Friday proved to be an interesting...
Let me first back up: several weeks back, I told Father Hess, chaplain at Lehman High School, I'd be happy to offer Mass on a periodic Friday with the students, as before. One of those assigned Fridays was yesterday.
Then, on Monday, I got a call from a local funeral home; we arranged for a funeral...on Friday.
I was away from the office, on my day off, when I took the call.
Come Thursday, it dawns on me--around 2 pm--that I had a Mass at Lehman at 10 am, and a funeral, back in Piqua, 13 miles away--at 11 am.
Add to that, the retired priest who lives with me is ill. I was counting on him for the 8:45 am Mass.
I was at a convocation Thursday with the Archbishop and the priests of the archdiocese, no ability to make phones calls. The retired priest made some calls to retired priests...no luck.
I made calls, asked some of the priests at the convocation...they were all tied up (as I expected).
The retired priest felt up to taking the 8:45 am Mass. While he got ready for that, I got things ready for the funeral, as I would be racing back from Lehman and might not arrive back in a very timely basis.
I advised the principal at Lehman, when I arrived, of the situation; thankfully, this wasn't their first experience with this, so with a P.A. announcement, all the students were in their places (with bright, shiny faces), and we started Mass right at 10 am.
My homily was, almost exactly as follows:
No homily today, I'm sorry. I have a funeral at 11 am. This is why we ask you to pray for more priests. Men: step up and answer the call.
I don't believe we rushed, but we omitted the petitions (which are optional) and a post-communion song. When the servers and I got to the hallway, I took off my vestments and, still wearing my alb, hurried to my car and drove back to St. Mary's with 15 minutes to get ready for the funeral. That went well.
The rest of the day was the usual busy-ness.
Meanwhile, today, I was on the phone arranging--at the last minute--for a priest to cover a Mass tomorrow, in case the retired priest with me doesn't feel better; and another priest to cover his confessions this afternoon. I have Mass, at the other parish, when those confessions are scheduled. Our backup plan was a sign on the confessional.
When your pastor says he has to make changes in the Mass schedule, this is why. It's not because he hates offering Mass. It's because he knows how easily things like this can happen. (And thank heaven I didn't get caught speeding, or have a breakdown, racing down I-75.)
Oh, and did I mention? I'm coming down with a cold.
I hope my voice holds up, I have four Masses this weekend, plus two celebrations parishioners are hoping I will attend; I am marrying a couple at the evening Mass tonight, and receiving someone into the church on Sunday. My off day is Monday, but I have two talks to give, one of which I still have to write.