Sunday, May 07, 2006

Watching the mill burn down

I just came back from a huge fire.

About 90 minutes ago, I walked out of our bingo -- it hadn't started yet, I was just checking things out -- when I saw a huge column of smoke from a couple blocks away. Well, I walked over to toward the fire; it wasn't far away, down by the river. But, oh, what a huge fire!

Folks were all walking over to see it, and getting pretty close, which I tried to do, until I saw the ash coming down, and then felt a serious spray of water, too. It was the flaming embers that really convinced me. They convinced some folks with cars parked there, too. Although other folks' cars were there the whole time, and I felt bad for them -- that can't be good for the finish!

Well, we watched the fire; I saw several of my parishioners come by, and we commented on how high the fire was reaching, and whether nearby buildings would catch; we watched the transformer nearby snap, crackle and pop--that was exciting!

The mill was a total loss, it was nothing but a smoldering hulk when I left; the fire fighters were pouring water on two nearby buildings -- one of which I'm told has stood empty for awhile and not many would be sorry to see burn down.

Well, that caps off a busy day: at 10, our 2nd graders received the Eucharist for the first time, and that was, as you can imagine, a family extravanga. Double our usual number, and lots of proud parents and grandparents taking pictures. (Homily is below.) Then had Mass immediately following, which didn't start on time; actually, that was my fault, because in years past, we simply pushed back the next Mass' start time; but I forgot to fix that in the bulletin. So we just started Mass as soon as we could. After all that, it felt like I'd had one, big, 3-hour Mass! The candles, of course, never got put out, and many of them expired before Mass ended. The cups in a couple of the candlesticks are a little loose, so I use a little paper to hold the candles snug. But when a candle burns down too far, that paper catches and whoosh! Well, that happened during the preface--I'm singing the prayer, and here comes a parishioner up to the altar! I thought, well, Craig's a level-headed fellow--whatever he's here to do, he'll take care of. And he did. A couple folks thought that added a nice touch to the Mass.

Well, after that double-Mass, I took a little siesta, and then stopped at a First Communion party, then bingo, and then the fire! Now, I'm back home for good.


Ellen said...

Sounds like you had another "quiet" Sunday! I hope no one was hurt in the fire.

My parish has First Communion today too. We attended another mass to free up space for their families and friends. I enjoyed reading your homily.

DP said...

We had First Communion today too!!! :-) It seems like there were a lot of parishes with First Communion today. It was such an incredible blessing to be at First Communion with the children I'd helped prepare for the sacrament. They've taught me much more this past year than I've taught them I think.

Anonymous said...

My parish had some first communions today as well, although it must have been a different Mass than the one I attended. We did have some "laity at the altar" excitment though, as the elderly priest skipped right from the Sanctus to the Agnus Dei. Um, we have a problem here! But one of the lectors went over and whispered to Father, who started again at the right place, and the rest of the Mass followed smoothly.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Field Marshall:

It wasn't a mill any longer, but a retail store for animal feed, corn stoves etc. The owner of the business says he plans to rebuild; in the meantime, he'll operate his business out of his home.

No one was injured in the fire, thank heaven, but the building is a total loss. It's still smoldering, two days later.

Ellen said...

Glad to hear that no one was hurt. Things can be easily replaced. People can't. I hope the business owner can work things out.