This week I went over to one of my parishes to attend the noon Mass. I got there about 5 minutes early, and found the chapel locked. In the parking lot, a car (almost) full of older ladies in rain bonnets said "oh the priest is just late sometimes, get in our car, it's starting to rain!" I climbed in, and they all introduced themselves to me, saying "Oh I read about you in the bulletin!" Soon, I realized I had a key to the chapel and let us all in. Inside I met another older lady, and we all mused about who would have to say Mass if the priest didn't show up (he did, thankfully).
At Mass that day, we were joined by a young mother and her two year old, who was wearing a St. Michael shield and new the last few words of every prayer of the Mass. They sat right in front of me, and he would whisper to his mom "what's he doing now, Mom? Is he gonna drink?" She taught him the word chalice and he used it: "Ohhhhh he touched the chalice!! Wow!!" The ladies (including me) were delighted by his presence.
That afternoon, I had a full-on conversation with the spanish-speaking custodian at our rectory. Here it is, word for word:
"Oh Margo! Como estas?"
"Muy bien! Como estas?"
Pretty good for my first spanish conversation. Later that day, I downloaded this cool app (http://www.duolingo.com/) and I'm going to work on a few words a day. Unfortunately this app does not teach Polish, which would be really handy. Ah well, first things first.
Today I spent the morning at one of my parishes meeting with the RE director there. She and her office mates were so gracious, generous, and warm, I felt so welcomed. I got a tour of the rectory (a HUGE old building, three floors and an attic! Huge!) and the school, also huge, which is used for religious ed now. They served me a deeeelicious lunch and invited me to move in. My former pastor (my first ministry boss!) is retired and living there, and it was wonderful to catch up with him.
This afternoon, I met with my pastor and we traded some good feedback for each other. I'm feeling really hopeful about how we'll work together. I'm loving going to Mass during the week, and loving having appointments all over the city every day. The people are lovely, mostly, and the whole city seems poised on the edge of growth and depth. I think this is going to be good.