Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Healing Mass

Have you ever been to a healing Mass? Actually, let's back that up - have you ever heard of healing Mass? Before May 17, I certainly hadn't. Of course I was vaguely familiar with the concept of healing services, though I associated them with charismatic sects. (Honestly, the image that most sprung to mind was some kind of tent revival. We're Catholic - we don't do that.... Right?) But there was the notice in the bulletin, just a small notice, about a healing Mass at St. Mary's parish, in Cecil. The Mass was on Wednesday, and we didn't have anything else going on that evening; it would only be about 20 minutes away. 

From Sunday until Wednesday evening, we waffled. Would going do any good? Certainly God can choose to work through mediums such as a relic, medal, prayer or healing Mass, but He doesn't need any of it to effect a change or healing. Going (or not going) wouldn't change His mind; He has His plans, to which we are not privy, which do not change. How many of us have said, over and over again, that while yes, we are exhorted to turn to Him in prayer constantly, to never stop asking, getting the answer we hope for isn't simply a matter of praying longer or harder or having deeper faith? (That way lies the Prosperity Gospel, not the way of the cross.) Honestly, I couldn't quite see much reason to go, but without going, there would be no way to know if it were worthwhile. 

And so we went. St. Mary's is tucked away, a bit more difficult to get to then the directions first suggested. When we arrived, the parking lot was packed, much to my surprise; we were directed to park in the cemetery. In many ways, St. Mary's looks like the church we were married in, St. Bartholomew's; they both have the 1960's/1970's style of architecture and stained glass. It seemed like the service had started by the time we arrived; everyone was singing when we walked in, so we chose a pew near the back. 

For the most part, the Mass was Mass. I couldn't help but see the irony of the Scripture reading, featuring the woman with hemorrhages, both because it was during my period as well the contrast between her complete faith and my uncertainty. It wasn't always easy to hear the priest presiding, mostly due to the sound system, but at times due to the family with young children that sat behind us. (I'm pretty certain that the baby tugged on my veil at least a couple of times.) 

At the close of Mass, the presiding priest shared a list of conditions and situations that they heard as they prayed beforehand. "One of the things about the Holy Spirit is that it allows us to hear God. As we prayed before Mass, here is what we heard. A young man will have his vocation to the priesthood affirmed tonight... Tonight someone will be healed of the diabetes... Foot problems... Breathing problems... A child will be healed in the womb tonight..." The list went on, with everyone listening raptly. Sometimes someone would call out "Amen" or just raise their hand as a condition was mentioned. For about 5 minutes, the priest listed conditions and situations; I kept hoping that IF would show up, however it was described. It didn't. There was something that sounded like it could refer to adoption but only in an oblique way. 

After the dismissal and blessing of the oil, the priests spread out to various posts in the aisles. As each priest took his position, a line quickly formed. We eventually joined the unorganized not-quite-a-line in the back corner behind where we had been sitting. The family with the two young children who sat behind us were first in line; it seemed like both boys had some kind of health problem. The crowd/line ebbed and flowed; a couple of women complimented me on my veil, and then it was our turn. For the first time when I told a priest about our infertility he listened; he asked if we were trying to find the underlying cause of it. I explained that we were still working with doctors to find and treat the causes of our IF. He prayed over us for some time, closing with a smile and "Come see me in 3 months." Afterwards, I was filled with calm and peace, something that has been in short supply lately. 

As we were leaving, I commented to Husbandido that the priest we spoke with looked kind of like Pope Saint John Paul II. I can't say that the peace I felt that night lingers; circumstances since have knocked that out of me. I can say that going to the healing Mass was well worth it, and we will likely go back. (For those in the Pittsburgh area, the schedule is here; for other areas, typing "healing Mass [location]" should help you find one.) 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Personal Note

I recently realized quite how long I've been AWOL from my own blog... It's not because I have nothing to say, but because things have been a little too crazy around here.

Instead of writing about Infertility Awareness Week here, I chose to do it on Facebook. Let's face it, if you're reading infertility bloggers, you're probably pretty aware of infertility (and may just be an infertile yourself). Brevity has never been my hallmark, which can be problematic on Facebook, but I think my posts reached at least a few people. 

Our wedding anniversary was the Sunday after Infertility Awareness Week ended. I chose to put up a "bonus" post because IF does color birthdays and anniversaries. Not long after, my birthday followed our anniversary, and I worried it would be swallowed up in the preparations for the annual Mother's Day brunch we host. Hosting brunch helps keep from focusing on just what it is we're celebrating; I'm too busy dealing with the food and making sure everyone is having a good time. Part of me is a little bitter that we host the gatherings for Husbandido's family that include both of our birthdays, but the only other alternative is for his parents to do it. (His sister only hosts the party for her daughter's birthday; his oldest brother never hosts [I haven't seen the inside of their house in the 8 years we've been together], and his other brother lives in a one bedroom apartment.) Especially given that MIL passed out and was taken to the hospital by ambulance for the second time just a week before Mother's Day, I don't feel right asking her to do more. So I tried not to lose my birthday in the midst of cleaning the house from top to bottom. Since we host brunch, we go to Saturday evening Mass Mother's Day weekend. I was okay until the priest had all the mothers stand for the blessing. Of course it's never just a blessing, there's always the obligatory applause, everyone recognizing and telling the mother's how much they are valued. I lost it; it's entirely possible that I do it every year and just forget about it between times. But I could only lose it for so long; there's always too much to do before hosting. 

Brunch went well, though K never did RSVP. I have to say not knowing how many guests to expect drives me mildly bonkers, but it's typical of K. That morning we found out she wasn't coming from her mother; Cindy, K's daughter, was sick. Everyone had a good time at brunch; the last guests didn't leave until almost 8 pm. 

Since then we've been trying to take it easy and rest a bit before the ginormous birthday extravaganza my aunt has planned for my Grandmother's 90th birthday. It's a 10 hour drive for us, so we'll leave that Thursday after Husbandido gets off work and drive halfway. Two 10 hour days in the car out of three days is too much for us. Apparently there are 43 people expected at the Saturday dinner, including a number of my mother's cousins. I am dreading the obligatory questions about children, especially given that one of my cousin's wife is expecting. Then there's the fact that the great-grands are pretty much the star of the show. Every year I ask myself why I feel so obligated to go, and I always come back with the same answer: I would feel horrible if something happened to my grandmother, and we hadn't made the time to see her in the year beforehand. So I put up with the stress, frustration, and cost to go. I reserve the right to grumble about it, though.

I've been fighting with my doctor's office, trying to get information that was promised to me at our April 2 appointment. Today, roughly 6 weeks later, I finally got the list of recommended supplements that I expected to receive within days of the appointment. His nurse said that he's doing some research about the ultrasound series, which is why I haven't yet gotten the instructions for it. (I have to admit that makes me nervous.) I was incredibly frustrated yesterday, when I didn't find out until 3:30 pm that the nurse who was supposed to be my usual contact was retiring and not helping patients anymore. It was made worse by the fact that my period had started, while I had 2 days of progesterone left; I was hoping someone could confirm that I should not take those final doses. Thankfully, Marie came to my rescue. I am eternally grateful to those of you who have been a huge help with medical information... but I can't help but be annoyed that I can't seem to get key information from my doctor's office. We're starting to wonder whether we're getting to a point where Dr. P is out of his depth, making it more important that we get everything together to send to Omaha. 

I hope to be back to posting more regularly soon!