I visited the website for my old school, which I attended from grades 6-8 after my home parish (and school) of St. Joe's merged with the other Catholic schools in North Tonawanda in 1989. I hadn't been to Ascension in quite some time, though I visited it briefly during Holy Week of last year.
I contacted the new pastor of the parish to praise him for the work that is being done at the parish, and basically just to say hello from a former student. Well, the simple e-mail turned into a nice discussion, and he invited me to attend morning Mass with the school kids, as well as Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament yesterday. I gladly went, and it was the first time I was at Mass in that Church since I went there with my class back in '96. Hard to believe it has been 11 YEARS!
Father already knew that I attend the Tridentine (or Pre-Vatican II) style Mass, and to help make me feel more at home, chanted the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) in Latin. It was a refreshing element after (what I consider) the annoyance of the folk singers and bongo drums that were used for the "hymns" at Mass. It was also nice to hear that Father does often chat various parts of the Mass in Latin.. reminding his parishoners that Latin is still indeed the language of the Church, and our sacred heritage.
He came to greet me immediately after Mass, and gave me a tour of my old stomping grounds, and pointed out the various changes to the building that have been done over the years. He invited me back to the rectory for a cup of tea, and we had a wonderful and LONG talk in his office... which I really did enjoy. We chatted about everything from my love of the "Classical Liturgy" (as we now refer to the Tridentine Liturgy), to my being gay. He is very supportive of my "traditional" prayer style, but certainly follows the Church's mainstream views on homosexuality... which is what I expected. I have to say though, he was never once nasty, and always very kind in the way he spoke to me, and gave his views. He even said, "We don't have to agree to be friends", and that's very true. I re-iterated that we will probably never see eye to eye on this particular topic, and that's ok... people don't have to agree with each other, but they must respect each other.. and for that, I tip my hat to Father.
It's nice to have another friend in the clergy again. Though I do talk about my faith and practices here in this blog, I try not to mention it TOO much with my other friends, as I know it's not something they share. It's refreshing to have someone whom I can talk with, and get excited and passionate about things that on some level mean so much to me. I'm hoping we get to hang out more in the future... and it's a bonus that his parish is so close.
That afternoon, I went with Jason over to visit Anne and Vince. She is doing a little better now, and doesn't need the assistance of the cane as much. She will be going for some kind of iron infusion treatment tomorrow, to help treat the iron deficiency she has.
We had a nice lunch, and pigged out on the "monkey bread" cake I made... OMG is that stuff good!! We also got to play with her great-grandson, Austin, who is almost a year old. He is the best behaved baby I have ever seen, and is all smiles! We played blocks together, and he loves going for walks around the house, as long as he has some one's hands to hang onto while he does it. For a moment, I thought how neat it would be to have a kid... then his diaper had to be changed, and the thought quickly vanished. :-)