In the right place at the right time

We spent Saturday night at my in-laws’ house on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and we were eager to get across the Bay Bridge on Sunday. Visiting them during the summer is tricky because we try to avoid getting caught in the weekend beach traffic.

I wasn’t too worried about finding a Mass time for Sunday, because there are so many parishes between their home and ours. I found one near Annapolis that had an 11:30 a.m. Sunday Mass listed on its website. I just failed to notice the large, bold, red lettering explaining that there were different Mass times during the summer.

We arrived at the church to a full parking lot, which didn’t make sense when we were so early for Mass. My husband went to the website, saw the red lettering right away—sigh—and we realized we were going to be making a back-up plan.

No problem, I thought. There are so many Catholic churches between Annapolis and Baltimore. We were bound to find one that had a noon Mass—and it was just past 11.

Even with my husband’s exceptional search skills on the phone, though, coupled with our knowledge of area parishes, we couldn’t find one that fit the time frame.

So, we gave up and drove home, trusting we could go to one of the Sunday evening Masses in our area. And shortly after 5 p.m., we walked into Immaculate Conception in Towson for the 5:30 Mass.

Right away, we spotted a priest we knew who had been at our parish not long ago. He saw us and came over to greet us. It was so good to connect with him and feel welcome in a less-familiar church.

As Father walked away to get ready for Mass, I glanced up at the stained-glass window next to us and smiled. It was a depiction of the Ascension of our Lord, the feast we were celebrating during Sunday Mass.

Of course it was. It all made sense.

This wasn’t a mistake. We weren’t attending Mass in some random parish that just happened to fit our travel schedule.

We were exactly where we were supposed to be.

It was a great reminder for me, especially as I am trying to plan out the last few weeks of the school year and even the summer break.

I can and should make my plans, but I also need to trust and know that God may lead us to unexpected places and people who will give us just what we need when we need it.

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.