Get me to the church on time


We’ve gotten the school commute down and haven’t been late one time this year. Yes, I realize the year has only just begun, but still. Church, however, is another matter. It seems we struggle every week to make it to the church on time.

Take this past Sunday. The kids had been at my Dad’s until late Saturday night, so we didn’t make it to Mass then. My plan was to go to St. Joseph in Marengo, which is less than 10 minutes from the house, at 9:15 a.m.

I woke up early to check on the pork shoulder I had put in the slow cooker the night before. I had coffee, then started trying to get the kids up. That was a slow process because they didn’t get home until well past their bedtime Saturday night.

Plus, they were filthy. They had been running in the fields and splashing in the creek and they were covered in dirt. Baths were absolutely necessary before we left the house.

I finally rolled them out around 8. They had their Sunday treat, doughnuts, then I started urging them toward the bathroom. Hays got his shower first, then Warner got in the bath. He LOVES playing with his little cars in the tub, so he doesn’t get much washing done. When I went in to check on him, the bath mat and floor were soaked and his hair was still dry. Ugh. I scrubbed him, got him out and … looked at the clock. It was past 8:30 and Syliva and I both had to have a shower. Mass at 9:15 obviously wasn’t going to happen.

The good thing about where we now live is that we have no less than seven options for Mass on the weekends within a 20-mile radius. Lots of options. Sometimes, I wonder if there are too many. When we lived in Salem, and the kids were babies, Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Patrick’s was it. And we almost always made it. On time.

Because we were going to my sister-in-law’s in Elizabeth Sunday night for a cookout, I didn’t want to go to Corydon for church, then home again, then back that same way later. That left St. Michael’s at Bradford (near Palmyra) as our only option. I hustled Sis into the shower with me and rushed, rushed, rushed.

Somehow, we ended up being the latest we’ve ever been. Mass starts at 11 and we rolled in around 11:15, having missed the readings, the gospel and most of the sermon. I’m not certain you can count having attended Mass when you’re that late. I’m certain Sister Mary Benedict, one of the nuns who taught at St. Joseph’s when I went there, would say definitely not.

To top it off, Sylvia was being a pill, to the point that I threatened her with no swimming at her aunt’s house if she didn’t straighten up. We were in the cry room because I was too embarrassed to walk into the main church so late. Nobody else was in there, which gave her too much leeway.

Finally – finally – she quieted down. I checked on her and found her kneeling under the crucifix, hands folded. She said she was telling Jesus she was sorry for being bad.

After communion, we sang “Amazing Grace,” which is a great opportunity to talk about God’s grace and to slip in a history lesson about slavery. I still felt bad about being so late, but the last song, “Go Make a Difference,” did make me feel a little better.

While we definitely need to get our act together and arrive on time, in the end, what matters most is that we put our faith into action. Ending with a song that in very simple terms encourages that certainly made me realize it truly was better late than never when it comes to church on Sunday.


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