As Holy Family in McGregor has only one Mass, Sunday at 8 a.m., with my disability and attending to my dog, Suto, it is a little early for these old bones to get started.
So I sit at home and attend Catholic Mass on LWTN at 11 a.m. or 6 p.m. It is great to have these programs on TV for us older people and shut-ins. And I am grateful to Deacon Mike Barta for bringing me the Communion Host and Mass prayers once a month and to other shut-ins. Besides prayers, we enjoy discussing other issues of interest as friends do.
I was not raised in a religious family. A local pastor did hold church services in the Bain schoolhouse and taught Bible studies. All I remember is at our church program the pastor was pleased we knew the Bible chapters backwards and as he instructed us, we all turned our backs to the audience and started reciting the apostles’ books from the Bible!
My first husband, Bernie Ryan, rode the same school bus I did so we knew each other well. He always sat in the second bench of the six middle benches while the rest of us sat in the long benches that ran along both sides of the bus. One day I decided to sit in his place instead, as I got on before he did. When he got on he literally picked me up and sat me on the outside bench. I said, “I will get you for that!” and I did. After four years of dating and several weeks of catechism, I became a Catholic. We were married for 47 years before he passed away.
During those years we had seven children and I became active in St. James Church, helping with funeral dinners, serving as a Ecumenical Minister at St. James in Aitkin. I remember the first time father asked me to bring the blessed host. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do! Father whispered,”In the little room off to the side in the little vestibule” So I quietly went to the room, turned the key opening the small door, genuflected, and carefully took the host and carried it to the alter. Another lesson learned. Things were different in those days. The alter boys and Ecumenical ministers met with father in the side room where we said a prayer before Mass started. There were three ways to receive Holy Communion: the host only, host with wine following or the host dipped in the wine, then given to the person.
After Mass was over we ministers took the Communion articles and wine cup to the side room, cleaning it as instructed. I really miss serving on the alter. I felt honored to be able to serve God. I depend a lot on God. He is always there when I need Him.
I was part of the group that discussed the possibility of building a larger church, with the thought that St. James being the “hub” when the shortage of priests caused several churches to be combined. I was no longer a member of St. James when the new and bigger church was built.
After Bernie died I met another “Bernie” when I was covering the vintage snowmobile run in Palisade. After we married we lived on a farm near McGregor. I still kept up with the church, was secretary of CCW and served as Ecumenical minister until my health became worse. I attended Holy Family when I could until it changed, and I started taking part in the Catholic Mass on LWTN.
One of the biggest events in McGregor is Wild Rice Days. The Church serves a sloppy joe dinner with chips, pie, ice cream and drinks, a bakery sale, sometimes a silent auction and a raffle. As a clown, I sold raffle tickets for the church and for the Lions, going from one place to another and on Saturday of Wild Rice Days, I sit at a table in front of the church selling tickets so I have a perfect place to watch the parade.