It was the feast of the Assumption. We scrambled out of the car in our thick winter coats.The sun shone down, warming us up so that the coats didn't seem necessary. But we knew better. As we stepped into the church, the temperature dropped several degrees, despite the gas heaters trying valiantly to heat the enormous space.
We knelt down on the hard, wooden kneelers. Shifting and wriggling I tried to find the most comfortable way of kneeling on those kneelers. But there didn't seem to be a way to position my knees so that they didn't become sore.
A bell rang three times. The organ started to play the first hymn. We sprang to our feet, hymn books in hands. The three priests and the altar servers processed out. The gold and blue vestments caught the light. A general feeling of specialness came over me.
Mass seemed to be over far too quickly, despite being an hour long. As the last of the shining vestments disappeared through the door, it seemed that this special celebration was over. But then the priest reappeared and prepared for benediction.
At once we were back on our knees. I didn't feel the hardness of the kneelers as we prayed the rosary. I didn't feel the cold as we sang the Latin benediction parts from memory. I was lost in the beauty of the occasion.
The organ rang out again, heralding the very last hymn. A smile lit up my face. This hymn made me feel five again, back in a catechism class piping away, "Ave, ave, ave Maria."
Then it really was over. We shuffled outside into the warm midday air. I smiled, thankful for the opportunity to come to this beautiful mass. Despite the cold, the hardness of the kneelers, and all, it had proved to be the most beautiful mass for Mary I had ever been to.