Devon Wattam Ink Slingers Spiritual Growth

Home Is Where the Church Is

We are moving…again. This is my husband’s and my third cross-country move in six years as a married couple, fourth if you count me moving in once we were married, and our first with kids. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in temporary military housing on a base in the Keys as we wait for our new house to be ready in a few weeks. After being on the road for a month, taking our time to visit with friends and family along the way, it feels good to be at our final destination, and a beautiful one at that. But I’d be lying if I said I love the transition from one “home” to the next. 

Having to find new grocery stores and doctors’ offices, favorite breakfast spots and parks, making new friends and play groups is not something I particularly enjoy, especially with the memory of all the familiar places, faces, and routines still fresh in my brain from our last home. 

The transition process is exciting, but disorienting; necessary, but isolating. And each time we experience it, I spend a lot of time doing some inward reflection. Where does my stability come from? Where can I find peace when all things familiar are suddenly gone? Where is HOME? 

The answer is always the same. Home is where the Church is.

We went to Mass at our new parish the first Sunday after we moved here and I was taken aback by the hodgepodge of people who filled the charming basilica. Tourists and locals, children and elderly, people of all different ethnicities and social status—the church was completely packed. It was uplifting to witness a full melting pot of people from so many different walks of life joining together to sing and worship in humble adoration for an hour. 

I was reminded of James Joyce who wrote that Catholicism means “here comes everybody!” It was obvious that the church was home to all of us, even those who had never been there before. 

Eventually, my family and I will replace all of our old steadfast staples with new ones. I’ll get to know the hairdresser here as much as my last one, our new neighbors will fill the void that our previous ones left behind, and comfortable routines will be established. In a year’s time, we’ll feel as content here as we did in any of the other locations we’ve lived in the past. 

Time has a funny way of making the foreign become the familiar, but the truth is familiarity isn’t what brings us peace. Only Christ can do that.

When I’m lonely or tired, homesick or overwhelmed by so many changes, I know exactly where to go to find consolation: the Church. There Christ will be waiting for me in the tabernacle, just as He was in California and Virginia and everywhere else before those places. 

Our last stop before we got into Florida was to the Gulf Coast to visit family. On our last day there, we had breakfast at a diner. I met two older gentlemen there who asked where we were headed. “Key West!?” they said. “Well, y’all have a good time, but don’t forget where home is.” 

Trust me, I won’t.


Faith Formation Ink Slingers Kerri Mass

It Is Right and Just: Mass Changes One Year Later

It has been almost one full year since the new translation of the Mass has been implemented in the Roman Rite. Can you believe it has been almost a year already?? I certainly can’t.

A little over a year ago I wrote a post about change in our every day lives. In that post I discussed how change can be wonderful, difficult, joyful, stressful, and so much more. We can experience all those emotions individually or simultaneously. But in the end, change is often a good thing, even if we don’t recognize it as good at first.

A year later I’m now pleased to report that my boys are now well on their way to being 18 months old, they are doing great, and we are still slowly learning this parenting thing.

What a difference a year makes!

The “new catalog rules” at work that I mentioned last year are nearing their time of implementation. I was at a conference recently where other librarians were stressing about these upcoming changes and I found myself rather calm about them. I like that feeling.

The construction at my parish is basically complete. Sort of (we are now getting a new organ as well).  Last year I mentioned four big projects that we hoped would be completed in time for the Church’s new year, i.e. Advent. I’m pleased to report that our sanctuary was mostly complete in time for the first Sunday of Advent 2011 and we were able to have Mass back in our sanctuary again.

Construction of the new tabernacle and altar

What a great feeling to move into an old space made new and to use the new translation of the Mass for the first time. All at the same time!

Our Bishop praying before Our Lord in the Tabernacle at the dedication earlier this year.
(c) Cindy Olson, 2012

It was an extraordinary feeling to have so many of  my senses engaged at once. My visuals were different because the altar looked different. I had to listen more carefully and be more fully engaged in the liturgy in order to hear what was different and say the parts that were different. The tabernacle itself wasn’t yet installed, but a few months later when it was we all had to get used to genuflecting where we used to bow.

Over the last year all the various construction projects have been completed (and the new organ is being installed now). We now have a brand new baptistery  a beautiful adoration chapel, a new more roomy rectory for our priests, and a stunning tabernacle for our Lord to reside in. And throughout all these changes to our space, we are also getting used to the changes in the translation of the Mass.

I picked up on parts of the new translation easily and others I struggled with. To this day I still catch myself saying “It is right to give Him …”  instead of “It is right and just.” That one gets me almost every time. I struggle some because my children became more difficult during Mass in this past year. Juggling children and trying to keep them from running off and falling into the baptistery means I can’t always have a cheat sheet in front of me. I still stumble over some words here and there, but those new parts of the Mass that are usually sung have been the easiest for me to pick up on. Music is such a wonderful aid!

How about you? Have you internalized the new translation yet? Has it been easier over the last year than you anticipated it would be? Are you still struggling some? I’d love to hear your experiences!