It took me a moment to realize that the arrangement of bright white statues off to the side as I approached St. Anne’s Catholic Church at the top of Church Hill Road in Somerset, Wis., represented events at Fatima. The lamb had me first thinking of shepherds at the nativity scene.
When I found them on Facebook, I again flashed on Christmas. But what at first glance appeared to me to be sprigs of flocked evergreens were actually sprays of pampas grass. The acoustics of the piano prelude and solo soprano still inspire in me a deep sigh of contentment. And the non-Minnesotan accent of the priest was a nice change.
Before we get back in the sanctuary, I noticed an official letter online about the dispensation from obligation being lifted. It basically says given all the public health protocols being observed, if you’re comfortable going out to a restaurant or bar you should also be showing up for church. Some exceptions were listed including age and if you’re turned away because they have already reached crowd capacity.
Readings included “on this mountain ...” tears would be wiped away and reproach would be removed. Also, a writer said he knew how to live in “humble circumstances.”
The gospel reading was about many being invited to the wedding feast and somebody getting thrown out for being inappropriately dressed. Father Joseph explained that the first garment missing on the unfortunate guest was “heartfelt compassion.” Also recommended was kindness, humility, patience and forgiveness.
During the feast of holy communion, after the elements of the sacrament were prepared, a prayer was projected on the screen about spiritual embrace. I think the words to the piano music were “come and see” — which the priest said earlier was a lot more important than doing laundry.
There were concluding announcements about celebrations and committees and rallies and offerings and the need to continue to don masks.
The precision of the movements and meditative placement of the beautiful altar settings made for a calming “repose for the soul.”