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I went to mass on Saturday night for Palm Sunday vigil.  I like to go to mass on Saturday nights because then I can be lazy on Sundays and sleep late.  My husband didn’t want to go, and asked me to stay since we were at the Pollada, but we had missed mass the previous weekend so I told him I would go by myself and come back.

I don’t go to mass by myself very much.  It’s awkward somehow since I’m Protestant.  When my husband is there, I feel like he’s my excuse.  “Well, I married into this Catholic family, and this is their family church, so here I am.”  When he’s not with me, it just seems somehow obvious that I am a poser, or out of place.

I don’t know why I go to mass instead of to a Protestant church.  I cannot take communion – I only get blessed by the priest.   The priest that married us recognizes me and knows why I’m there, but when it’s a different priest I wonder if they are speculating as to why I am there each week in the communion line, silently shaking my head with my arms crossed when they go to give me the eucharist.  They don’t give me a hard time – they just make the sign of the cross over me and say a blessing, but still I wonder how they interpret my presence each week.  Are they thinking, “Who is this girl who will never let me give her communion?”  Or have they caught on that I’m a Protestant and don’t belong?

I like the way there are rules for mass.  I like the formulas and the ritual and the beauty of the little church where I was married.  I like having a time to kneel down and pray silently.  Usually when I arrive, genuflect, and kneel at my pew I feel this sense of entering God’s presence.  I literally think something along the lines of, “Hey, God.  It’s good to see you again this week.”  When I walk into other churches, like the Protestant megachurch that I went to before I started going to mass each week, I just don’t feel that same sense of recognition, like God lives there.

This is holy week, so basically you’re supposed to be at church on Palm Sunday, Maundy (Holy) Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, and Easter.  This is the week that the adult catechumens will be welcomed into communion with the church.  They have been preparing since September.  The next set of classes starts in September, and I’ve been debating if I should go.  I’d like to actually take communion, but then I wonder if I could truly believe that it is the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.  I don’t like the church’s stance on gay marriage.  As a Protestant, I can just believe in the bible and not make any formal confession of faith that aligns me with people who oppose gay marriage.  Somehow studying to become a Catholic would feel like a betrayal of certain social issues that I support.  I don’t know what I will do in September, but I was sad to be sitting alone at mass this week and unsure of what I was doing there.

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