Situational Awareness

First off, poor Bishop Moeddel has offered his resignation for reasons of ill health (vascular dementia), and it’s been accepted by the Vatican. I don’t really remember seeing the guy; but he was our auxiliary bishop, so it’s sad.

This increases the burden on poor Archbishop Pilarczyk, who is also not in good health. However, the archbishop will be coming up on retirement age soon, so maybe for just a few years it won’t be too heavy a workload. And heck, maybe the Vatican will appoint him a co-adjutor. I think that would be good, as the archdiocese is not exactly in spiffy shape, financially or in many other ways. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

The corporation which owns my company was recently merged with another large corporation, and we got a visit today from our big boss there. We were there to try and promote goodwill and interest between our company and the bigwigs at the corporation (without sucking up, because we have our pride). He was there to try to reassure us that we weren’t going to get sold off, because we make the stockholders money. It seemed to go well. Our company choir sang, too, which I always enjoy.

(What? You don’t have a company choir? Tsk.)

At one point, the big boss opened things up to a Q&A. This one lady asked a rather roundabout question, and the big boss immediately told her that he knew what she really was asking: Would the corporation be buying any other companies? (Like the competitor we keep joking they’re going to buy out, which we hope will turn out not to be a joke?) He told her that they were always looking for opportunities, but that if he told her anything more, he’d have to take her out and shoot her.

Which was pretty much what we expected, on that front. And yeah, it didn’t take telepathy, but it was nice to see that the big boss understood the situation.

It was very interesting to hear him answer other people, but I really wish that I’d known ahead of time that we’d be invited to ask questions. He says we can email him more questions, and I may well take him up on that. Telecommunications is in a funny place right now; and there are certain things going on which affect us as consumers, while other things may affect me as a podcaster. It would be interesting to know what’s likely to happen, or at least what the corporation would like to happen.

Finally, we had a famous visitor in my parish this weekend. I didn’t really see him, because I was cantoring and freaking about that. We had to put up numbers on the hymn boards, and then we had to change the numbers for the psalm we changed, and my parents weren’t there yet, would they get a seat? yes, and then there were dead roses in the vase by the statue of Mary and you can’t leave dead roses around, and then when I came back in from putting the roses in the trashcan, I noticed that some bunch of people had filled up the rows where the cantor usually sits, and one of them on the aisle was some older guy in a nice suit with some big old-person sunglasses on.

There are a lot of older guys in church, so you can see why the situational awareness did not trigger.

ANyway, I went and sat down by my parents, got up about six seconds later when the bells started to ring (we normally wait until the bells are winding down, but I was sitting further back and had further to walk), and headed for the ambo to announce what day in ordinary time it was and what the first hymn (okay, not technically a hymn, and this is one of those poetic genre things that bugs the music director, and I sympathize with technical term correctness although personally this one doesn’t worry me; so I have to say song just to be safe) was going to be. I realized at this point that pollen or my sinuses was bothering me, and that my lovely rehearsal in the A/C of the music office was not going to carry over to church. But I managed through the hymn (which the people sang!), noticed that one of the peace lilies right in front of the altar was dead (but it was far too late to do anything about that), sang the Gloria serviceably but not well (but the people sang, thank goodness!), and then went and sat down about four rows back from the front on the center aisle, which because of the short pews installed to let handicapped people sit where I was currently sitting, was right behind the guy in the black suit. Nice suit.

So then we had one of the shortest first readings of the year. I got up and went to the ambo to sing the psalm, which the organist for that Mass played from the front. Finally, something went well. I’m never really satisfied with how I do psalms, but sometimes I can get close to saying what the psalm says. And the people actually sang the refrain, so yay!

Back down the steps. My gazillionth profound bow of the day. (The tabernacle’s over on the side, but yeah, I genuflected plenty times before Mass, what with how many times I had to go across the front on errands.) Head over to the “alleluia microphone”. This also was good, because not only did I get to rejoice and alleluia a lot and the people did sing, but also I got to sing the actual proper verse for the day. Yay! Also, I stood properly sideways, which is much less distracting. You don’t look at the congregation that way, or wonder whether that old dude in the black suit and the funky sunglasses looks vaguely familiar.

So we all listen to the newly deaconed permanent deacon read the Gospel, and he’s a little stumbling over it, but nobody seems to worry about it; and Father still looks really pleased to see somebody, and maybe it’s somebody in that front row family, but who knows. Finally the Gospel’s done, and the organist and I retreat back to the safety of the loft….

But we’re met at the stairs by an excited friend of the organist, who’s excited about the same thing the organist is — along with everybody else, apparently. The actor Martin Sheen.

He sometimes attends Mass in our parish when he’s home in the summer, I’d heard, but I’d never seen him. Probably because I never come to 4:30. And I didn’t see him this time, either, except for a few glimpses. I’d kept walking by him again and again, and never even noticed he was there.

On the good side, it didn’t make me feel any more nervous or excited or anything. But don’t think it’s because I’m admirably detached, or strictly regard all my brothers in Christ as equally important. No, I was apparently too wrapped up in my own problems to really worry about any mere Hollywood star, or what he thought of me. (Though to be fair, we did have a lot of snafus that afternoon, so I did have real problems to worry about as well as the standard “I’m not doing a good job for God” worries.) I should have just handed the whole thing up to the Holy Spirit at the beginning of Mass, and I knew that perfectly well. But I didn’t, which was why I couldn’t keep my mind on praying instead of worrying. But I wasn’t paying attention to the real situation — ie, worshipping God.

So yeah, you can’t leave dead roses in front of Mary’s statue. But man, if that guy’d been a snake, he would’ve bit me! I lacked situational awareness, and not spotting Sheen was the least of that.


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