Sunday, January 20, 2013

I volunteered to run an errand for my son's teacher that involved a trip "east" to Lincroft. I go to the eastern part of the county often but not usually on a Sunday afternoon. However that was the deal, so I worked in a turn at a favorite country market in nearby Colts Neck.

In fact, I drove past a Catholic church on the way to Lincroft and told myself I'd drop in on the return trip. The appointment in Lincroft was for noon and a Sunday service was just starting. I figured it might be near conclusion when I passed by again and I'd just slip in for a rosary in a quiet church. I'd prayed in that church during the daytime before and found it nice.

The errand didn't take long at all, so I found myself swinging through Colts Neck around 12:30. I entered the church woefully miscalculating where they'd be in the liturgy - the pastor was halfway through the sermon. I waited in the vestibule for him to finish and I'd slip in afterwards. The interior walls are glass and sound is fed into the room, so I didn't miss anything of his homily. Two boys stood at the back of the sanctuary, against the glass, directly in front of me. One had a phone and was texting. An older man entered the sanctuary - actually, I was surprised to see a steady stream of people arriving 30 minutes late for the service1, like me - and said something encouraging to the boys because they smiled and nodded.

I slipped in and found a seat almost in the front because all the back seats were taken. It's a "fan layout" or half-circle, so most seats feel "close" to the front. I participated in the second half of the liturgy, preferring their music selection and performance. I had noticed a sign on the doors announcing that communion would not be offered under both species because of health concerns, i.e., flu epidemic. So at the sign of peace, I declined shaking hands even though I had used the hand sanitizer in the vestibule before entering the sanctuary. I'm not worried about myself: I've already had both the flu shot and the flu!

Anyway, after the service, I didn't feel like staying around for the church to clear. So I just said the rosary in my car as I drove home after shopping at the market. Since the church is dedicated to Mary, many of the stained glass windows depict Marian scenes. One across the way caught my eye, Fatima. Directly behind me was Lourdes.

1 to be late for a "last chance" noon service is pretty bad

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