GARDEN CITY SC (CR News) — It’s hard to believe a week has already passed. The weatherman was calling for a rare winter storm along the South Strand just last Saturday (January 15). The wind was already howling and the waves were crashing hard on the beaches as we made our way to St. Michaels church.
We had decided to attend the vigil mass not far from our campsite on that stormy weekend. Apparently, every other Catholic along the coast had the same idea. It is no exaggeration to say that all but two or three seats in the entire church were occupied. And there were people standing in the aisles across the back and the side walls too. A very large crowd was on hand for mass that evening!
The priest welcomed everyone as the mass began. He commented that he had not seen the church this full since the Christmas Eve mass.
This would be a good time to remind everyone that a large part of the growth of the Catholic Church in the South recently was due to folks moving away from the Northeast and the Midwest. Some had moved because their jobs had relocated, while others simply had retired to a warmer climate.
With the immigration of folks to the coastal regions of the Chucktown Diocese, there also came the culture and habits of these folks. And Father apparently understood that point very well.
As the mass was being celebrated, the church understandably grew warmer and warmer. One-by-one, the people all around us began shedding their coats and jackets. That’s when we began to notice it!
On this “Wildcard Playoff Evening,” nearly every one of them had a garment on that showed their allegiance.
Philadelphia Eagles jerseys! New England Patriot sweaters! Green Bay Packers sweatshirts! The Chiefs! The Bengals! The Buffalo Bills! The Steelers! And there was even a Cardinals shirt in the congregation too!
Not counting the most sacred Blessed Sacrament, the best part of the evening mass came at the very end. It occurred during the Concluding Rites, just before the Blessing and Dismissal — and immediately after Father’s admonition to all that we should drive safely and not get in a hurry to get home to watch the games (one of which had apparently already started).
That’s when Father paused to remind his flock which teams were playing this weekend. One at a time, he announced what day and time each game was and what network each game would appear on.
Father concluded his public service announcement with the Blessing, Dismissal, and processional (recessional).
We returned to our campsite satisfied with the knowledge that, if ever there were priests who knew their people, Father certainly would have to be counted among them.
That’s our story, and we’re sticking to it. It’s cool to be Catholic! COOL2B!