Last night, at Ash Wednesday Mass, I was perturbed. I had to do a lot of asking God for patience and tolerance. Mass was crowded. That was the most people I've seen at Mass in a long, long time. It was almost like Midnight Mass. The CCD kids (that's "Sunday School" for you Protestants!) and CYO (youth group) kids were all piled in the pews. That was great...no problem there.
The 8:00 p.m. Mass was billed as a "bilingual" mass. Okay, no problem, the church we attended in SC used to have bilingual masses a lot. However, the Eucharistic Prayer (the most important part of the Mass) was always said in English so that the majority of attendees could understand what was being said. Last night it was said in Spanish. And, to make matters worse, the priest celebrating the Mass always says that part of the Mass so low that you can't hear it, and with there being so many people in the church, there was no way to hear it. So...you've got a bunch of kids in Mass, hearing a language that they're not fluent, and a priest that can't be heard. Amazingly they did a good job in trying to be quiet, but then you've got a bunch of babies talking and crying.
The beginning of the Mass was in English, then it switched over to Spanish during the readings. No big deal, we all have English/Spanish books so we could follow along. The Gospel: in Spanish. No homily, followed by the distribution of ashes. Eucharistic Prayer: Spanish. The Lord's Prayer: Spanish. He switched back to English toward the end of the Mass. I will have to say: Hearing the Lord's Prayer being sung in Spanish was beautiful. Knowing that, this one time, the Hispanic & English communities were in unison almost brought tears to my eyes. In our parish, there isn't a whole lot of "mingling" of the two communities. I don't know why, there just isn't. I'm sure the "bilingual" Mass is one way to intertwine the two, but I had to work hard at not letting my emotions consume the reason I was at Mass last night. It was hard, I'm not going to lie. But. I think next year I'll take a half-day off and go to an earlier Mass.