From the Pastor: My First Christmas at Epiphany
How was your Christmas? I hope and pray that everything went well, that you started with a Holy Mass, that your family gathering was wonderful, that the gifts you gave were appreciated by the recipient and gifts received were of the “Just what I always wanted!” kind. You probably expect that mine was that kind of Christmas, too, but things don’t often seem to work that way for me. So, even though I have to write this during the last week of Advent in order to get it to you the weekend after Christmas, here is my rendition of what happened my first Christmas at Epiphany.
Everything started out normal enough. Fr. Dorvil celebrated the Christmas Eve Mass, all the priests ate a nice meal together and Fr. Peter celebrated the Vietnamese Mass. Finally, I went to the church to celebrate Midnight Mass (at Midnight!) and everything was well with the world. Until “they” showed up, that is.
Suddenly, outside the church headlights were beaming, tires were squealing, car doors were slamming, and the noise of dozens of boots on the ground and unintelligible barked orders competed with our choir’s glorious chanting of the Credo. The church doors cracked open and a remote controlled military looking drone/robot came gliding in and proceeded down the center aisle, its camera swiveling back and forth scoping out the congregation. Whoever was on the other end of the camera viewfinder very briefly saw several dozen men leap from their pews before the camera went dead. The men of the Traditional Latin Mass, true men that they are and thinking this thing might be some sort of a terrorist bomb, immediately subdued it, ripped it to pieces to render it incapable of detonation, and immediately took up defensive positions around the women, children and sanctuary. At least half of the congregation has concealed weapon carry permits, so plenty of guns were drawn and at the ready.
One group of ex-Marines (they hate the use of “ex” though!) took the fight directly outside to the militants, ready to sacrifice themselves for the good of the rest. The women, during all of this, simply kept kneeling in silent Adoration, praying their rosaries or following in their missals and having a calm that showed their complete trust in God and the Blessed Mother. Serenity like they possessed comes only from choosing husbands wisely and raising boys properly, and they had, by and large, done both. All these actions were done with such precision and confidence that not even the children were upset and not a single infant cried in fear. It wasn’t long before the marines reappeared, bringing with them dozens of police officers and swat team members, who then joined them for the remainder of the Mass.
Neither I nor the altar boys had realized any of this was happening, so engrossed in the Mass were we, and it wasn’t until much later when we saw the uniformed men at the Communion rail (most men who serve are Catholic, of course!) that we knew something was up. After Mass we got the rest of the story. It seems that we had a first-time visitor at Mass. Seeing men wearing suits and women in dresses shocked him. He thought he had entered an evangelical church by mistake. Then when all of the altar servers were male, he began to get suspicious that something nefarious was going on. When no women got up to read or lead the responsorial psalms, conspiracy theories jostled together in his brain. Seeing me stand “with my back to the people” and chanting Latin prayers, he finally put two and two together and called 911, for he realized that he was surrounded by a group of people he had often heard denounced by his Catholic friends, family and even his priest as evil people worse than any terrorist organization on the face of the planet: the dreaded Traditional Latin Mass Monsters! Fortunately for everyone involved, by the time the swat team got here he had already had a “conversion,” so beautiful and spiritually moving was the Mass, that he had reported his mistake to the 911 operator and about the same time the police robot was dismantled inside, everybody outside was being informed that we were just faithful Catholics attending a glorious Midnight Mass. Calm heads prevailed and a Silent Night, Holy Night, was had by all.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka