Yesterday at 3:45 I went to confession at St. Bernard’s Parish at St. Camillus Church in Fitchburg as I have for the last 8 weeks. What was different was that instead of a few people waiting for confession, the church was ope proper with people in pews preparing for the 4:15 Saturday vigil mass which hasn’t been celebrated publicly since the 3rd week of Lent.
It was very different in some ways, there was police tape taping off every other pew and in the long pews there was tape on them marking off three spots, each end and the middle, so people knew to space out. There was also tape on the center aisle marking off 6 foot distances for communion. There was no collection, simply baskets at the entrances to put envelopes in, no missiles in the pews and the “sign of peace” was skipped (although some folks noting this turned and waved).
And of course there were the masks, everyone had masks. It was like a bank robbers convention.
But when it comes down to it, the liturgy the homily , the consecration and the Eucharist was that of the Holy Mass.
It wasn’t anything near a full church. There are many who generally attend the three Sunday masses (2 morning one afternoon) that returned today. I’m sure those who were ill stayed away, I didn’t see some of the older members of the parish, who would most risk, I’m sure a few more didn’t want to take any risks and of course given that the lifting of the obligation for Catholics in our diocese to attend weekly mass is still lifted, I’m sure a more than a few decided to take advantage of a lovely day.
I suspect every week the numbers will grow and as I heard the congregation led by our pastor finish with the Prayer of St. Michael and felt the power of that prayer declared publicly by dozens of Christian throats eager to glorify God it’s clear that no matter what the numbers the Mass IS back and Hell will tremble because of it.