When the Saints Go Rushing Out

July 2, 2006 @ 3:51 am | Filed under:

So here’s how it went. Rose’s First Communion took place at a Saturday morning Mass, which is generally smaller than a Sunday Mass. Only a handful of devoted daily-Mass-goers make it to church that early on a Saturday morning. Our family and friends filled the two front rows, right in front of the priests. Rose was beaming and beautiful, quietly shining with joy on her big day.

Mass began, and then—right in the middle of the opening prayers—someone’s cell phone started ringing behind me. Well, not ringing so much as singing—its ringer was set to play a brassy, up-tempo When the Saints Go Marchin’ In. I could hear it right behind me where my brother-in-law, Pete, was sitting. I shot him a glare: Honestly, Pete. We’re in CHURCH. Don’t you know better than to turn off the ringer before Mass begins? But the song keeps ringing, Pete does nothing, and EVERYONE IS SITTING HERE LISTENING TO THIS FOOL’S PHONE INTERRUPT THE PRAYER. I am mortified. Over my shoulder I shoot Pete another glare—and that’s when it dawns on me that the music is coming from MY DIAPER BAG.

It’s MY phone.

Which I forgot to turn off.

Because I’m the fool.

Ha, and I thought I was mortified before.

I remember that I set the ringer to play Oh When the Saints whenever Scott’s other brother Jay calls, to be funny, because Jay is a saintly man. The kind of saintly person who, say, gets up at five in the morning to drive three hours to the hastily scheduled Baptism of his newest niece and the First Communion of her big sister, after getting home from the airport at midnight the night before. The kind of person who jumps into the car for a trip like this even without knowing all the firm details such as what time Mass begins, which is why he was calling.

Oh Lord I want to be in that number…

All this is flashing through my mind, the horror of realizing that the phone is buried under a bagful of diapers and burp cloths and spare outfits and our current read-aloud and a stray shoe and the cheese knife with the cow on the handle which for some reason Wonderboy fervently believes belongs in my bag and keeps standing on tiptoe to retrieve from the silverware drawer so he can put it with the diapers and wipes as is right and proper…all this, flashing through my mind while the priest is speaking the solemn and reverent words to begin the celebration of the Mass on this important day.

When the saints go marching in…

I knew I couldn’t get to the phone without dumping out the entire bag and then, you know, there’d be a cheese knife clattering on the pew to the accompaniment of the tinny saints…so I did what any panicked and humiliated mother with no composure whatsoever would do: I snatched up the bag and RAN OUT OF THE SANCTUARY. Oh yes I did. RAN. Right down the center aisle with all eyes upon me, clutching my merrily tooting bag to my chest. Flung open the door and hurled the bag into the lobby like it contained a live grenade.

Slunk back up the aisle to my seat in shame. Rose, serene and lovely in her Communion veil, gazed at me reproachfully. Honestly, Mama, don’t you know you’re supposed to turn off your phone before going into church?

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13 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Queen of Carrots says:

    We attended a church in a little country valley that never gets cell phone reception. My in-laws were holding a graduation for one of my brothers-in-law, and the pastor was speaking, when, by some miraculous intervention, the *pastor’s* cell phone went off. No, it wasn’t anything important.

  2. JoVE says:

    But did Jay get there?

  3. Mary Beth Patnaude says:

    You deserve A LOT of credit! You were able to accomplish getting 5 kids (with at least one very nattily dressed) to an early morning church service, AND you REMEMBERED the diaper bag! That’s more than I can do, and I live across the street from the church! Great story. Hope the rest of the day was blessed! OOPS! Time to get my “not so nattily dressed” boys to church.

  4. Lissa says:

    That was the funniest part! It turned out he was calling from the church parking lot. After he got no answer he spotted Pete’s car and figured we had all gone inside already. (Bear in mind none of us had any idea he was coming–it was an awesome surprise, especially since he’d brought his daughter along.) So at some point after I flung the bag into the lobby, the two of them slipped inside the church and took seats in the back. Pete happened to glance back and there was Jay sitting in a pew. Pete said it was like the family edition of Where’s Waldo.

  5. Karen E. says:

    Oh, Lissa! It could happen to anyone. I’ve gotten very forgiving of hearing cell phones in Mass for exactly that reason!

    It will make a great story for years to come. 😉

  6. Mrs. Happy Housewife says:

    Well, at the very least, it was an appropriate song for church. 🙂

  7. xixi says:

    I was thinking the same thing — at least it wasn’t Shakira “Hips Don’t Lie” or um.. “My Humps” or whatever it is by the Black Eyed Peas.

  8. Maria says:

    At least it is something that she will never forget….

  9. Kathryn says:

    Oh Lissa, I empathise with the humiliation. HOW I empathise! I am the person whose cell phone started playing the Can Can (of all things!) while I was in the confessional. That was on the morning of my dd’s First Communion. Well, I ask you … how are mother’s expected to remember something as mundane as a cell phone on their daughter’s First Communion day? An entirely understandable lapse, IMO.

  10. Melissa Wiley says:

    Yes! See! That’s exactly right. I forgot to mention that Mass was at *8:30 in the morning.* It was a wonder I got all five kids there ON TIME, dressed up, and remembered to bring the christening gown for Rilla, not to mention the camera. With all that going on, who can keep track of niggling details like whether the cell phone is on? Besides, no one ever calls me on my cell phone, let alone at 8:30 on a Saturday morning.

    Ah, the sweet smell of rationalization in the morning… 🙂

  11. Melissa Wiley says:

    Oh, and the CAN-CAN???? That is too painfully funny. LOL. At least mine was sort of appropriate for the situation….

    My kids want to know what I’m sitting here giggling for.

  12. Meredith says:

    This is hysterical, only for you on that day my dear!! God Bless You and your sweet Rose!! I’m LOL!

  13. Spunky says:

    Too funny!