Hail Mary, full of grace

June 16, 2012

I have mentioned before that I am part of a choir at St. Thomas More Catholic Church here in Austin. Our choir director has decided that we take a summer vacation so we haven't had rehearsal on Tuesday evenings for 3 weeks. I feel like telling him how much he's wrecked my life by doing this, but I can't figure out how to do that without it seeming to be as pathetic as it actually is. I counted on those Tuesday evening rehearsals; they kept me going from week to week. I've decided that my life definitely needs structure or I lie morosely around my apartment or go out and spend unChristian kinds of money on food and drink – mostly drink.

It's just ironic that we were preparing for Easter at the same time that my CRHP team prepared for our retreat weekend, that I was working so hard for both of them and now they're both over at the same time. It would have been nice if they had been spread out a little.

Last Sunday evening Ren, the Muppet-like choir director, emailed us that one of our members passed away. It was such a shock; I kept rereading the email because I was certain that he meant that her mother had passed away and that I was simply misreading it. But, no matter how I read it, it always came out the same and I had to accept that one of my choir sisters was no longer with us. She was also a member of the funeral choir with STM and now they are going to be singing for her.

Ren wrote the email very late on Sunday and I read it Monday morning at work. I was a little numb for most of the day. I went by the church to talk to Ren and offer a hug, but he was off helping give mass somewhere. I felt lost, like I needed interaction. I told a couple of people and they were sympathetic, but somehow I needed something else.

So, I texted my CRHP brother, Bill, who is the facilitator for the new CRHP team going through formation. When I went through formation there were men who got together to pray the Rosary before our meetings and we began to make that an optional part of our meetings – come 30 minutes early and pray together. I had no idea that men liked praying the Rosary. I mean men in general. I would never have thought that it was something men did; I've always associated it with women.

I asked Bill if they still prayed the Rosary before their meeting and if I could join them. His answer was a simple "Yes and yes". He didn't ask why or question it at all; he just welcomed me to join them. Before we begin the leader always asks if there are any special intentions and I said 'for the repose of the soul of Regina'. A few people heard me and we discussed a little who she was, though none of them seemed to know her. But, we prayed. Over and over we prayed Our Father and Hail Mary and over and over men’s voices rose up in prayer asking Mother Mary to pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

When we were finished Bill walked with me to the door. He asked what I was going to do for the evening. Of course I didn't know. Make dinner, go to bed. But, I told him why I had come and he listened and I thanked him for letting me join them. There is something comforting about being with others that you know and praying the Rosary together. That was what I needed, and this is why I'm Catholic.

Rest in peace, Regina.

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