As I've mentioned before I was raised in a bi-religious household. My dad is Catholic and my mom is Jewish. My parents raised my sister and I Catholic because it was a much more important issue to my dad than my mom. I was sent to Catholic schools from kindergarten through high school. I hated it. I hated the structure and rigidness. I hated being told what to wear. Once I left home my attendance to Church left something to be desired. A big part of it was the fact that I never felt comfortable at the Churches near where I lived. After I had Princess Bear (PB) I started attending church on a more regular basis. When PB was little this was no easy feat. No only kids require X amount of gear to just schlep them from one place to another but PB was also on an heart and apnea monitor. That required planning. I had to make sure the battery was charged enough to make it through the church service without setting off the low battery alarm. She was also on special formula that had to be thickened. There were all kinds of guidelines to making sure I could make a bottle and have it at the ready but hopefully not waste it either. All in all it worked fairly well and I was back to attending Church regularly when PB was a baby. There was another gap when she was bigger but since starting kindergarten we've been back to attending Church regularly and PB has been in Faith Formation (Sunday School/ CCD) classes. There have been years where I thought that the classes weren't teaching her much. Then there are years that I'm sure she's understanding what they're teaching her. A few weeks ago we were all sitting around in the family room discussing Easter plans. My dad said something like "Easter? What are you talking about?" since he hadn't been paying attention at the beginning of the conversation. Before my mom or I could say a word PB looks at him and said "Yes! Easter! You know Jesus dying for you so he can be raised again on Easter? To wipe out your sins! Yes that's Easter!". It was pretty comical to hear her school my dad who is Joe Catholic on Easter.
Where am I going with this? My dad and I always go to the Tenebrae service at our Church on Good Friday. It's a service steeped in tradition and always makes me think. It's a service that goes back to the ninth century. That is a long time ago. I'm sure if Catholics from the ninth century were to time travel to modern times the service now would be very similar to the services in their time. There is something very calming and comforting about that. I know that organized religion isn't for everybody and that's fine. For me there is something very comforting about saying the same prayers my grandparents did and their grandparents did and my great grandchildren will say as well. One of my friends and I were talking about the rituals in the Church and of mass itself. She made the comment that she could walk into a Catholic mass anywhere in the world and while she wouldn't understand the language she'd still know what was happening because of the ritual nature of the Catholic Church. As I get older I appreciate and find reassurance in those rituals and traditions.
We attended the Easter vigil Mass on Saturday night. Again this is a ceremony full of traditions. One side of my loves it. Especially the part starting off in candlelight. The downside of this particular service is that it is very, very long. It is when the people that having been studying to come into the church through baptism or continue their journey in faith through confirmation are welcomed into the parish. The upside of attending this service is that it leaves Easter morning wide open for PB to get on her egg hunt and have fun just being a kid. The downside is that is a very, very, very long service. Like just shy of 2 and a half hours. This was the first year that PB attended this service and she really handled it like a champ. I was very proud of her.
After the vigil mass we got home a bit after 10:30pm and it was a choir to get PB settled enough to go to sleep. We finally compromised and I told her that she could stay up and read as long as she didn't come out of her room. I just wanted to eat dinner and then hide eggs and get her Easter gifts ready. It worked fairly well. Also PB is old enough to know that getting me up at the butt crack of down to watch her hunt to her Easter eggs is NOT going to fly. Same thing with Christmas. The day before we pick a time that she can feel free to rouse the rest of the family out of bed and let the festivities begin. We agreed that 9am was a good time to start off Easter. She did wake up at 6:30 am and after being reminded once she chilled until 9am. Definitely one of the perks of having an older kiddo!
She had a ball doing all her Easter morning stuff. The Easter bunny as usual was very good to her. Then there were gifts from me and my parents. The kid had a serious haul. It got better when we arrived at my sisters house. She had gifts from my sister, my sisters brother in law and sister in law and my sisters in laws. The kid seriously made out. At one point she looked at me and asked if Jesus was already raised. I was proud of her for putting some thought into and remembering what the day was really about!
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