We took a bus, which was of course lots of fun! I talked with Evangeline a bit, read, listened to music, rehearsed the skit with Kathryn, and let my thoughts wander as I looked out the window. About an hour away from the shrine, Fr. F. put in a DVD of Archbishop Fulton Sheen's last Good Friday sermon. It was about pain and suffering, and now (as usual!) I can't remember much about it, but I do know it was very good and I got a lot out of it!
We got to the shrine at 11 am, the choir was dropped off at the church, and then the bus continued down to the lower level. The choir members headed up the many stairs to the church, but when we got there it was discovered that a Mass was being said. So we stood outside (in the hot sun! With no sunscreen! My fair Irish skin protesteth muchly!) and practiced "Christus Vincit" and Hessler's "Missa Secunda"with a few choir members of another apostolate. In about 20 minutes the Mass had ended, so we were able to go up into the choir loft.
Our choir loft stairs have only one flight, but the shrine has three, and there are the most amazing views through all the windows! We practiced in the beautiful, spacious choir loft until 12:15 pm, and then started the trek back down to the lower level parking lot so we could meet up with the procession, which would begin at 12:30 pm. Well, since the shrine is so HUGE and we got separated from the people we were walking with, Evangeline and I ended up down in the completely empty parking lot! The procession had most likely just left, but no matter how hard we listened all we could hear was picnickers talking and laughing. So finally we decided to just head back up to the church, and on our way down another of the myriad paths we spotted the procession right in front of us! So we quickly shrank back against the trees and joined up in the middle.
The Mass was absolutely beautiful. All of the apostolates' choirs sang various parts of the Mass, and I was so impressed by all of them! The very best part was when all the choirs sang "Christus Vincit" together. I need to email our choir director and see if she can send me a recording of it...you must hear it! It was truly awesome, and perfectly sums up the happiness of that day. The church is SO beautiful, and there was a prevailing feeling of happiness, and peace, and God's presence, and deep, abiding joy that has always been in your heart but only shows itself to you at certain moments. It was so, so wonderful. I just felt safe, and full of joy.
After Mass, we went to the gift shop, where I bought some holy cards and medals and my mom bought a book about St. Teresa of the Andes and one about St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. Then Evangeline and I rushed back to the lower level parking lot (again!) after a glance at my watch had sent me into a state of near panic...we hadn't eaten yet and were supposed to be at one of the chapels for Benediction in 15 minutes! As it turned out, however, Benediction didn't start until 4:20 pm instead of the scheduled 4:00 pm, so it was all for nothing. *shakes head*
After Benediction, I talked to some friends, and was able to say hello to Fr. M., who used to be the priest at our church until he was transferred two years ago. He's known me since I was 10 years old and has seen me through so much, so it was wonderful to see him again! Then it was back to the bus, where much silliness and laughter ensued. Good times!
Today, we practiced the skit outside after Mass. I must admit, I am nervous! I just know that I'm going to completely blank out when I get on stage. :/ Mustn't think like that! It will be fine! It will be great! There's absolutely no audience! *insert fake cheery smile* But the skit is coming together very nicely. Then Kathryn and I, as she said (probably fairly accurately!) walked about 2 miles around and around the church, talking about anything and everything! That was so much fun! :D
So that was my absolutely wonderful weekend. I'm so happy! God has allowed to just accept myself as I am...quiet, not much of a social butterfly...and I'm so grateful! For the longest time, I felt like I had to be one of those talkative, always-the-center-of-attention people, but that's just not who I am. I love those people, but I'm not one of them, and at long last, I'm realizing that this is who God created me to be and therefore it's perfectly fine. It's also just so much easier to enjoy myself at social functions, because I'm not always feeling like I'm a total loser for not flitting here and there and talking to everyone. So thank you, God:)
And now I'll start my Week of Style! Today there are two outfits, because I wanted to post yesterday's too.
SATURDAYSkirt: from Bethesda, a thrift store. Shirt: from Nice as New, another thrift store! I bought them on Friday, and I'm so happy to have a nice new outfit that really matches!
SUNDAYSkirt: from Goodwill. Shirt: from Goodwill. It's actually a cardigan, but I just wear it like a shirt sometimes. Scarf: from Fr. F., who gave a scarf to each of the ladies of the Altar and Rosary society after he came back from his visit to Ecuador. It's SO pretty!
As you can see, I don't do much with my hair. ;) I kinda like it down...that makes it easy to swoosh over your face if need be! :P