When I arrived at St. John's parish to stay for several days, I offered the pastor to take a Mass if that would be helpful. He asked me if I would take the early Mass--6:30 am--this morning. Of course I was glad to do it.
Unfortunately for the parochial vicar, I didn't know how to open the church, so he had to get up early to do that for me; additionally, the good vicar had everything set up for me when I arrived around 6:15 am. He also clued me in on a few things particular to the parish: "we sing the Regina Coeli before Mass, and pray the St. Michael prayer at the conclusion. The server was an adult, who was also the extraordinary minister. OK, so off we go.
I wasn't going to give any sort of homily, but I realized that folks were probably confused about whether it was Ascension or not--so I addressed that and gave a brief homily on the Lord's Presence in the Mass, especially in the Eucharist: "this is as good as it gets, until we are with him in Glory; but that is eternity and he still has work for us to do in time."
The server was confused about when to ring the bells at the epiclesis--he explained later the priests here never use anything but the Roman Canon. Impressive! (I had used the second prayer because of the time of the Mass and my attempt to keep the Mass to a half-hour for the benefit of those on their way to work.)
After Mass, some of the parishioners came to say hello, and invited me for coffee; so we had a nice discussion, which included the reader, who is getting married soon; a gentleman who told a little about his work with the late Chuck Colson; and a retired baker who, with his bride, will soon celebrate 70 years of marriage!
It was a great start on the day. Let's see what comes!