For our first Friday at school scheduled at 7:15 am was la misa or the Catholic mass. With the chatty children I’d been with all week, I wasn’t sure how this would go. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement.
All the classes filed in to a very hot and humid open-air auditorium. Up on the stage were the altar, flowers, and the band. The band was made up of a variety of teachers playing piano, drums, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, as well as a few singers. Having gone to my fair share of Catholic masses, I have heard a variety mass songs, but hearing the songs sung in Spanish with a Latino rock flair made them really outstanding. We were handed our song sheets, and you’d never think that 6th grade boys would sing along, but they did!
Right at the beginning of la misa a large monarch butterfly flew up and landed on the stage right next to the priest. It just sat there throughout the mass as if it was listening to the homily, and then towards the end of the mass it fluttered off.
When I was younger I remember taking my friend Sal, who is Jewish, to a Catholic mass. She thought it was the funniest thing that during the offering of peace and everyone walks around and shakes hands. I mention this because the drummer in the band for la misa was an atheist from Canada who doesn’t really speak much Spanish. I kept observing him throughout the mass to look for his reactions to the whole process. He seemed to be just as happy with things as anyone. I was curious to know if it was odd for him so I asked. He said it wasn’t weird, although he couldn’t exactly understand what was going on. He did, however, say he liked the music and that he’d play with the band for masses in the future.
The students were well behaved for the whole hour-long mass. Amazing, but true. I had to laugh though, because right after the last song, the priest started talking on his cell phone while still on the stage.
In summary: a little bit of Spanish rock band + attentive butterflies and children = doing Catholic mass the right way.
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