Sunday, September 02, 2007

I just discovered that there is exactly one (1) situation when it's appropriate to operate a cell phone during a Mass.

Today, one of our parishoners collapsed in the pew partway through the Liturgy. We were into the part known as the Prayers of the Faithful, which happens within a few minutes after the end of the homily (sermon). It's the part where various prayer petitions are recited, followed by the congregation responding in unison (usually, "Lord, hear our prayer") after each one. It's a part of the Mass where everyone is standing, and has been for a while, so it wasn't a case where going from sitting to standing caused an abrupt drop in the parishoner's blood pressure.

The priest, as well as most of the people who were seated nearby, went over to assist. Almost immediately, I heard someone reciting the address of the church, and saw that one of the people who'd gone to help was talking into his cell phone. "Good", I thought, "someone took care of calling 911." If I hadn't seen him on the phone, I was going to get my own phone and dial it myself.

Once it was established that the woman had regained consciousness, knew her name, knew who the priest was, etc, she was convinced by Father and the other congregants to lie still and rest until the paramedics arrived.

Then Father went through a Reader's Digest version of the rest of the Mass. He announced that in order to complete the Liturgy as soon as possible, he was only going to do the absolutely necessary parts of the Mass. It's just as well that we had no musicians today, as I'm sure the hymns would have been dispensed with to save time.

From that point onward, I know we did the Consecration, Lord's Prayer, Doxology, and Lamb of God. (I forget if we did the Holy, Holy or not.) Then we had Communion and the closing prayer. That's pretty much it.

So now I have an idea of what the Evelyn Wood Speed-Praying Mass might look like. ;o)

The paramedics did arrive, shortly before Mass finished. The parishoner didn't look particularly willing to accompany them to the hospital. That's not surprising -- I don't think anyone in their right mind WANTS to go to the emergency room. I do hope they talked her into going, though. People don't suddenly collapse in a faint when there's absolutely nothing amiss. I think she'll be better off having a doctor check into her symptoms, and correct the problem so it doesn't happen again. I hope she's OK,

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