“I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
I always look forward to Sunday and going to 9 o’clock Mass. As a kid, going to church was not always my favorite thing to do. Going to Catholic school back in the 50’s and 60’s, that meant daily Mass before school every morning AND Sunday Mass. It meant fasting, running to school on an empty tummy, and trying to get through the day without fainting until lunch. I just wanted to sleep a little longer, eat breakfast, and not have to rush off to church six days a week.
But now, I’ve had the opportunity to get a little more involved in my church, in my faith, and my own personal growth. It was recently wrought in pain and confusion, but it brought me closer to my faith and the sense community that I had been missing. And plus, I only attend on Sunday and holy days, not six days a week.
Today was going to be a special day at St. Gabriel the Archangel. Newly ordained just last week, Bishop Kelly, was returning to his old parish to celebrate the 11 o’clock Mass. Everyone was excited and honored to welcome him back home for a visit. I didn’t know Father Kelly, the original pastor of St. Gabriel’s, but I felt wrapped up in the excitement of the parish. I always greet before 9 o’clock service, but my friend Mary and I decided that we would still go to Mass at 9, and just stay afterwards to greet for the special 11 o’clock Mass. Actually, people started arriving before 10.
Mayor Loughmiller (L) visited with Father Don, awaiting the Bishop’s arrival. He would later present Bishop Kelly with a certificate declaring today Bishop Kelly Day in McKinney. Sort of like getting the key to the city for the day.
There were many greeters today at 11, when there are usually none. The church was packed, and bursting out the doors well before the service started. It was standing room only, even in the vestibule, with folding chairs and crammed like sardines attendees. Mary and I just wanted to hear the Bishop’s homily after the Gospel, then leave, as we had already gone to Mass and had communion. We stood way in the back by the doors where we had greeted.
Bishop Kelly presented a fine homily, even making several jokes about his ordination. He said, when he called his mother to tell her the exciting news that he was nominated and would be ordained a bishop, she said, “You?” Everyone laughed. He said that his mother could barely believe it, nor could he.
It was a good service and a proud day for the members of St. Gabriel’s.