I could spend a very long time listing all the good things I’ve seen priests doing — Father E.* stories are practically a genre for me. But my husband asked me to tell one that happened to him recently, and I wasn’t there which is why it all happened in the first place, so forgive the lapses that come from second-hand reporting.
The background is this: My family is divided 50/50 between choir members and pewsitters. Thus, normally at Mass the little ones and I sit down with the plebeians. Recently, however, my youngest had to be dragged up to the choir loft and stuffed in a corner, because 2/3rds of the pewfolk were going to absent that particular Mass.
Something else to know is that for various reasons, at any given Mass a significant fraction of the choir never leaves the loft. Those who are receiving Communion slip down quietly at the appointed time, but there’s no break in the music or other signal. The people who know to go just go. Like magic.
So my nine-year-old sits up in her spot out of the way, essentially forgotten because no one’s used to having to remember she’s there, and choirfolk have a lot on their mind mid-Mass. She completely misses the cue that she should descend to receive, and next thing you know the elder members of the family are already coming back up contentedly Jesus-filled, and Communion is over and she’s missed her chance.
When this comes to her attention, she does the same thing any other sensible person who’d just missed an appointment with God would do: She wept.
My husband figures out what happened, and so right after Mass he takes the little one downstairs, tracks down an extraordinary minister, and asks if it would be possible for our girl to receive Communion a few minutes late.
The man says yes, and they go forward towards the tabernacle.
While they are in the midst of this, Father S.**, who may have another initial on this blog but I can’t think of it right now, crosses their path. He’s apprised of the situation. So he does the thing that you knew was going to happen, because this is one of the bazillion times priests do exactly what their parishioners need, he gives her communion himself.
Were I keen on spinning this I could add all sorts of dramatic conjecture and turn this into a homily-worthy tearjerker. But all that I know for certain is that there’s this priest who did something very good for my daughter.
Artwork: “Charles Borromeo gives the holy communion to Aloysius Gonzaga.” Red velvet tapestry, embroidered in gold (19th century), in Saint Charles’ chapel in the church of San Carlo al Corso church in Milan. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto, June 22 2007. (Self-published work by G.dallorto), via Wikimedia Commons
*E is for Excellent.
**S. is for Straightforward.