I am pretty sure that religion is made for adults and that’s too bad because I just discovered it and missed out on a lot of intersting learning through the years. Anyway I took my kids to Holy Thursday services (“the Last Supper”) and Good Friday services and with the Masses lasting 2 hours minimum I may as well have thrown myself into oncoming traffic for all of the serenity I achieved. I want to be able to share the tradition and celebrations the Mass brings but boy is it hard with four squeaky, fidgety, ornery, whiney, twitchy, inquisitive, chatty kids! Tomorrow I plan on taking them to Easter Vigil which is what my grandfather referred to at my parish as JESUS! The musical! because there was too much singing and it was too long. It is long but that is because we start with the God creating the universe to Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation of new Catholics among us. That’s a LOT of ground to cover so it takes a while to get through so we need to keep everyone focused and songs help us do that.

I decided that I like the Triduum much better than Christmas celebrations. The tradition is so heavy I can feel it in my body. During Holy Thursday service there are selected parishioners who are brought forth to symbolically wash each other’s feet as Jesus did before the Last Supper. As one performs this task to the other, a lector reads their words which have been dedicated to the one they are attending. It’s a good thing I had tissue. It began with the pastor and the new priest thanking each other for mentorship, new enthusiasm, and making promises to one another to strengthen the community. Next were a pregnant military commander (sixth baby!) who washed the feet of a World War II veteran thanking each other for their service and protection. I could hardly stand it. Another couple was an elderly husband and wife married for about 60 years thanking each other for many years of friendship, children, support, and love. Oh.my.God. I don’t remember the rest of it because by the time they were finished hobbling off the altar with the assitance of some young whippersnappers I had a headache from trying to contain my sobs. Last year I think I actually squeaked trying to hold in the sobs watching the deacon and his wife. They’ve been married for several decades, have grown children, and survived cancer that nearly killed him. The way he held his wife’s feet and expressed his feelings knocked me out. Of course you know this affects me in this way because my husband is totally uninterested in organized religion (thanks communism!) and I wonder who will be around to help me hobble toward the altar if he won’t?

The Knights of Columbus were in full regalia to escort the body of Christ (in the form of the sacramental host) out of the church for adoration until the Easter Vigil. They have swords, feathered caps, tuxedos, capes, medals, ribbons, and shiney shoes. They are serious about their task. After they ushered the officiants into the church last night they disappeared. When my son realized this he asked, “What happened to the Columbians?” He said this at the right moment because I was contemplating making a sacrifice out of him due to his behavior. The Columbians showed up later to guard the altar until this morning. As we all left the church, it was stripped of all decorations and the lights turned off.

We went again tonight for Good Friday Mass (the Passion of the Christ). I can’t recall ever being at a Good Friday Mass. I don’t know why I can’t or if it’s true that I’ve never been. The church was silent, stripped, and dark. The statues of the patron saint and the Virgin Mary were covered. I was shocked to see the life-size crucifix bound with linen. How have I missed this? I guess my lapsed Catholic relatives would never accidentally show up at this Mass (it’s long!)! The officiants walked in and laid prostrate on the floor at the altar. They re-enacted the Stations of the Cross. They venerated the cross by passing a 6 foot cross through the aisles. People were down on their knees, people were kissing it. I was lost.

There is so much to learn about religion. The ones I don’t practice. The one that I do.

Editor’s note: Ignore the typos and whatever else bugs you. I’m too tire to edit this to death. I’m tired and have to get to work on A&P now the new Prison Break episode I missed from last week.

Totally unrelated, but such a sweet song.