I went online and saw 10 p.m. noted as the start time. George (my boyfriend), Richard (my dad) and I are not the most punctual people. I knew this mass would be busy (full of Chreaster goers). I told them we needed to leave George's by 9 p.m. to arrive with enough time to find a parking spot and seats. I went a few years back for Easter by myself and no one would let me sit down, although I was alone, all of the spaces that appeared to be open were "taken." -- that's a blog for another day. #SomePeoplesKids
We left at 9:16 p.m. and still had to get gas. We arrived at the church around 9:30 p.m. We parked on 6th street to avoid the church parking lot congestions at the end of mass.
Things were looking good. We walked in and there was PLENTY of room in the pews. The choir sounded like a bunch of dying Canada geese (yes, this is the AP style for referring to this bird). Yikes - what am I subjecting my father (who is a Chreaster - Christmas/Easter goer) and my boyfriend (who is not Catholic) - hmmmm.
I opened the service program and noticed the it didn't actually start until 11 p.m. Ooops. George wanted to leave and get a drink. I was hoping he could hold on. My dad on the other hand seemed quite impressed with the beauty of the Basilica. He didn't really let on if he was glad to be in church, or not-so-glad that we had a longer night ahead.
Then Richard started making faces. Oh no. I forgot he had saur kraut earlier in the day. YIKES. This might make for an even longer night. I let him know where the bathrooms were if needed.
Luckily at 10 the choir started. It was absolutely beautiful. The Basilica is modeled after St. Peter's in Rome (a smaller version anyway). This coupled with the trumpets, violins, organ, tympani and angelic voices from above were breathtaking. It was even noted in the program that the Church encouraged churchgoers to applaud at the end (those who are Catholic know that this is sometimes a sticky subject).
The Choir did a rendition of Vivaldi's Gloria - it was amazing. If you shut your eyes you felt taken away.
Father Michael led the service. It was very nice. My dad was impressed at the clarity of the message. Fr. Michael is a little, well a lot overweight and was sweating heavily throughout the service. He is a good priest and I hope he takes up weight management for his new year's resolution as we've already lost a great priest due to health (he was also so large he could barely finish a service) reasons.
The cute little Deacon kept getting confused. I'm afraid he's suffering from something old-age related. He tried very hard and again it will be sad for the parish to possibly lose him too. There was a younger priest aiding service and he rocked! I think he may be Father Alejandro, but I'm not sure. My dad also really liked his delivery of messages.
There were a couple times that I looked over at my dad and he was making cringing faces. I kept thinking, "hold it, hold it." As I didn't want the nice lady sitting next to him to receive the wrath of kapusta fart...
Then I would look to my left and sometimes wonder if George was praying or sleeping.
No matter I loved the music, the incense, the decoration and the message.
The service didn't end until 12:30 a.m.
My dad let some big ones escape on the way to the car. Neither of them will contemplate going to church again until Easter, a wedding, funeral, or baptism which ever happens sooner.
I'll continue going as I need, sitting on the left side of the church and praying for anyone who asks. Merry Christmas.