A weekly reminder at the beginning of Maui Mass is that you should remain in your pew until after the priest leaves the altar. Some Sundays, you get a priest with a long-winded homily. By the time he gives the final blessing, we’re ready to bolt. But we can’t.
The priest returns to the front of the congregation, “Are there any visitors in church today? Please come forward.” He asks each person where they’re from and leads a blessing over them. Each visitor gets a lei and returns to their seat.
Next, “Is anyone celebrating a birthday this week? Please come forward.” The priest gives them a blessing and everyone sings “Happy Birthday.” They each get a lei and return to their seats.
Finally, “Are any couples celebrating their wedding anniversary? Please come forward.” He asks each couple how long they’ve been married, there’s a blessing, they all get a lei and they return to their seats.
Much to the delight of today’s gathering, there was a guy who came up for all three blessings! Before dismissing the last group of couples, the priest winked at a woman in the pair next to the man, “Stay close to your husband and away from this guy. He’s already been ‘lei’d’ three times this morning!”
Yep. He went there! Hilarious!
These weekly ten minutes of celebration bugged us at first. Now we find it charming. We haven’t raised our hands when they ask for visitors but Frank and I did join a large group of married couples on Valentine’s Day for a blessing and renewal of vows. It was nice. We left feeling part of the community. We left feeling good.