Monday, October 11, 2010

A Priest's Wife's Weekend

Saturday is a sleep-in day. It's 8 o'clock. Girl Baby G (1+) is still asleep in her crib, her stomach still full from her 5 o'clock bottle. Boy A (3+) has snuck into Girl S (11) and Girl M (10)'s room to either snuggle or play with the Playmobile bins. It's time to begin the day (cue the fast portion of The Beatles "Day in the Life")!

Dad (or Fr. if you prefer) has gotten the kids breakfast while I am enjoying tea in bed- for a minute. Then, the kids join me for snuggle time. This lasts maybe a minute more when it is realized that there is no toilet paper in the house. So, off to the store I go with the baby while Fr. is wrestling with the bigger kids. When I get home, scrubbing the base boards while the other kids are cleaning kitchen and living room-  I ask no questions; I just join in with a little cleaning myself. I throw in a load of laundry before we decide to go to a local park for a bit. At the park, Fr. pushes baby on the swing while he makes a last minute phone call to the parents of a baby to be baptized in the evening. Yes, he gets a 'look' from his wife and tries to make the call short.   After a while, Fr. gets paged from one of his two hospital pagers. He is needed in the ICU; a patient has finally accepted to receive the annointing of the sick, and the end looks near. No other priest is available Saturday morning. We pack up to leave the park so Fr. can go home and get changed. Maybe next time we go to the park, we will take two cars. 

While Fr. is at the hospital, the rest of us continue to work around the house. The big girls fold the laundry while I put the baby down to sleep. Then we make a little food to contribute to the table after Mass tonight. The girls change into their ballet clothes for their Nutcracker practice; Fr. gets home just in time to take them to rehearsal. They will stay there for a few hours, bringing a Shakespeare script with them to prepare for next Friday's class during breaks in practice. Fr. gets home and then takes a counseling phone call. I flee the room and pick out songs for the Masses. After a long phone call with the little kids still sleeping,  Fr. leaves for the mission alone to clean it and arrange flowers in preparation of the evening's Liturgy and baptism. It's getting late. I wake up the little ones to pick up the big ones at ballet. Silently cursing the construction traffic, I finally get to the mission 15 minutes before the Liturgy is to begin. Fr. is busy with parishioners, perhaps hearing confessions, so we complete preparations in the kitchen for the meal after the baptism. 

It's 5 PM. Mass has begun. The big girls and I are in charge of singing at this mission, but we do have a lector to sing the epistle and other changeable parts of the Liturgy. The Liturgy will be almost 2 hours long because of the baptism and confirmation (yes- we confirm the same day). I pray that the baby's bottle and the boy's sippy cup will get us through. The baptism begins outside the church with the words of exorcism. I can see some people squirming. How can such a cute baby need an exorcism?

May the Lord rebuke thee, Satan! -- He Who in glory ascended into heaven to His Father, sitting on the right of majesty upon the throne of glory. Devil: May the Lord rebuke thee! He Who shall come again with glory upon the clouds of heaven with His holy angels to judge the living and the dead. Devil: May the Lord rebuke thee! He Who has prepared for thee unquenchable fire, the unsleeping worm and the outer darkness unto eternal punishment. Devil: May the Lord rebuke thee! For before Him all things shudder and tremble from the face of His power and the wrath of His warning upon thee is uncontainable. Satan: The Lord rebukes thee by His frightful name! 

After the prayers of exorcism, we are invited to 'spit' and stamp on the ground as a sign of our rebuking the works of the evil one as well. My three-year old is amused. As we enter the church, the baptism continues. Baby G is confused with the changes in the Liturgy and starts to whine. I give her my best frown-smile and continue the singing with her pulling my hair. It is starting to get hot already. I can't take off my suit jacket; I'm wearing a sleeveless shell underneath. The mother of the baby and the two Godmothers look cool in their sleeveless mini-dresses. The baptism portion is over when a visitor starts talking on her cell phone. Fr. waits for her to finish and then continues.

