Gaudate or the third Sunday of Advent is usually a pretty festive affair, even at the church in my hometown. However, when you combine a few inches of powder light snow and 30-40 mile an hour winds you get an old fashioned South Dakota blizzard. Fifty-two faithful souls made it to church last Sunday...one of the ladies in the back counted just in case. We shared a full Mass with quite the intimate little crowd. We even sang without any organ and took up a collection without an church envelopes. Most of the folk had spent the morning digging out of snowbanks and scrapping ice from windshields, making it to church itself was a miracle.
After Mass the celebration continued, the cafe was open! Half the attendees plowed on over for coffee, carmel rolls, and a hearty breakfast. It was wonderful to hear such a hearty din of laughter, teasing, and winter stories. That is a part of small town life that I do miss...you walk into the cafe and everyone knows you, your parents, your siblings and their families, and they know what you or your family has done even before you do it! I myself discovered I was doing wonderfully at school!
I stayed with my family for a couple days and then came home to the monastery through Christmas. It has been a while since I've garnered so many hugs in one evening! It is good to be home...the 6:30 AM prayer is a bit of a shocker after a semester of a slightly later schedule...but it is good to be home.