A Church of Nine

A Church of Nine

After working a convention for a couple of days, most people are exhausted mentally and physically. So, it should come as no surprise that when the show is over for the day, we are all relieved and ready to relax for the evening.

At the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress last month, I was given a handwritten invitation (complete with a map) to Mass on Saturday evening at my hotel. I have to admit that I was a little unsure about this, since I can’t recall ever attending Mass in such an unusual location. I also couldn’t recall ever getting an invitation to Mass, outside of graduations, confirmations and such—which I found to be kind of cool. So I went, not knowing what a profound impact this particular Mass would have on me.

The Gathering

Nine of us from St. Anthony Messenger Press gathered at six o’clock in a little hotel room to celebrate Mass. To be sure, the atmosphere was unlike any other Mass I had attended. A small table for the altar, complete with a cloth and candles. Seating was on any available flat surface. It was far from a beautifully decorated church, and yet, I think it was absolutely perfect.

Approaching the Mass as one more thing to cross off my list that day was not my normal attitude, but somewhere between my exhaustion and the Creed, God whispered into my heart.

The homily related the gospel to our experiences at the conference, and couldn’t have been more appropriate. Others in the little assembly added their thoughts, which only enriched and connected us all even more. There I was sitting side-by-side with some of the people I had been working with for the last three days, celebrating our common beliefs together.

It suddenly became clear that we shared much more than a convention schedule and rental car. As we recited the Creed, I realized how incredible it was that we all came together and professed the same beliefs. It didn’t matter if we were in a church, on a mountaintop, or in a hotel. Celebrating our belief in “one God, the Father, the Almighty” . . . in “one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,” . . . and in “the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,” is what it’s all about.

Wherever two or three (or nine) are gathered in His name, He is there.

How often do you pause to think about how powerful it is that a church full of people are all professing the same beliefs, whether that church is nine people or 9,000 people? What kinds of unexpected experiences have made you re-examine things you sometimes take for granted?

If you’d like to learn more about the Mass, I recommend Catholic Update Guide to the Mass. Its fresh, straight-forward approach makes it a good book for new or returning Catholics, and for those who have attended Mass their entire life.

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Featured Photo Credit: nuchylee

 
 

About the Author

Angela Glassmeyer is the institutional marketing and sales manager at Franciscan Media. She is blessed with three amazing children and a husband who both encourages and inspires her. She loves to entertain and feed large crowds of family and friends, but does not love the cleanup that comes with it. Angela has been actively involved at St. James of the Valley for almost twenty years and has served as the PSR coordinator since 2005.
 
 
 
  • Rick Baltzersen

    I’ve had similiar experiences in churches in Sierra Leone, Jamaica and Nicaragua. It doesn’t matter how fancy the church is, or where it is located–as long as believers are worshipping God, He is there!

  • Carole

    As a fellow participant in our little LAREC Mass gathering, I want to add a thanks to Fr. Greg Friedman and Fr. Pat McCloskey for hosting and concelebrating this Mass. As Angela stated, it was truly the most unusual Mass I’d ever attended and the first to which I received a hand-drawn map and invitation. Thanks to Fr. Greg and Fr. Pat for celebrating God in our presence! It was a wonderful and memorable moment!