I had the RARE pleasure of going on "vacation" last month. Vacation being 4 days at the beach, but it was (literally) the nicest four days of my life. The weather was perfect, the place was perfect, the kids were perfect... Absolutely amazing that it all worked out. Made all the sweeter by the fact that we had not had a break AT ALL in about four years. Every waking moment of every day since August of 2004 was either at work or taking care of the kids/house. My wife and I hired a babysitter once to go to the MEF Mass at Our Lady of Grace (3 hours), and once for dinner (3 hours).
From Friday morning until the following Wednesday morning, I didn't read the paper, or see or hear the news at all. A self-imposed news blackout which made for a blessedly peaceful weekend. Call it blissful ignorance if you'd like, but it worked.
In spite of all of the stress and economic doomsaying that has happened since, it hasn't gotten me down like it did before. I watch with interest and fascination, but with no personal anxiety whatsoever. Amazing what the human brain can cope with once you give it a chance to recover !!!
Mass was fascinating, though! As you see, I don't travel much and rarely if ever get to see mass outside of my home church and the aforementioned OLG. So Saturday evening, my wife, mother-in-law, myself, and the powerpuff girls attended a "bi-lingual" mass, at Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel. Needless to say "bi-lingual" meant it was nearly all in Spanish, but with an obviously non-spanish speaking priest, there were some oddities. The opening prayer was in English, but virtually everything else was in Spanish save for a few words here and there. The Gospel was read in Spanish, by a nun. Something I had never seen before. The homlily was in English, but interpreted real-time. The eucharistic prayer was English, but everything else from that point on was spanish, and led either by the same nun or another lay person.
All that said, the mass was WONDERFUL. There were altar boys, reverent and precise. And even all of the lay participants were reverent, precise and well practiced. The congregation was so young, so passionate and reverent and there were kids EVERYWHERE. I was more comfortable there than at my home church. The ushers gave out a very detailed spanish-english handout of all of the prayers and hymns, in order, which was very easy to follow. Allowing me to sing and pray along in spanish* with no trouble at all, though I know little spanish beyond what one hears on Dora the Explorer.
I want to go back....
* At the risk of sounding conceited, I have a gift of being able, with very little practice, to pronounce a foreign language for the most part as a native speaker. Naturally, "sight reading" in a foreign language has its limitations, but for the purpose of participating in mass, it works great.