I sat with some women from that parish Wed. morning for the first time in more than a year. My swim aerobics class conflicted with their meeting time and exercise was more important. Exercise is still more important but I can't swing it presently.
These women are a hang-over Renew group from years ago. St. Greg's is big on "small groups". Only the extremely large parishes can support "small groups" ... or need to, for that matter.
Thinking about the usual suspects who participate I determined that I may be the only one with children. This group is designated "kid-friendly", at least used to be so. And, as it turned out, one of the women, the leader, adopted a boy since our last meeting, so my Christopher was not alone.
The purpose of the gathering is to read and discuss the upcoming Scripture readings, using questions printed in the weekly church bulletin. You know, those "there's no wrong or right answer" type questions. Shiver. In previous years, they used a five-dollar workbook out of the archdiocese of Hartford but pastors strive to minimize participants' costs ... to a fault, sometimes. So, no workbook.
I limit my comments to correcting their pronunciation ... of biblical names and locations: "Cephas" and "Gennesaret". I handled "Uzziah" myself. Fifth Sunday in OT.
Over a year ago, when I left the group to take up swimming, I made a gift of a vernacular Sunday missal to the woman in whose home we usually met as a way of saying "Thank you for your hospitality." My frustration is that some Catholics are so attached to their Bibles ... they think that they are supposed to be attached to them ... that they don't notice how inconvenient they are for studying the Sunday readings. Or, rather, they don't know how convenient a missal is! With a missal, there's no flipping around from Old to Psalm to New to Gospel. Everything is laid out on a couple of pages. And there's no jumping around from week to week. Start at the front and work towards the back.
Honestly, when I gave her the missal, she didn't know what it was. She certainly had no idea how to use it. She said, "Oh, this is one of those books that you use each week." The others routinely eyed me with suspicion for using a book that clearly wasn't a Bible to study the Sunday readings. If someone forgot their Bible, I would let them look on, but the format confused them.
I told her that the best way to learn is to just work at it. And, so here, a year later, she's leading the group and using the missal. If only she had convinced the other ladies to get themselves missals. One poor woman sat the entire time with her Bible open to the Prophet Haggai. She couldn't be bothered looking up the readings.
As things were wrapping up, the ladies were complaining about their children's religious ed. homework. Even they didn't know the answers. So, I offered to help them. They needed to know the name of the first pastor of St. Greg's, why the parish was named St. Greg's and what "Mater Amabilis" is.
Now, all my books, and I mean all my beloved books are packed away due to the impending construction. But I wandered into the basement looking for a history of the diocese book from ten years ago. The first container that I opened had the book. And I popped the book open directly to the parish's article. So, I had the answer.