“Another Easter Vigil story, please!”


In comparison to the other days this past week, today was relatively cushy: five Masses and one baptism liturgy in eight hours, then home. After a mid-afternoon breakfast at IHOP with the family, it was back home for a nap. All three of us.

Brittany was up till midnight last night. After my wife and I got home from the Vigil, we were all too wired to go right to bed (which would have been the smart choice, as my alarm was set for 4:50AM). So we traded Easter Vigil stories while eating bowls heaping full of ice cream. (I have to say that after a whole season of Lent, the ice cream tastes really good, but beer and chocolate leave something to be desired. I wonder if one can lose an acquired taste? Hmm … ) The little one kept it going, “Another Easter Vigil story, please!” Was she really interested in all nine readings, or battling altar servers, or the Paschal candle that burned off two feet in three hours? Or did she just want to avoid head hitting pillow?

This year’s Easter Vigil story was the leaking font. We have parishioners who hold on to a bath tub for us, and bring it back each year. Sometime in the past twelve months, it developed a significant crack, and by the end of Mass last night, half the water was on the floor. It was somewhat surreal. During Mass, I had just started the servers on their procession to the font with the elect and godparents and went another route to retrieve the Easter candle for ready lighting. The pastor motioned for me to come over to him. That’s not in my script, I thought. Neither was the substantial puddle he was standing in. Fortunately, there was still more water in the font, else our RCIA folks would have been baptized on the floor.

I saw our assistant custodian at Mass. After “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today,” I asked where the wet vac was, having looked in the main furnace room to no avail. Oh, I keep it hidden in (some other room) so people won’t take it, he replied. Helpful, I thought, way helpful.

I was unprepared for the quantity of people coming to the Triduum. Attendance was up by well over a hundred at each of our Big Three liturgies. I had to halve hosts during the Good Friday Passion reading–there wouldn’t have been enough. And we had two Sardine Masses today. AC working overtime.

My sense is that weather notwithstanding, your Triduum attendance is mostly based on how well you did last year. If true, we’re due for another big jump in ’07. Our vicar-general, who preached last Sunday, said then that a Holy Week doesn’t pass by for him without a miracle happening. Later that day, I got an e-mail from a parishioner who gushed her miracle already happened. And we had barely begun.

That’s not to say we don’t have room for improvement. A parish like ours simply cannot continue to baptize adults in a cracked plastic bathtub, no matter how well-disguised it may be. Hopefully, you had more miracles than cracks, too.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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