We received an email at 10am on Monday morning advising us that Cardinal Marc Ouellet would be celebrating Mass in our building chapel at noon. What a blessing…to have the Primate of Canada celebrating Mass for archdiocesan staff less than 24 hours after the big Centennial Celebration at GM Place!
After exiting a meeting, I bolted down the steps and into chapel at 30 seconds past noon (according to my watch). Upon entering the chapel, I placed a host into the chalice (customary at our building Masses) and stood at the back, as all of the pews were full (I guess my watch is a lot slower than everyone else’s). I knew the tiny chapel would be crowded, and sure enough it was a who’s who of archdiocesan staff: Directors, Coordinators, Consultants, Superintendents, support staff, visitors, and a certain web-project-specialist Goddaughter of mine.
Youth ministry consultant extraordinaire Gerard was lucky to scoop the last seat: the old kitchen chair behind the organ (right beside where I was standing). He politely offered his seat to me once, but I politely declined recognizing that he is older than me…haha.
Just before offertory, I casually grabbed 3 more unconsecrated hosts and put them into the chalice without anyone noticing. As 2 of my co-workers took the chalice and cruets to His Eminence at the altar, I was confident in my reasoning: in the rush to get seats, a few people likely forgot to place a host in the chalice. Plus, the visitors may not have known to place a host in for themselves.
As we made our way to communion a few minutes later, Gerard and I were the last 2 people, by virtue of being nice guys and letting everyone else go first. Or more accurately, by virtue of being the 2 guys in the corner. Regardless, just as we began to make our way up the aisle, I turned to him causally and said “I put a few more hosts in the chalice.”
The look Gerard shot me was classic Gerard. For those of you that know him…it was the D-Lo. “Why’d you do that?” he asked quickly.
“Trust me” I replied.
So we approached the altar…the last 2 people to receive the body of Christ. Sure enough, just as Cardinal Ouellet gave communion to the person directly in front of me, he looked down to find no more Jesus. He politely gave me the “hold on a sec, don’t go anywhere” motion with his hands and I obliged as the sacristan rushed to find the key to the tabernacle. As I stood there, waiting patiently, I convinced myself that I would be fine receiving a blessing if they couldn’t find more consecrated hosts.
Alas, the tabernacle was opened, more Jesus was found, and Gerard and I finally received the Body of Christ.
As Gerard and I were leaving the chapel after Mass, I proudly proclaimed my communion anticipation, sharing just 4 simple words with him:
“I told you so.”