The English Mass
Thursday, September 23, 2010
We climbed the steps to the second floor of what used to be a hospital building, then turned left into a room where the English Mass was held. Later in the day, I noticed that the French, Italians, Germans and other Europeans have their masses in the Cathedral, the Grotto, and other places that are larger and feel more like a church. But there are fewer English-speaking pilgrims, hence, a smaller space can be used.
I took a seat a few rows back from the front. Father Brian (pronounced Bree-un) started Mass by acknowledging Padre Pio, and the connection to that familiar (to me) Italian saint helped me to relax.
Fr. Brian’s friendly approach built community throughout the Mass, at various times telling jokes, having us introduce ourselves, and asking where everyone was from.
I was surprised to find that there were only a handful of us from the U.S. Actually, I didn’t see any other hands raised (besides mine), though there must have been at least one other. Lots of folks from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales as well as Singapore, Malasia and India. I saw the nurses we met at the café the night before, who had recommended the Day Pilgrimage to me.
There were three other priests at that mass: one from India, one from Malaysia, and…I forget where the other was from. They briefly introduced themselves and had various roles leading the Mass. None of the hymns were familiar to me, but everyone else seemed to know them.
The best part: When I left, there was a written schedule of options for the day. I love that!