It is truly proper to glorify you, who have borne God, the ever-blessed and immaculate and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who, a Virgin, gave birth to God the Word, you, truly the Mother of God, we magnify. 

The readings are read, the homily is done, the Eucharist is consecrated, and my kids are behaving pretty well. I wonder how I can receive the Eucharist when I am in charge of the singing.

O Lord, I believe and profess that You are truly Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinner, of whom I am the first.  Accept me as a partaker of Your mystical supper, O Son of God; for I will not reveal Your mysteries to Your enemies, nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief I confess to You: Remember me, O Lord, when You shall come into Your kingdom. May the partaking of Your Holy Mysteries, O Lord, be not for my judgment or condemnation, but for the healing of soul and body. O Lord, I also believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly Your most precious Body and Your life-giving Blood, which I pray, make me worthy to receive for the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. O God, be merciful to me, a sinner. O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me. O Lord, forgive me, for I have sinned without number. Amen. 

We sing a Eucharist song out of an old Oregon Catholic Press book found in the recycling of a big church that buys new books every year. Which is worse, signing "Un Pan, Un Cuerpo" or singing from a book that we didn't buy? I don't get to receive. A drops his car and I help him find it so he doesn't make a scene. A. then starts demanding the bathroom so we have to leave, baby in tow, before the end of Liturgy. I see a few visitors hanging out in the kitchen as I pass to the bathroom. Do I smile, nod, speak?

Liturgy is finished and a few photos are taken of the newly baptized. I am busy hosting while Fr. is counseling or confessing or just talking to some parishioners. The big girls help with the little ones, getting them something to eat. By the time I am ready to eat something, there isn't anything left but two cherry tomatoes. Oh well- I can use a day with no dinner! We clean up with the help of another family. Fr. doesn't get any food either, but he takes the big girls to the baptism party so he has a chance for dinner there. I take the little kids home and put them to sleep. We are home at 8:45. Fr. gets home an hour later with the big kids, saying evening prayers in the car. After the kids are asleep, we watch a bit of an Indian musical and then get to sleep. Tomorrow will be busy.

I got up early (Monday) to write this weekend post and got to this point- posted it and then went on my way. I was going to write about Sunday at the 'big'  mission when I could find the time. I checked the comments and saw a new one on the "Why Visit a Byzantine Catholic church" post- someone was really mean and now I don't feel like writing more. As a human breathing on this planet, I am not perfect. What did I do to offend this person so? Did I cut them off in traffic? Did they see me rent an R-rated movie? Were my kids rude to their kids? Did my husband not give them the right words at the right time? I am racking my brain and I can't come up with anything. Yes, it is true that my family is human- and yes- I am probably the 'most human' of them all. 


I wrote this as a postscript before I got that comment on the older post:  

Was it a typical weekend? In some ways, it was more relaxed than a usual weekend. We didn't have any house or dinner guests, and we didn't accept any invitations. But in some ways it was more hectic than usual with the baptism on Saturday night and the memorial service on Sunday morning.  As you can surmise, there isn't a lot of time for quiet reflection. We take our breaks in fits and starts, much like any other family. It is very challenging not having a day off. Mondays begin the week with Fr. working full-time at the hospital along with mission responsibilities (Bible study, weekday Mass) and me homeschooling the kids (the big kids are also in ballet, choir, and drama) plus teaching part-time four evenings a week at the college. It is a busy life!


  1. Excerpt from the Pieta Prayer Book (Our Lord's revelations to Mutter Vogel):

    "One should NEVER attack a priest, even when he's in error, rather one should ray and do penance that I'll grant him My grace again. He alone fully represents Me, even when he doesn't live after My example!

    "When a Priest falls we should extend him a helping hand through prayer and not through attacks! I myself will be his judge, no one but I! Whoever voices judgment over a priest has voiced it over me; child, never let a Priest be attacked, take up his defense. Child, never judge your confessor, rather pray much for him and offer every Thursday, through the hands of My Blessed Mother, Holy Communion (for Him). Never again accept an out-of-the-way word about a priest, and speak no unkind word (about them). Even it were TRUE! Every Priest is My vicar and My Heart will be sickened and insulted because of it~ If you hear a judgment (against a Priest) pray a Hail Mary."

