mass…I don’t know. The donuts weren’t anything spectacular. They had only two kinds. They offered glazed and those plain cake donuts. Does anyone actually eat plain cake donuts? Those are disgusting. But it was free and it was sugar. You’re like 12 or 13…free donuts is a gift from God. Since I was a kid, I didn’t drink coffee. I don’t know how many kids do. I am sure more do now. Seems like kids are growing up faster than ever. But anyway, instead of coffee, the church people offered “juice” for kids. I don’t know who decided to call this stuff juice. I don’t even want to know the person who decided that, “Wow! This stuff taste great! Let’s make gallons of this stuff and ship it off to school and churches!” It’s not even juice. I can’t explain what it is. You assume it’s orange juice. I mean the bulletin says, “coffee, donuts and juice.” Juice should have pulp in it. Not powder floating on top. So we figured it wasn’t juice and it wasn’t slice. I loved Slice! It was the coolest thing. It was Sunkist, but I liked Slice. Cause saying Slice was much more fun.
So it wasn’t either of those two. What is the church trying to pass off as juice? It was the nastiest stuff ever. I can still taste it to this day. So I finally decided I am fed up with this juice scam. I figured I want to be an adult, so I went for coffee. You get this little Styrofoam cup. It was like one sip and that was to satisfy your thirst. Plus those cups were the cheapest cups ever. Every sip you take from those cups, you somehow chew off a section of it. By the time you’re done with your coffee, you got a cup the size of a Petri dish. Where is the money we put in those baskets going? Obviously it’s not going to the real juice and better cup fund. So I get my coffee. I take a sip. Wow…this stuff is hot. But I feel older already. I can’t feel my tongue but I could feel the chest hair already coming in. I look around. Why are those people putting that stuff in their coffee? Should I do that? But that looks like a lot of work. Plus, they aren’t all putting in the same amount. That’s too confusing. I will just stick with it like this.
The above passage is from something I wrote about a year ago. This is about my love for coffee. I really don’t care where the coffee is from. Coffee is coffee to me. I’ll get it anywhere. But I will not put in cream or sugar. I don’t know what it taste like with it. I never will. I honestly don’t know how much to put in. I am sure people put in the amount they like. I rather not waste a cup of coffee trying to figure out how much I should add before it taste good.
I like cappuccino. That’s good. I stick with french vanilla. I’ve tried others. It’s more of a ritual. I’ll visit Quiktrip in the morning sometimes. I’ll go there if I am not in the mood for Bob Evans. So when I go to QT, I’ll get the same thing. Every time. A large cup of french vanilla cappuccino and two donuts. A chocolate long john and a maple long john. That’s my quiktrip meal. I can say, I don’t drink their coffee. It’s not that I don’t like it. I haven’t ever had it. I don’t know why I don’t. I am sure it’s fine. I just can’t break my ritual.
I think there is only three of us in my family that drink coffee. Maybe four. I think one only likes it if it’s made as a cappuchino. My mother lost the taste of coffee about 30 years ago. I don’t know if I’ll ever lose the taste for it. I love it too much. I can tell ya, drinking coffee and not smoking at the same time, it’s effin’ hard. I do miss smoking.
When I was little, I drank hot chocolate all the time. It didn’t matter if it was the middle of a heat wave. i still drank it. Now, I do it with coffee. Any weather, any time. My only stipulation to coffee is I cannot drink bold coffee. It hurts my heart. I can drink cups and cups of coffee and feel fine. But give me bold coffee and I’ll be dying.
I do want to say I am sorry for not posting for sometime. My internet was down. I am working, what feels like all day, and when I get home, I just can’t think. I still can’t. For being a picky eater, I am lacking on ideas. If I remember tomorrow, I’ll post something about what I plan on talking about soon. You know, give you something to look forward too. Thanks for reading,