On the evening of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the entire left side of the Church was a sea of black...black suits, that is. Seminarians from the Pontifical College Josephinum had turned out in great number for the celebration of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.
My three sons had spent the entire day, in joyful expectation of this lovely feast. As regular servers of the Extraordinary Rite, they are used to arriving very early to vest and practice their assigned position. Though all three are very enthusiastic participants in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the younger of the three, Michael Gabriel, is the most enthusiastic of all.
Michael made his first Holy Communion on the Feast of Christ the King, in 2006. Immediately following his reception of the Blessed Sacrament, he asked Father if he could begin serving the Mass. Eight years old...and he simply couldn't wait to ascend the steps to the altar!
Ever since, Michael has served every single Sunday and Holy Day, with the exception of maybe three or four Masses. The forlorn expression of this beautiful child when he can't serve is simply heartbreaking.
On Friday evening, as Michael was vesting, he had an absolutely catastrophic nosebleed. The Master of Ceremonies said it was one of the worst he had ever seen. Michael's surplice was horribly stained...and the bleeding just didn't seem to be stopping. Ten minutes before Mass, our dear MC had to make a really tough call. Michael could not serve. I can't adequately convey the extreme devastation of this poor boy, as he was lead down the steps, sobbing, into my arms.
Quickly, I ushered him down the aisle and took him to the Men's Room. A few moments later, sitting upon the steps as he tried to compose himself, a kind young man dressed in black, knelt beside him.
"Hi! My name is Joshua...what's your name?"
"It's nice to meet you Michael. I'm a seminarian from Josephinum. Do you know what a seminarian is?"
(still sniffling)"...y-y-yes..." (I tell this charming young man that for the past five years Michael has been telling his family that he is going to be a priest.)
"Well, Michael, tonight I can't serve the Mass either. And I don't even have the very good excuse of a bloody nose! Would you like to come and sit with all the seminarians? We'd like to be up there, too, but we can't! Would you like to sit with us?"
What an offer! Unfortunately, our poor bloody and embarrassed boy was too shy to take him up on the offer...but how precious!
That young man has no idea what an impression he made upon a young man who already has a very high opinion of those pursuing the priesthood.
Please pray for Joshua and all the wonderful young men like him...one day he just might be the priest offering you the Sacraments...may God increase his number!