Saturday, October 31, 2009

Where is Father?

We had no priest for morning Mass yesterday. It's normal for Fr. Dave to fly in at the last minute, but by ten after seven, it was clear that he would not be coming. The silence in the church was heavy, not sweet, perhaps because there was an underlying sense of worry. Was he sick? Hurt? Hasn't the news been full of stories of priests who didn't show up for Mass only to be found (dead) afterward? I can't believe I actually let that ugly thought out of my head and onto this computer! Never have I prayed for Fr. Dave so much as I did on that Friday morning in church! My prayers were answered in the sweetest way, as Fr. Dave was not dead, he simply failed the check the Mass schedule upon his return from retreat. Thankfully, Sr. Doris was there to lead us all in a prayer service.

Communion Service

Discomfort filled my soul
as I stood at the Ambo,
Lectionary in front of me,
page turned to the Gospel.

"Read it," she had said.

"How can I read these words,
that belong to the priest?"
I wondered.

I scanned the faces in the pews,
look of hunger for God's word
lay heavily upon each.

Two smiling little faces in the front pew
gleamed with pride for their mother.

"They shouldn't be smiling," I thought.

I swallowed my worry
and proclaimed His words.

At the end of the communion service
I prayed that we would never be without
a priest again.

"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the field." Lk 10:2


  1. Anne,
    This has happened once or twice in my own parish. It always makes me appreciate that we are blessed to have 3 priests and another retired priest who helps out on Mon. and Fri. I try to remember there are parishes lucky if they have even one priest let alone 3 or 4! I also think and pray for those places where they have to wait months for a priest to come for Mass or confession.
    I think this is God's way of every once in awhile saying, "Don't take Me or my priests for granted."
    Glad Sr. Doris was there so you could at least have the Communion service.

  2. Anne, I love, love, love, the way you write. So beautiful. I love the way you mix prose and poetry. At the end of this post my heart sighed and my mouth said, "Wow". So very true. Without our priests there is no Eucharist. That's why the devil attacks them so hard. Thank you for the reminder!

  3. I'm confused...does your Mass schedule CHANGE?
    Why would your own priest need to check it?

    Anyway, glad dear Father Dave is still with us, ha ha...

    And I agree with Michelle, my dear friend, are TRULY A GIFTED WRITER who inspires, uplifts, and delights my soul daily!

  4. Thank you all for your sweet comments! Poor Fr. Dave, I don't mean to make him look bad for forgetting the schedule. We have 2 priests at our parish, and several that help out on occasion. I think he must have thought that someone else was scheduled for Mass that day as he was just coming back from his retreat. He is normally more than dependable, filling in for others at the last minute and making it to church in the most inclement weather. He sees to is that his parishioners are never left without our Mass. That's why it was such a worry when he wasn't there.

    Our poor priests have so much to worry about and keep track of don't they?

  5. It make one think! What would we do without our saintly priests?!!

  6. Following Karinann's thought... I haven't had access to the Sacrament of Reconciliation since early September. Father comes to offer Mass and that's it... You are so blessed... Please pray for all those communities that do not have access to a Priest for Mass or Reconciliation - and for more Priests! God bless you.

  7. I don't blame you for the worry of it though. This post just reminds me how much and how often we ought to pray for our priest's safety anyway. I know I neglect this.

  8. +JMJ+

    I experienced something similar, when I lived in a parish that had only two priests. After one priest had a stroke, the 10:00 am daily Mass became a Eucharistic service (I think that's it's real name) led by an Extraordinary Minister. It was very reverent and faith-filled, but it was not the same at all.

    So when I hear a non-Catholic say that Catholics just put priests in between God and individual Christians, I know that he has the wrong idea: without Father there, I didn't feel closer to God, but further away and even isolated.