Subtitle might be: Boys Will Be Boys.
Day before yesterday Mass at my parish was a bit of a throwback for me. Boys and girls in powder blue oxford button-downs and dark pants marched into church and sitting in the first two rows in front of me. I thought I had entered a time warp and drifted back into 2007 or 1996 or 1989 or something.
On Wednesdays, the Catholic homeschooling group has a “school day” on our premises from eight till two. More and more, I see the kids show up for our noon Mass. This week, Fr Dennis moved Mass into the main church–our day chapel which seats about sixty wouldn’t have been quite big enough for all the worshippers. It was an interesting experience, and it was a slight distraction to be thinking about policing the pews–a task I was occasionally called on when my parish of employment included a school.
Whether they are public school boys, Catholic school lads, or homeschooled, boys indeed will be boys. The genuflections and self-crossing into the pews were all pretty correct, but the shifting and squirming in the seats was pretty typical of bored and unengaged tweens. The two young men in front of me weren’t even pretending to sing the opening hymn. When I tapped a shoulder and offered my hymnal, they declined to take it. At the Sign of Peace, I saw one boy pull at a single hair on the head of another guy in front of him.
I realize I’ve been lucky to be around mature college students who really want to go to Mass. No sliding hymnals so the girl in front of them will sit on her book if she’s not watchful. No extra-loud slam of a kneeler on the floor. None of those subtle and annoying things that strike you as disrespectful, but when you actually describe it to a teacher, principal, or parent, it sounds so petty.
Big contrast with the readings of the day.
For my penance for thinking bad thoughts, I offered to teach the homeschool observational astronomy in the Spring.