It's been two and a half weeks since I last celebrated a mass. I'm not bragging. I'm a little ashamed, to be honest. I've concelebrated several masses in those two and a half weeks, almost daily in fact. It's really odd, however, to go that long without celebrating a mass for people. It's rather unnerving, to be honest.
This past Sunday, I took a group of students to two churches in the Twin Cities. I sent one group to St. Agnes. It was their matronal feast and I guess they have switched from celebrating the current mass in Latin to the mass as it would have been celebrated prior to 1965. The students loved it. They were in awe. They said it was like heaven and earth touched and that they felt at home.
Two years ago, when I did this same type of experience, I sent the students to a rather liberal catholic church. The students were...let's call it upset. Angry would be closer to what they were. Unfulfilled at what had taken place. So, this year, I decided to take them to the black catholic church in the cities, St. Peter Claver. I brought them into this church the day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day and two days before President Obama took the oath of office. The liturgy was good. The priest's homily was spectacular. But, what hit me was that I was praying with people who have had a lot of reasons to feel betrayed and ashamed of how they have been treated by this country. But, for some there, they were going to feel as proud of this country as they ever have before. And, they were letting me be a part of that healing. It really was a honor to give peace to people there knowing that it means something different for them. It was a dream for the man whose martyrdom they celebrate the next day and a hope fulfilled for the man who was today elected.