Sunday, October 7, 2012

Get Thee To the Church: St. Thomas Aquinas, Charlottesville, Virginia

It was a spur-of-the moment decision to attend Mass here that Saturday evening.

We were in town that day for the Penn State vs. University of Virginia football game (our annual trek to a Penn State game--this year we didn't need to go far).  On our way to the stadium we saw this sign:

Sitting in a chair on the sidewalk were two Dominican friars--one of whom had a sign next to him identifying himself as "Friar 'Hoo"--smiling and waving at the fans going by.  "Hmmm,"  we said to each other; "Maybe we can go to Mass here after the game."  I was already committed to attend Sunday Mass at our home parish the next day though, to sign the Profession of Faith that the teachers and catechists in the Arlington diocese were asked to do this year.  (You may remember hearing about a few catechists at St. Ann's Parish who made such a stink a few months back about being asked to--gasp--believe and teach and live the teachings of the Catholic Church.  Oh, horrors.)  We figured we would just wait and go on Sunday.

After the game (which the Nittany Lions lost to the Virginia Cavaliers by ONE POINT, darn it), as we were walking back to the car, ominous dark clouds rolled in.  The wind picked up, and it began spitting rain.  Just as we were walking past St. Thomas Church, it began to rain harder.  We looked at each other and said, "Hey!  Let's go to church!"  We ran inside looking like a bunch of drowned rats, but it was dry inside, and beautiful, and the Mass was lovely.  (Then again, Mass is always lovely.  Jesus is there.)

As I was walking around after Mass snapping photos, a young friar told me there was a lovely chapel across the hall, and I should be sure to check that out.  That was not to be, however, because Joe and the boys balked at having to wait even longer for me.  There were sandwiches back at the car after all, waiting to be eaten.

(I think this was the chapel the young friar was referring to--from the outside.)

Before we left home that morning, Joe warned the boys that since this was the first Penn State game we've been to since the abuse scandal broke, we might see some protesters and we might have some unkind things said to us because we were wearing our Penn State clothing.  I am happy to report that the atmosphere during the tailgating and at the game was happy and festive, and the Penn State fans--and there were a lot of us--were made to feel welcome.  We even saw people from both sides tailgating together.  At Mass, Father (Friar 'Hoo) asked for a couple of volunteers to bring up the gifts.  One was wearing a Penn State jersey, and the other had on a UVA t-shirt.  Father remarked at how fitting that was.  And by the time we left the church, the rain had stopped.   It was a great way to wrap up a fantastic Saturday, don't you think?

And I did go to church the next day, and signed the Profession of Faith.  I hope Father R. didn't notice me sneaking out early...

Happy Sunday everyone, and get the to church!  (And no leaving early.)

1 comment:

  1. Hi. I found you through 7 quick takes. I'm lurking around and love all these Church pictures. Would like to participate in a Catholic love story link up at my blog Please shoot me an email if you are interested


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