A Baptist, a Catholic and a Muslim all walk into a Catholic church….
Don’t worry this isn’t going to be some horrible joke. But last night this was my life.
One of the kids that I look after was singing in a special advent mass at the family’s church. I was surprised to hear that both myself and the babysitter the family has would be going to the mass with the whole family.
Now I’m a Baptist, well I was raised Baptist. I’m still a Christian, just like anyone who identifies as a Catholic, but our services are different. Until last night, I had never gone to a Catholic mass before.
The children know that I’m a Christian, but not a Catholic. The 2nd oldest finds this fascinating. For the second part of the mass, she kept asking how it was different from my church, and what is new and what does my church do that hers doesn’t. It wasn’t really all that different. The main things really are all the rituals. In my church we don’t stand/sit as much, we don’t cross ourselves, or have to kneel. They had the eucharist at the end of the service, which I would normally partake in, however, in the Catholic church the bread and wine are the actual body and blood of Christ. The priest blesses it and it transforms. In my church, it’s just a symbol. We still pray over it but we don’t acknowledge that it has transformed into anything Holy.
I did learn that the wafers stick to the roof of your mouth though. I didn’t get up and accept any of the Host since I felt this to be a conflict for me, but when the 2nd oldest sat down she told me so – and then proceeded to open her mouth and show me the wafer sticking to the roof of her mouth.
I didn’t cross myself while there, but I did go through the motions of sitting/standing/kneeling. And let me tell you: I never knew there was a wrong way to kneel before! I saw many people kneeling so that the top half of their legs were still straight up and down. The first time we kneeled, I made the mistake of sitting back on my ankles. BAD CHOICE. This causes your legs to cramp and to fall asleep. I felt oddly tall surrounded by children, but keeping your legs as upright as possible is the best.
I did feel a little awkward being there – but just because it was my first time. Now I know how it goes and there is a screen with a powerpoint with instructions. I will be more comfortable the next time I go.
But I am not the only caregiver for the children. I am considered to be their nanny. But they also have a babysitter. She is from Morocco and speaks fluent French so she can help with their homework. She also has a rule that the children can only speak to her in French, and she only speaks to them in French. Right now she is there 3 out of the 5 days that I am there. It’s been a little hard to adjust to her presence this week. She was there with me Wednesday and Thursday (she had to miss Monday to study for an exam). I think it will just be a little bit of a transition period to get used to each other – like accepting the fact that I don’t need her to physically walk in front of me and interrupt me to calm a disagreement between two children because girl I got it, go away, you literally just made it 20 times worse and now someone has been slapped, and I didn’t get anything to eat all night since the slapper totally shut down refusing to walk or talk for two hours and I had to stay in the house with her while everyone else went for dinner…..
This babysitter also happens to be a Muslim. Sitting with three people between us, I could still feel how uncomfortable she was being at mass. She participated in the standing and sitting, but not the kneeling. And like me, she also didn’t go up to receive the Host during the eucharist.
Afterwards, there was a little snack time, where the kids ate plates and plates of cookies for their dinner. I took a water and accepted a cookie from the eldest child as she passed by us. But the babysitter was even uncomfortable there that she didn’t even want any water or juice or anything. I was glad for the snack time because it was after 8 and we still hadn’t had any dinner.
Overall, it was a great experience. I was happy to have been able to sit through a Catholic service and to share how my church does things differently than their with the two oldest children. Plus the Christmas music was lovely – from the lips of children! It was perfection.
And on that note, here are your musical advent selections for today:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – Andy Williams
Santa Claus is coming to town:
And just to add a little bit of extra cheer, if you have an hour watch the movie of the same name!