Thursday, August 4, 2011

Celebrating Longevity and Faithfulness

"The Mass is the most important work of the day."
Servant of God, Dorothy Day

Last weekend my family and I were invited to dinner at the house of some friends of ours from church. They had also invited our former associate pastor who had been reassigned to another parish last month. Someone was asking Fr. Dennis what he most missed about St. Matthias Parish and he responded with two things: he missed the weekly all-school Mass where he had the opportunity to teach the Catholic faith to the children and he missed all of the beautiful people who attend daily Mass. As a daily Mass attendee, the second part of his answer touched me deeply.

I have never in my life met so many wonderful, thoughtful and kind people as those who attend the daily 7 AM Mass. From those who commit themselves to help at Mass as altar servers and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist and lectors to those who fill the pews day by day with their physical presence and fill the church with their prayers, the daily Mass crowd is a group of loving and lovable people. It's a rare day when I don't leave church without a hug or a compliment from one of the sweet grandmotherly types who frequent the Mass or find a little gift (usually some type of food treat for my family) waiting for me in my pew when I arrive.

Today happened to be a very special day and Fr. Dan announced at the beginning of Mass that not only were we celebrating the Feast of St. John Vianney, but we were also celebrating the birthday of one of the daily Mass attendees. Charlotte was rejoicing in 97 years on this earth and everyone at Mass was filled with anticipation for this day. A card had been circulating before and after Mass for the past week so that every one could wish her well on her special day and after Mass Sister Doris played Happy Birthday with a verse of "May the Dear Lord Bless You" added to the end. Everyone sang with joy for the woman who has graced us with her loving and prayerful presence for so many years. Then some members of the parish staff arrived with donuts in the outer hallway for a celebratory treat. Sweet Charlotte is a daily Mass celebrity!

A Prayer for the Daily Mass Crowd

My Jesus, as I sit with my children in the back pew of the church, I look upon all of my fellow churchgoers. Although they are much older than me and my family,they seem to have a youthful spirit about themselves. Their bodies may be feeling the aches and pains of old age, but their eyes betray their bodies. For in their eyes a sparkle exists that spreads into a smile covering their entire faces. Those sparkling eyes speak of knowledge and wisdom and maturity which only comes from endurance through trials and challenges. The men and women at daily Mass represent faithfulness and constancy in all circumstances. No matter what happens in their lives,they keep coming back to God. Their wisdom and love attract me and open a desire in my heart to follow in their paths.

We are one as we kneel and pray. We are one as we silently adore the uplifted Host. We are one as we wave to each another in a gesture of peace. Although I am many years their junior, they accept me and fold me into their circle of friendship. Some share their life stories with me. Others share gifts for my children. Some, whose names I don’t know,simply share this daily time of prayer with me. That is more than enough. Lord, I pray for these men and women because I love them so and I love how much they love you. Amen.

"Put all the good works in the world against one Holy Mass; They will be as a grain of sand beside a mountain"
Saint John Vianney

St. John Vianney, pray for us!

(the prayer is a re-post from the archives in honor of Charlotte and in admiration of the wonderful example she sets in her faithfulness in prayer.)


  1. Incredible! 97 years old! Can you imagine how many Masses she must have attended in her life time? She'll fly straight to heaven when the time comes :)

    Your parish sounds wonderful, Anne!

  2. Thank you so much for this beautiful post! I also can't imagine 97 years-what a blessing?

  3. This was lovely, Anne. Being a 7AM groupie, I know exactly what you mean:) Your group sounds extra special though. I'm printing out your prayer as I hadn't seen that one! What a blessing:)

  4. Your parish does sound wonderful. I wish more were like that!

    God Bless you, and Charlotte!

  5. Beautiful post I was just saying to my hubby this morning about how extra special daily Masses are - the small close community feeling.