Change is not such a bad thing Print
Grand Mom
Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 -- 12:00 AM

grand mom

Aging is all about changes. Some changes are in-evitable. Some are good. And some are plain difficult.

Changing seasons is welcome. On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I stood sorting through my closet before dressing for church. The time for rusts and golds was past and it was too soon for Christmas colors. I picked purple.

An hour later as I walked into church, our sacristan grabbed my arm. “You remember that you’re a lector today, right?” I hadn’t, of course.

I reversed my direction and entered the sacristy. “Good morning, Audrey. You’re wearing purple for Advent, I see,” Father Brian said.

Oops! Memory is a terrible thing to lose!

The first Sunday of Advent! As the reality set in, I realized this was the Sunday we had dreaded, the Sunday when the changes in the liturgy would begin. At least my part would be the same.

We Catholics had been warned a year ago that a new translation was coming. It would mean learning new responses to old greetings and reading a newly worded creed. We could no longer go on automatic pilot with our responses.

But I was not going to allow myself to be one of those old fuddy-duddies who fought changes.

I recalled how in the 1960s some of the elderly had bitterly rejected the changes brought about by Vatican II: the Latin to the vernacular, the priest facing the congregation, and the Eucharist in the hands of the layman. These were all changes I loved.

My three oldest sons were Mass servers back then. Their responses had been in Latin.

In our parish we had a pastor and two young assistants plus 95-year-old Father Schneider who had returned to our parish to “wait for the Lord to call.”

Every morning he said Mass at 6:30 a.m. After Vatican II the Latin Confiteor was one of the first things to go. The young servers were thrilled, but not old Father Schneider, who continued to keep his back turned to the servers and congregation. My sons were serving one day when he looked over his shoulder and snapped, “Say the Confiteor.”

The boys looked at each other confused and said, “But…”

Father Schneider persisted. He turned and roared, “Say the Confiteor, damnit.”

The story became a family favorite for us, but it also made me appreciate how difficult the transition was for priests — especially elderly priests.

Last Sunday my daughter and I were traveling and attended Mass at a church in Florida.

There we found the now familiar cards with the new translation cues and another congregation struggling with their parts.

Their priest, a bouncy, young Hispanic with a sense of humor, spoke briefly about the Gospel and then said, “But we don’t have time to worry about the end of the world. We have to learn a new Liturgy instead. Did you know it’s only the English translation that’s changing?”

As an afterthought he added, “Don’t be surprised next week if I say Mass in Spanish!”

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