My sweet friend, Brina, is joy, personified. I have been so blessed to watch her journey of faith and her witness of Christ’s love in many environments: family , friends, church community, school. Most recently, she has taken on a new position of Director of Sacred Music at our church; a role that she dearly loves and is very well-suited for. Each Saturday, at St. Joan of Arc, I am blessed to sing with Brina in our choir role where we offer our gifts back to God in praise and worship of Him during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass—the high point of our week. Once a month, the kiddos (The Arc Angels) join us . Yesterday was one of those Saturdays. I share this with you NOT to poke fun at my sister in Christ, but just because this is so darn funny, I could not resist. This could otherwise be subtitled: The Demise of the Closing Hymn.
This all started off innocently enough…
The text arrives yesterday afternoon from Brina…”how do you feel about wearing Mantillas while we sing at Mass”. Since we’ve both broken through the fashion barrier at daily Masses, I knew that the day would arrive when this threshold would eventually be crossed. I have a few trepidations about wearing my chapel veil in the very prominent choir area at our post Vatican II-styled church, but I throw them out with yesterday’s news when I walk into to warm ups and see the children… Year of Faith kick off, kids choir, mantillas, it will be a lovely, non-distracting, admixture.
(The whole Mantilla/Chapel Veil is fodder for an entirely new blog post that is in my head, fyi)
We proceed with warm ups and conclude with a prayer before Mass from our freshly printed prayer page that Director Brina has beautifully formatted for all of us. Just one problem…the line that is supposed to read: “what we believe in our hearts, we may show forth in our lives…”actually reads: “what we believe in our hearts, we may show forth in our lies.” The errant prayer is boldly proclaimed by all of the children, and me and organist. Oops! The irony is side-splittlingly funny, yes? Our Brina is mortified with the messy Biden-like gaffe however after we roll around laughing for a few, we recompose and chalk it up to the fingers being quicker than the eyes. At this point, Brina has only a little ‘splainin to do to Arc Angel parents. We proceed to Mass….
Mass is flawless until we reach the part where we pray the St. Michael Prayer, from same troublesome prayer page. Seems like a few extra words inserted into the St. Michael prayer wouldn’t be too big a problem (UNLESS THEY ARE INTONED DIRECTLY INTO THE VERY HOT MICS) by Ms. Brina, who is still rattled by the new lie-promoting prayer from earlier. Does the statement: It pays to proofread; seem like too obvious a profundity? This event now creates a cascade of infectious laughter that renders the miked-up-singer- people completely useless. Ever tried to sing a song while trying not to laugh? Every single, eternal, utterance sounds hysterically funny. Not only is it making you laugh, but it is also making the person next to you laugh so hard that they are crying. Literally crying. Tears are rolling down my face. We are not only doubled-over distractions, we are weeping, doubled-over, mantilla-clad distractions!!
To make matters even worse, we are told that the wrong numbers were displayed on the tote board (eh hem) so nobody in the congregation was really singing anyways. The exception, of course, are the awesome Arc Angels who are just kind of grinning and trying to ignore the –now completely useless- Director and sidekick show, while singing All Glory Laud and Honor. Lord have mercy.
What is the moral of the story? Rule 62 (never take yourself too darn seriously) also applies at Mass. AND…infectious laughter, is in fact, a gift of the Holy Spirit. Dear Father…we need a reinforced choir loft.