Last weekend I went to Phoenix, Arizona, for my aunt’s 90th birthday party. This is my mother’s last sibling and the only other one who came to America. The party was great, and I loved hearing plenty of stories from my aunt about the old country and what it was like coming to New York in the late 1940s. My aunt, happily, is very alert and capable, and still has her sunny demeanor and great sense of humor.

One highlight, for her more than for me, was Mass. We went to her parish church, and this was her first trip to Mass in several months. Her parish had recently built a new building (growing suburban parish) which she had not yet seen but was anxious to see. Auntie gets around in a motorized scooter and simply can’t make it to Mass on her own. A dear and conscientious shirt-tail relative takes her occasionally, but, that’s life when you have limited mobility.

The Mass began with handshaking, and had all that stirring show-tune music–it stirs up strong feelings–that we love so much. I am not writing to complain, except maybe about my own proclivity to complain. My aunt was soooo happy to *be there* at Mass, and not just to watch it on TV. She thanked me several times for taking her, but of course it was a privilege for me.

Just going to Mass with someone who wants to go but cannot very often really gave me a little spiritual insight into how lucky we are. We are obligated to go weekly, and for some it is a real trial to attend a groovy modern liturgy. But to think about not being able to go to Mass very often…just made me fell lucky (blessed, really) to live within walking distance of three churches.