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Friday, August 29, 2008

Happiness is...

...starting my day by attending the all-school Mass at my kids' Catholic school.

The music is peppy and engaging and all the more appealing when sung en masse by 400+ kids. This morning's opening song was "Blessed Be the Lord My Rock," which is one of my favorites and will be stuck in my head the rest of the day. Last week's opener was "We are the Family," which is equally as catchy. Click here to listen to a sample of it. Just know that when our kids sing it, it sounds a lot more genuine and a lot less hokey! I'll try to get a sample of "Blessed Be the Lord My Rock" to share as well.

But it's not just the music. The homilies at the all-school Masses are geared toward the kids and are generally interactive. It's always fun to hear how the kids will answer questions posed by the priest. Last year, Fr. Paul asked the kids what commandment would they add if they were writing the 10 commandments. My Charlie answered "Do not punch your sister." That kid is bound for the seminary, I tell you.

Entertainment value aside, kid-friendly homilies are good for me too, as sometimes my faith is not as mature as my age. I benefit from the message put forth simply and directly.

The sign of peace gives me a chance to find each one of my children and give them a hug and an "I love you." I like to think of it as a way to make up for the often harried and occasionally harsh manner in which I shoo them out the door on Friday mornings.

When I receive Christ in the Eucharist, I am reminded that no matter how overwhelmed I feel by the busy-ness and the business of my life, I can do all things through Him because He is with me -- literally with me in the Eucharist. I find myself more present to the gift of the Eucharist at school Masses than on Sunday because I've not spent the point up to communion calming wiggling children, answering "How many more songs?" fifty times, instructing someone to stand up straight, and saying, "No, you can't go to the bathroom. You should have gone before."

Finally, I love attending school Masses because I get to look around and see all the people my children interact with on a daily basis -- teachers, staff and other students. I see them joining together in prayer, song and deliberate expression of our faith. And I know that our decision to send them to this school is the right one.