Today my husband and I had a very interesting morning. A totally unexpected experience, for sure!!
First, the morning mass at my parish this morning was being offered for the baby we lost last May, Brigit Ann. When someone is buried at our local Catholic cemetery, the cemetery sends the names of those people to the parish they came from to have a mass said. We never know when this Mass is going to be, so I usually just keep my eye on the bulletin each week until I finally see it. When we lost Zachary it was almost a year (and happened to be Christmas weekend when we were out of town) that a mass was said for him. So I expected it to take about as long for Brigit as well. Sure enough, in Easter Sunday's bulletin I noticed that the mass for her was being said on Wednesday morning (today). So we went this morning.
When we walked into the church today I noticed that there were many young people there from the school. I learned later that it was the 6th and 7th grade classes. Most of the adults attending where sitting in the side sections of the church, but I went ahead and found a seat a couple rows back from where all the middle schoolers were sitting. Mass proceeded just fine, although the homily was a little long as the priest was trying to engage all the kids. Again, I think this is fine and I didn't have to be at work or anything (although my husband did). Things finally got wrapped up and we started into the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
We didn't get very far before things kind of halted. I was a bit confused as to what was going on until the priest announced that we were under a tornado warning and we had to all go down to the basement.
Now, let me clarify. We have had several tornado warnings in the last several days, maybe the last week. Not one tornado (to my knowledge) has actually been spotted in the area of several counties around us. We've had some pretty high winds that have caused damage in places, but no tornadoes like they have been having lately in Texas and some other areas. I understand these warnings are important and we want people to be safe, but it's starting to get old! This morning it wasn't even raining when we drove to church and I never heard any rain while we were still upstairs in the church.
So we went down to the basement. I checked my phone and had a text message alerting me to the tornado warning in effect until 9am. It was about 8:45. By 9am I got another alert extending the warning until 9:15. At this point we joined a friend and her daughter in the nusery where they had the radio on. The warning then got extended to 9:45am.
By the way, the bread and wine from mass had not been consecrated yet when we got the first warning. I'm not sure if the priest just left everything on the altar or what happened, but while sitting in the basement, he did come down with the Eucharist that had been on reserve in the Tabernacle. It was nice to see that they take care to do this in an emergency. He set it on a table and took off his vestments and layed them on top of the bowl that held the Eucharist.
Finally, the 9:45am warning expired and the storms had moved far enough east that we were able to go back upstairs and resume Mass. The children were all taken back to their classes and many of the adults had apparently left the Church when we got the first warning. So a handful of people remained, of which we were two. When we got upstairs I also noticed that it appeared calm outside and was still not raining. Maybe a storm had passed over us while we were in the basement and unable to hear anything, but there was certainly no evidence of it.
Mass finished up and we headed out. We were starving at this point too, since we hadn't eaten all morning and it was now 10am or later. By the time we got home and had breakfast it was close to 11 when Hubby left for work. I'll be curious to know when he gets home whether his co-workers were even aware that there was a tornado warning this morning. Often they seem to have no idea.
I'm glad we were able to attend the Mass this morning and that Brigit could be remembered and prayed for by our church community. But, I'm really getting tired of all these tornado warnings, especially when they don't seem to be accompanied by any visible signs of danger. Being safe is important, yes, but I'm really starting to wonder about some of these warnings.
And I heard that we can expect more tornado wanrings this afternoon. At the moment the sky is a bit cloudy, but I seem plenty of blue sky too. It looks rather nice out!