April 12, 2013
Filed In: Faith
I travel a lot for work. While exploring new towns, I like to find the local Catholic Church while on the road. I can't go far in any direction without seeing a parish.
One of the cool things about Catholicism is that we are Universal. The Mass is the same in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Cedar Rapids.
Alison recently had to take a test in Pennsylvania. We made the 12-hour drive, and I was exhausted. The morning of the test was foggy, and I was looking forward to going back to the hotel and taking a nap after dropping her off. However, as I pulled out of the parking lot, halfway down the block was a Catholic Church. It was just after 7:00 am, and I thought there might be Morning Mass.
I parked and went inside. With Mass at 8:00 am, I grabbed my rosary and picked a pew. For 35 minutes, the Church was empty except for the parish priest. We sat there, praying.
By the time Mass had started, the attendance had swelled to 7. I was the youngest person there, and I was also sitting closest to the front. So it was essentially a test to determine how well I knew the new translation.
There was something extraordinary about that Mass. First, of course, I felt cared for as a traveler. I was far from home but had a place here where I was welcome to come and rest.
The Church was beautiful. Although 60 years old, it was an ornately decorated Sanctuary. The setting was quiet and serene. There's a depth of prayer that comes from that setting. There's a feeling that the Church is genuinely there to serve the individual and the community.
I was grateful to make one of the two daily Masses scheduled that week. I was also thankful to have the opportunity to intercede for Alison while she took an exam no more than 300 yards away. My thanks to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for taking care of a traveling pilgrim.