Monday, October 15, 2012
The sanctuary of the host church was open and available as a place of quiet. I visited after lunch Saturday right before my presentation. In years past, the plenary speaker sessions were held in the sanctuary. I'm not sure why these were moved to the adjacent building in which one hears the street traffic much more readily. I suppose there was one year of bad weather so putting everything in one place was likely deemed better than moving us back and forth. But I liked being in "a church" at least part of the weekend and sometimes we sang together from the hymnal.
Still, this sanctuary, a sacred chamber, has always reminded me of a courtroom or political hall, like the Senate. It looks so "officious," if I may quote Norman Bates. I would guess there's a Bible upon the lectern ... or there could be but I've never had the guts to sneak up there to peek. Anyway, the tray for it mimics an open book with scrolled up edges.
I knelt there several minutes which, despite the sloping aisles and absence of kneelers, was quite comfortable. I didn't pray my rosary, out of respect. The space did not feel vacant or devoid of spirit. Any "chill" in ambience was reduced by the warmth of the rich, dark wooden pews. Nobody "caught" me in there on my knees and I wondered how much the space was utilized by the other workshop participants over the weekend. On one occasion, I saw the musicians who provided the weekend's music coming out but never anyone else.
The Workshop adjourned twenty minutes earlier than last year and since my friends were unable to keep our dinner date, I attended the vigil mass at St. David's, a stone's throw away on the corner.
It was a lovely mass. The same msgr. who'd said Night Prayer the night before presided. His homily began with a lament of Joe Paterno's absence this football season and I had to remind myself of where I was. Either way, scandal or no, Mr. Paterno is quite absent, most noticeably in his family's lives. Once the msgr. got past that bit of sentimentality, he spoke very encouraging, gospel-filled words.
Afterwards, I picked up a sandwich at a counter sub shop and drove home to my family.