Sunday, 8 June 2008

Extraordinary circumstances

I had a fascinating, albeit brief, conversation with an elderly lady at the back of our church. At the very end of WWII she was a nurse aboard a boat taking newly liberated prisoners of war from Japanese camps to Australia. She did not wish to talk about what she had seen there but about an unusual incident which happened aboard.

At some point they took aboard an American Catholic Priest and when he came to say Mass he found that the man who had arranged to serve was not there. The priest said, " Is there anyone here who would like to answer Mass for me?". Nobody replied. He asked the question again. Still no one answered. Then this Lady, who then must have been about 24yrs old, piped up and said, "I can do it Father, if you will have me". He said, " Gladly". And Mass went ahead, with this lady serving at the altar and making all the responses. This lady is very devout, still goes to a Latin Mass when she can. She had then and still has many devout priests and religious as her friends. She looked me in the eye and said, " They were extraordinary times".

1 comment:

Pastor in Valle said...

Welcome to the blogosphere!
It was, of course, always permitted for women and girls to answer the Mass, and ring the bell. They sometimes knelt at the altar rail and answered from there. In convents, it was often the only option to do it this way. A religious sister often answered my Mass in the past. The women never entered the sanctuary during Mass, though.