Bells of Pride

Sitting in Mass early this morning, which is rare (the early part, not the Mass part), I listened with pride to the sound of the bells being rung at the far right edge of the sanctuary. They sounded so perfect to me. Why did the sound matter so much to me today? Every Sunday I hear that same sound at certain points within the Mass, a sound that can only be heard through the skilful wrist movements of a young man or young woman we know as Alter Servers.

This morning’s beautiful sound came courtesy of Olivia Frances, one of the very few remaining female Alter Servers in our parish.  As a sophomore in high school, she continues to serve in this ministry and I am most grateful. I am also most grateful that she has mastered the bells.

Catholic Mass bells

Catholic Mass bells

I can remember the first time I was there when she was assigned responsibility for the bells, years ago I guess. She had actually been avoiding them I do believe, which is why finally seeing her in the “bell position” brought a slight amount of panic to me. It wasn’t real or serious panic, it was that type of moment where you glance over to your husband and you both know what the other is thinking. Honestly, I don’t remember how the bells sounded that day. I’m sure they were exactly as expected for any alter server executing a responsibility for the first time, or with little experience.

But…I do know how they sounded this morning. They were, as I shared earlier, perfect to me. Of course, it’s not Olivia’s ability to ring the bells that incites such pride in me, but in the truth of my 15 year old daughter’s continued service to the Lord in this way. I’ve watched her grow not only in her skills as a server, but in her reverence, and in her leadership, teaching new young servers exactly what they need to know and do to become competent, reverent alter servers.

My dear Olivia, thank you for your many years of service to our parish community. The bells of pride were ringing loudly this morning and live on in my heart.

How Fast They Grow Up….

How Fast They Grow Up....

January 20, 2014
I quietly entered the girls’ rooms tonight after they were asleep to give them a kiss goodnight. With sadness I noted how quickly they’ve grown from little girls to young ladies. The sadness is in the truth – the truth that I can’t hold them back. And the truth that they’re not really mine to keep; they’re a gift from God and my time to love, hold, influence, praise, shelter and just be with them shortens daily. If you think about the regrets, the should-haves, the mistakes, it merely takes away from the present, but it’s hard not to have thoughts and wishes of things you might have done differently. Not impossible, just hard, so I bury it in the moment. I was close to my mom, and still am, and I want the same for my girls and me…but relationships are each unique and can’t be duplicated. I will cherish what is special about the relationship I have with each. I will respect that my role is as mother, not friend, however difficult it is sometimes to have to choose the former, which definitely has momentary impact on the latter. I love them so much. One day, when each walks in the room of a child gifted to them by God, just to offer a never-to-be-known goodnight kiss, they’ll completely understand as mothers the feeling in my heart and mind tonight.