Like so many other parishes in the United States we have faced “The Change” a.k.a. The New Roman Missal, and met the challenge and found that it was greeted, at least in our parish, with a giant “Ho-Hum.” The people were prepped and catechized, warned and coddled. We were like giddy cheerleaders standing in front of them for five minutes every week for 6 weeks telling them about how cool everything was going to be and teaching them the new Mass settings, and they bought into it. They actually liked it all. They liked the music settings, they took the change in the Creed good naturedly and only one or two people groused about the longer Gloria. No problem.
Fortunately or unfortunately I remember the last change. This was nothing like the last one. I was little, but I remember how upset my parents were that some of their closest friends walked away from the church. They couldn’t take it. It was done so badly.
Being young I thought it was all so exciting. I liked looking at Father’s face when he consecrated the host and I was happy when I didn’t have to put the little doily we called a chapel veil on, or try to find an emergency tissue and bobby pin in my purse. Yet in those days the church was the center of so many lives. People’s social lives surrounded church breakfasts and men’s and women’s groups. I spent so many years sitting in our parish cafeteria eating pancakes, watching talent shows and listening to the grown-ups. There was always a crowd. So when Vatican II happened and the changes hit, people took it personally.
I was confused by the conflicts people were going through. But as Paul Simon sings, I was “born at the right time,” and that was the moment Sister decided I should learn the organ so I could start playing for Mass. Thus began my life as Anna, the church lady.