Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lisa and the magic house

Today was the funeral of the father of a dear friend, even though we rarely communicate, Mark Montemayor. I had a chance to talk with him briefly right after the service, and he told me, with pride and pain, how his Dad had come to every single one of his concerts when he was the band teacher at GHHS. Then through the resultant tears from that memory, he recalled that his Dad also never missed one of his concerts from when he was in school and learning.  If you have ever been to a beginner music recital or school concert, you know what parental love and loyalty that signifies.

Had the service been an Evangelical or atheist one, we could all have heard about his life and works, because even if the pastor or other such does not know about the dearly departed and cannot speak in honor, others generally do and often random people from the mourners are invited.  I spoke at Johnny Johnson's service.

This, though, was a Roman Catholic Funeral Mass, complete with parishioners there for a quick homily and host.  It was a beautiful service, but the standard requirements for a Mass had to be observed. That leaves little time for sharing by the loved ones. I would have enjoyed that, certainly better than I enjoyed having to be the only one in the row who did not go to the front to partake of the snacks.  It's always a little bit awkward; one woman asked me about my reticence, and I just said, Methodist.  She kindly told me it would be ok if I went to receive a blessing.

Here's where I switch from talking about Mark and back to Lisa, remember the title of the blog?  If you love the Church, you might want to stop reading.

When I lived in Spokane, I had a friend named Lisa. She hung out with some of my graduate school buddies and me. She also knew all the best watering holes in Spokane.  She took me as a sort of aged wing-woman. I was ten years older.

Lisa was also a lay minister for St. Aloysius Church in charge of administering holy communion.  She did the wine.  St Al's parishioners were predominantly older, old-school Catholics, who'd been trained for communion at a time when only the priests drank during communion; therefore, most of the contents of the chalice were still there at the end of the service.

Okay non-Catholics, stay with me here; the contents of that chalice (not from the palace) cannot simply be poured back into the bottle.  To prepare for communion, the wine and the bread are placed in a tabernacle and blessed (or something, I don't really know).  Once the wine and the bread come out of the little house, they are no longer wine and bread.  They are now the body and the blood of Christ.  Having been raised Protestant, I had assumed this was symbolic.  Anyway, whoever ministers the chalice, must finish off the contents. In a Parish like St. Al's, where the majority of the celebrants do not partake, most of it is left.

One day, Lisa asked me for help/advice.  That quarter at school, she had an eight am Shakespeare class, and she was constantly falling asleep in it.  She really liked the class and the prof, so this was a real problem, besides needing to pass.  This seemed to be a simple problem; I reminded her that she was consuming up to three cups of wine every morning when she finished off the leftovers from communion.

Shocked, she said, "That's not wine! That's the blood of Christ! That can't be it."

"Well, Lisa, I don't know what to tell you."