Daily Mass – rural style: Friday


Stephen Miller blogs about his family’s adventures – and challenges – in attending daily Mass in a rural area. This is day five in a six-day series, as Stephen says, because “Sunday is a given.”

I have the day off today because I worked a (very) long day on Tuesday.  I’m really looking forward to mowing 2 acres of rough-and-tumble lawn today (do I sound as sarcastic as I did when I was a teenager? Some things never change).

Today’s Mass offerings are:  Browerville at 8:30 am (10 miles away), Swanville at 8 am (13 miles away), Long Prairie at 8:15 am (14 miles away), and Flensburg at 8 am (16 miles away).

Interior, St. Mary of Mount Carmel, Long Prairie.

We don’t often go to Christ the King in Browerville so we decide to celebrate there.  After the debacle of Thursday, missing Mass because of the seasonal change in the time of the Mass, I decided to double-check the Mass times by going to the parish website and reading the latest bulletin.  It’s not often I say this, but:  thank goodness for computers!  According to Christ the King’s bulletin, they cancelled their Friday Mass this week.   So I go to St. Mary of Mt. Carmel’s website and verify that the Mass time there is still 8:15 am.  All of this took some time because of the snail’s pace of our Internet connection.  I want to rant about the inequity of high-speed Internet access among rural folk, but that’s a blog for another day.  Of course after all this I walked into the living room and there, on the coffee table, was the latest bulletin from St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Church.  I didn’t really have to go to their website after all.  Insert sound of man slapping his forehead!

The drive in was beautiful.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and “that ole weepin’ willa is laughin’ at me.”  It was that kind of morning.  I was tempted to belt it out like Gordon McRae, but prudence, which is not always my strongest virtue, won out.

The church was not packed like it was on Wednesday.  There are the regular homeschoolers and the seasoned veterans.  We take a pew near the front (you know, closer to Jesus) and kneel.

Stained glass and candles at St. Mary of Mount Carmel, Long Prairie.

In a few minutes Father Ken Riedeman comes out and we stand and Mass begins.  I think that Father Ken could have a side-job of being a reader for an audio book publisher.  He has a wonderfully deep, clear, resonant voice.

Father Ken also told a good joke during the homily:  There were 3 people from 3 different countries arguing about whose country was the greatest.  The first person said “Our country is the greatest.  We were the first country to put a man in space!”  The second person said “No, our country is the greatest.  We were the first to put a man on the moon!”  The third person said “That’s nothing.  Our country is the greatest because we’re going to put a man on the sun!”  The other two looked at him and said “Are you crazy?  You can’t put a man on the sun!  He’ll burn up!”  The third man smiled and said “No he won’t.  We’re going to do it at night!”

As Father Ken said, St. Philip Neri (whose feast day fell today) probably would have loved that joke (after a few hours of explaining ballistics, astrophysics and planetary science).

Our Lady of Guadalupe statue at St. Mary of Mount Carmel in Long Prairie.

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe nos bendice al salir. ¡Somos tan afortunados de pertenecer a esta parroquia! (Our Lady of Guadalupe blesses us on her way out. We are so fortunate to belong to this parish!)

Stephen Miller
-Member of St. Mary of Mount Carmel Parish, Long Prairie.
-Not a native Minnesotan.
-Not a cradle Catholic.
-Former Librarian.
-Likes kids, somewhat baffled by adults.
-Married to the smartest and most beautiful woman in the world with whom we have six astonishing children.

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