When I found out that our staff retreat on Friday would be at St. Mary’s Seminary, I was excited. But I wasn’t sure how much of the seminary I would get to see.
“Maybe you can go to Mass there,” my mother said.
With a packed agenda for the day—and knowing that the usual work emails would keep coming in even during our retreat—that seemed extremely unlikely. But I underestimated the day.
After our morning of meetings, I suddenly found myself with about 20 free minutes. It seemed too good to be true, but I jumped at the chance to experience more of the seminary.
And I knew where I wanted to go: to the chapel. I remembered one other visit to the seminary for a Latin Mass when I was a child—I must have been 8 or 9—and I wanted to see whether it looked the way I remembered it.
I followed signs through the hallways, passing statues and paintings along the way.
I had no trouble finding the chapel, and I was surprised that it looked so similar to the chapel in my memories. But there was plenty that was new to me.
It turned out that Mass was underway, and I arrived at the end of the Gospel. There were eight priests on the altar and about 50 people in the congregation. It took only a few minutes for me to realize that I was one of very few people there without a Roman collar, and the only woman in the room.
I slipped out once to make sure I wasn’t shirking my work responsibilities and found my colleagues were leisurely heading to lunch. I figured that gave me enough time to go back for the consecration—so I did. I was even able to receive Communion and stay for the end of Mass.
Daily Mass is a luxury I rarely fit into my day, and it was a treat today, especially because I never thought it would be possible. I arrived late to lunch, but my colleagues just smiled and pointed me toward the seafood chowder.
For the rest of the day, even as we were discussing our strategic plan and work priorities and I was writing silly limericks for a make-your-own-commercial project, I found myself holding onto those quiet moments of prayer.
“Rekindle the gift of God within you,” read the words chiseled over the back entrance into the building.
Our retreat was about planning, embracing new initiatives, and looking ahead to the future, and it was inspiring and exhilarating. And those moments of Mass, that time with the Eucharist, were just what I needed as a wife, a mother, and a person looking forward to a meaningful Lenten journey.
My fellow Catholic Review blogger Patti Murphy Dohn of “God Is in the Clouds” is joining me in posting every day this week for the “7 posts in 7 days” challenge hosted by Jen’s Conversion Diary. In her latest post Patti is counting down to St. Patrick’s Day with a prayer from St. Patrick’s breastplate.