Monday, December 26, 2005

first Christmas as a priest: a diary entry

It was awesome. I celebrated six Masses between Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

Before the first vigil Mass at 4:30pm, the children of the parish presented a dramatization of the birth of Jesus: children forgetting their lines, missing their cues, costume malfunctions: it was great and the assembly liked it.

By the time the skit was finished, and the Mass was to begin, the Church was packed.

Folks were standing along the walls, some couldn't get in, some stood in the vestibule. It was unbelievable. The pastor had warned me that it will be packed---so I got a heads up. But actually seeing all of those people I had never seen in Church before turn up for Mass was amazing.

The pastor at the beginning of Mass just gave a short welcome to the assembly---to those from out of town, to those coming back home for the holidays, and in a way to those who only attend Mass on Christmas day and on Easter.

He adds, "I am pleased to see all of you here at Mass today....Please do come back, we do this every week." Charming.

There were to be three other vigil Masses after this one--presided either by the pastor and the other priest in the parish (Fr. Chips)---so I had to be sure this Mass ends on time before the next crowd for the next Mass start driving into the parking lot.

It ended just on time. As I processed out, a bunch of people decided to head out before I get to the door. But they all stopped at the vestible, because, lo!, there was rain. Yep, it was a rainy weekend here in the bay area.

Some sprinted to their cars, some chose to wait for a family member to head to the car and back with an umbrella, and some *gasp* chose to chat with the priest while waiting for the rain to subside.

Then I celebrated one more vigil Mass at 10pm, which was also packed, but not as much. And then I presided at the Midnight Mass, which I thoroughly liked.

Let me tell you...incense is not used too often at this parish. But I made sure I used it at this Midnight Mass. It's partly all about creating memories especially for the kids, some of whom were at that Midnight Mass. I would have chanted the whole Mass actually if it weren't for the fact I have a bit of the sniffles. I didn't get to bed until 2:30am.

Then I had 3 Masses on Christmas morning. As to be expected the earlier Masses were sparsely attended, though the numbers swelled towards noontime.

Then I drove home to see my parents and all of my siblings and all of my little nephews and nieces. Christmas just isn't Christmas without little kids around in the family. It was a delight to see their faces as they opened their gifts.

Then I went back to the rectory around 10pm. I thought I’d lie on my bed for a few minutes and recall the events of the day before changing for bed, but instead I fell asleep.

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