Wednesday, April 20, 2016
TO HAT OR NOT TO HAT THAT IS THE QUESTION
I thought to myself, self, should I say something to him before Mass begins. Then I thought, no, I didn't want to say something negative to him the first time he saw me or correct him. So I let it pass.
Throughout the Mass, he seem rather pious and thoughtful, although I noticed he took his hat off and put it on again a number of times. It distracted me to no end not only because he was doing this, but because Sister Lillian in the first grade would have killed any of us if we did anything similar. She ingrained in me the proper etiquette for men and hats!
And of course this is reason 130,003,244,029,858,092 for ad orientem!
Then at Holy Communion time he was in the other line from mine, approaching with his hat on. Since my line was shorter at the end, he changed to my line, by first taking his hat off, genuflecting and approached me. I could tell he didn't seem to know what he should do next. So I asked him, "are you Catholic" and he said quietly, "no, this is my first Mass ever!" I said, "I can't give you Holy Communion, but may I bless you? He said yes, I gave him a blessing by placing my hand on his head and making the Sign of the Cross with my thumb on his forehead. He was a nice looking young man but seem to be overwhelmed. He returned to his pew, put his hat back on and waited to pray the Rosary with our little Rosary Group after Mass.
Sometimes, we can get all bent out of shape by etiquette that we can turn people away by correcting them the first time we meet them.
I am glad I didn't say anything to him. I doubt we will see him again. But if I do, I will introduce myself to him and thank him for visiting.
I am puzzled though that he made a wonderful and proper genuflection to the tabernacle before switching communion lines. I noticed at the final blessing that he blessed himself although with his left hand. He did not kneel at the kneeling times, but sat, but observe other postures.