    "If you see a Priest who celebrates the Holy Mass unworthily then say nothing about him, rather tell it to Me alone! I stand beside Him on the altar! Oh pray much for my priests, that they'll love purity above all, that they'll celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with pure hands and heart. Certainly the Holy Sacrifice is one and the same even when it's celebrated by an unworthy priest, but the graces called down upon the people is not the same!"

  2. Now that I am moderating comments (disagree strongly- just play nice!)- I have gotten to know the 'stats' part of the setting what-you-might-call-it. Today there was a page view from Saudi Arabia! Maybe they just clinked for a second and clicked away- but it is still cool....:)

  3. You are one busy lady!

    A note about comments: Every successful blog has haters. Here's good article--

  4. I think all this busy is why from what my uncle (priest) tells me Priests in the Roman Catholic don't get married. He is too busy being everyone's father. I can see that fully in your post. Your husband is one busy man.

    When I had my second son baptized, he was almost 1yrold and due to god parents being from out of town and not getting there and us being in a town that wasn't our "home" we waited until family were visiting. When the priest did the exocism my son kept pushing his hands away. The priests says "this one might be a toughy later in life... don't blame us?" :) (paraphrased because it was 8yrs ago)

  5. Kyooty- it's funny what babies and kids do during baptisms! I remeber my littleest sis crying during hers (Episcopalian)- my mom said- If Prince henry can cry during his- so can she!

    Cool that your uncle is a priest- yes- my husband is busy with family concerns, but notice that he was the only one able to annoint a dying man- maybe it was the secretaries, but 8 priests from 3 parishes were unavailable Sat Morning...

  6. God Bless you!

    I am a Roman Catholic and we have a married priest. He is Ukrainian Rite first, and now can celebrate the Western Rite as well.

    You have one busy family!

    Blog stats are fun!

  7. Obviously no one is interested in the strange and ignorant comment-- I am interested to hear more about your weekends! Why don't you write about your Family Fun days?

  8. Faithemmanuel- you mean our 'Family Fun Fifteen Minutes?'- one of these days, I will write about our attempts to have Family Fun in the little time we have- not easy....but I think we are doing pretty well.

  9. S, I just tuned in to your blog. I am enjoying it thoroughly.

  10. I checked the comments and saw a new one on the "Why Visit a Byzantine Catholic church" post- someone was really mean and now I don't feel like writing more. As a human breathing on this planet, I am not perfect. What did I do to offend this person so? Did I cut them off in traffic? Did they see me rent an R-rated movie? Were my kids rude to their kids? Did my husband not give them the right words at the right time? I am racking my brain and I can't come up with anything. Yes, it is true that my family is human- and yes- I am probably the 'most human' of them all.

    some people are just trolls. it's why i use wordpress and employ the option of passworded-posts frequently. as much as i try and ignore the trolls, they can really hurt.

  11. Jen- YUP- I learned my lesson! The mean comment that I allowed to stay published was my first yucky one. I got 4 REALLY YUCKY ones after that- probably by the same troll. Now, I moderate comments and have no more problems- I have no problems with differences of opinions- but the anonymity of the Internet leads to trolls

  12. I think it's beautiful that you are willing to share your family and thoughts with us. I just found your blog today and am learning so much. God bless you and your family!

  13. Random confusion on my part...but what branch of the Byzantine Church do you and your family belong to that you can pick out hymns from an Oregon Catholic Press book? That sounds "smart" but I don't mean it to be...maybe a better question is, to which eparchy do you belong?

  14. anonymous- we are Romanian Byzantine catholic- with no official songbook and no official cantor- we try to survive- most of the time we sing Ruthenian hymns translated into English

  15. Very nice...thanks for the reply. I was raised in the Ruthenian rite.


thanks for commenting! (comments on old posts are moderated)