The vantage point of being up high to record the worship service of St. Mary’s on the Lake and St. Patrick’s Catholic Churches for Dec. 6, 2020, added much to the experience.
You could see the statues up front beneath the golden crucifix, the draped table for the advent wreath far off to one side and a corner of the shiny black piano on the other. A respectable scattering of safely distanced worshipers were arriving. The beautiful piano music filled the space before the bells were rung.
There was a moment of fingertip tapping on penitent chests to the words “most grievous fault,” preceding abundant words of encouragement.
“Give comfort to my people,” was spoken. “Let us see your kindness,” was sung. We were reminded that “one day is like a thousand” — but then we already knew that. There were words about both waiting and hastening.
Before the reading of the gospel, the beautifully ornate book was held high as it was carried to the pulpit.
Fr. Fasnacht talked about small signs of peace and hope. Literally. There’s a small homemade rural signpost made of wood that he drives past occasionally in the course of events. It reads, “Everything is going to be alright,” complete with a scattering of hearts. I believe I’ve seen that, too, and also felt my spirits rise. Thank you, carpenter. Discouragement we were told is a worldly thing and best to be avoided. Instead there were again the words “light from light.”
After the priest put on a stately mask, congregants carefully came forward to commune. From our bird’s eye view, I wondered about what appeared as an extra little flourish of hand movement after being given the host wafer. It almost seemed like putting a crown on Christ while making the sign of the cross. What was happening is that people were gracefully raising their masks. I couldn’t tell if they were sculpted or pleated, but festive little patches of color would appear.
Then at the very end of mass, there was the sweeping motion of hands as people peacefully wiped off surfaces near where they had sat.
That movement seemed to me as hopeful and holy as a kneel and a nod.