The Palm Sunday where feminine products rained from the sky

Apparently there are people who think “church is boring”.  That is never my problem.  Ever.  I have too many little kids.  I would LOVE it if church was actually boring; I could sit still, pay attention, maybe even learn something.  Instead, it’s chaos.  Always chaos.

Today is Palm Sunday.  The Catholic online world began steeling itself for Palm Sunday several days ago.  They hand out blessed palms at the beginning of Mass on Palm Sunday.  No child has ever not used these as weapons.  And so Palm Sunday is especially challenging for parents.

The town our parish is in has Easter break this week (our Easter break isn’t until next week) so there was no religious ed. before Mass.  That worked out perfectly as I planned on being a few minutes late to avoid getting palms until after church (I know, I know.  I do what I have to, to survive).  Unfortunately, we ended up being more than a moment or two late.  It was one of those mornings where both Leo and I were running around screaming things like “WHERE ARE THE BABY’S SHOES?” and “YOU MUST WEAR A SHIRT” (directed at a child.  Not Leo)

So we roll in right as the first reading starts.  The pews are full.  The kids are delighted that we have to sit in the balcony.  I hate the balcony.  There isn’t the public pressure to behave like you’d get in a normal pew.  The 3 year old thinks you can run around and the acoustics are such that it has a drum-like effect, amplifying every step.  The balcony is stressful.  But it was our only option.

So, I’m sitting in the balcony, 20 month old son on my lap.  The Palm Sunday Gospel is a participatory one so I have an open missal on my lap and I’m trying to follow along and keep the baby somewhat happy.  So I wasn’t really paying attention.  Something yellow flew passed my face.  It landed somewhere on the people below.

“What was that?” my husband asked.  “It was yellow.”

“I don’t know.”

We looked at each other.

Then I realized what it was.

Yellow.  About 3″ x 4″.  Lightweight.  “60% more absorbent.” “With wings”

That was an Always Regular that flew over the balcony.

I looked down.  The head usher was directly below us.  Everyone was at the most solemn part of one of the most solemn Masses of the year. “Let Him be crucified!” everyone read.  I turned bright red.  Stifled a laugh.  Leo was trying hard to keep it together.  The usher guy had been hit in the head with a maxi pad during the gospel.

Luckily I was too busy keeping kids in order to really be as embarrassed as I should be.  I found the pad, well under the balcony so I know there’s no way it fell there, on the same table with the blessed palms.  I grabbed it as surreptitiously as I could.  And tried to comport myself like I knew nothing about it.

And thus ends another non-boring Mass.  I can only hope Easter is closer to boring.

you’ll never guess who I heard from at church this morning

The bigger kids do religious ed. before church.  There is a Catholic church nearer to us, but the only Mass time is 7:30pm Saturday (past two kids’ bedtimes) and, uh, those two very same kids are the ones who have the most behavior issues during Mass.  I’m no fool; that would never work.  So it’s off to the other church, 25 minutes south of us, every Sunday.  It’s too far to go back home after dropping them off at class.  I spend a little time goofing off in the rectory, checking my phone and chatting.  Then I make my way over to the church.

So far, I’ve always been the only person there a full hour early for Mass.  The building is unlocked, the candles lit, the lights are on so someone must have been there first but I’ve never seen them.  I’m very cautious about where we sit during the actual Mass.  You can tell from the personal objects in the pews (reading glasses, missals, rosaries, kleenex) that people have staked out their pews and I don’t want to mess that up.  I’ve chosen a pew near the back for us, one with a support columns right in the middle which, I assume, makes it undesirable and not likely to be someone else’s.  The church is old enough that there could even be people who have sat in the same pews all their lives, or maybe their family has sat there for multiple generations.  Hopefully no one has inherited the inconvenient column pew as their family legacy.

But in the early morning I sit up front, so as less to look like a suspicious ne’er do well.  I figured I had a lot to pray about and the total silence of the early morning church was easier on my gnat-like attention span.

Lord, help me to find my path in this place.  Help me to figure out what it is I’m supposed to do.  More than anything, please let me hear your words.

Then, out of nowhere, I heard a very loud man’s voice: “TESTING, TESTING. 123. CAN YOU HEAR ME?

I simultaneously jumped out of my skin, had a heart attack, and passed out.

Instead of being told next to go to Ninevah or free the Jews or sacrifice my first born, I got silence.  Then the sacristy door popped opened and an older man walked out.  “We’ve just got a new microphone this morning, could you hear it?”

“uuuhhhhh. uuuuuuummmm. Yeah”

Despite so carefully choosing a “respectable” pew position, I think I still came off as totally suspicious because of my stammering.  I bet I was white as a sheet and stunned looking too.  Probably one of those heroin addicts Vermont is supposed to be full of.

After getting the microphone sorted out, he came out and sat.  Other’s showed up and started saying the rosary.  He led, slowly and carefully saying each word.  A woman behind me responded.  I assume she must be an auctioneer of some sort as I simply could not keep up with her. “holyMarymotherofGodprayforussinnersnowandatthehourofourdeath”  It reminded me of the rosary CD from the Mary Foundation, where the lady announcing the third set of mysteries sounds exactly like Huckleberry Hound.  She throws me off each and every time, even though I know it’s coming.  Clearly, I have ADD-type issues with group prayer.

The rest of the morning went on without incident, except that the priest ran out of Eucharist during communion, his count was probably thrown off by having a new family.  One other little boy and Owen were left in line while he went back to the alter for more.  But everything was normal and I’ve managed not to hear disembodied voices for a couple hours now.