I serve 2-3 Sundays every month. And sometimes in-between the week.
Thank you everyone for the comments that you have been left by each one of you. I really appreciate it
Reading this thread, I find myself wondering how many mistakes I made celebrating mass this morning… no matter how many masses I say, I’m never going to achieve the perfection I’d like. Even if I somehow manage not to make the same mistakes again, I’ll undoubtedly make new ones! If anything though, frustrating though it feels at times, it’s the Lord’s way of keeping us humble, reminding us that we’re imperfect and also of our need for His help. The mass is a human act - while that’s not discount the involvement of the Holy Spirit, it’s nonetheless carried out by human beings and, in doing this, we come before the Lord as we are - with our flaws, with our mistakes, with our imperfections knowing that He sees us as we are, with these, but loving us nonetheless.
Was Peter perfect? Does a priest ever make a mistake? Or the Pope for that matter? My PP once said he was terrified of me as I was such a stickler for the rules until I told him that if something went wrong I made up a rubric on the spot. Jesus loves you and adores what you do for Him. Do it as best you can - that’s all He asks.
Jesus doesn’t expect us to be perfect, and that’s not possible, anyway. Just do the very best you can. We all mess up at times. It’s the love in your heart that counts, and you seem to have plenty of that.
In his autobiography Treasure in Clay, Bishop Sheen wrote about his experience as an altar boy. He was serving a Pontifical Mass with Bishop Spalding and dropped a crystal crust on the marble floor! The Bishop didn’t say anything but stopped Mass and helped clean it up. He then asked Fulton what he wanted to do. Fulton replied that he wanted to go to high school. The Bishop told him he should go to the seminary and become a priest. And we know the rest of the story…
Also, in my own experience, I get nervous leading the singing in church (obviously, under normal circumstances). It’s when I’m too confident that I mess up. Sometimes I feel like cringing in church but Liturgy has to go on.
Father, how did you feel offering your First Mass?
WOW. You’re a celebrity!
No, just grew up where our family business was being working musicians.
I know lots of people in our parish who play the piano, and play it as well or better than me.
But they won’t play. They’re too nervous about making mistakes.
I play all the time, in several parishes and in some Protestant churches.
I estimate that I make hundreds of mistakes in every Mass I play. Most of them are simply stumbles over notes or putting the wrong note into a chord–the audience will not hear these. Other times, I accidentally start in the wrong key and end up making mistakes when I come to chord that isn’t I, IV, V, or the relative minor I! Sometimes I start playing the wrong hymn or Mass part.
And then there’s the organ, which I learned to play about ten years ago. I’m not very good at it. In fact, I can be awful at it! The pedals are hard for me, and instead of being sensible and just playing two pedals (tonic and 5th), I try to play the bass line in the hymnal, and my feet aren’t as limber as my fingers and it turns into a cacaphony of bass mud!
Anyway, I don’t let this stop me from playing in church because God gave me the ability to play and the love of accompanying a congregation in their worship, and I’m not going to hide His gift in the ground. Usually I am nervous before I play, but once the music starts, I’m having the time of my life because I KNOW that I’m doing what God wants me to do and I am never closer to Him than when I am playing for Him and His people.
But I still make hundreds of mistakes!
I wouldn’t say I was nervous exactly, but I sure as anything wasn’t relaxed! I had done a lot of practice but was very much in the zone - focussed intently on what was coming next because I didn’t want to make any mistakes. Of course despite all my efforts I did make (at least) one mistake - I forgot to pass communion to the concelebrants! I was so focussed on what I was doing I completely forgot about the three or four other priests behind me!
I’d heard horror stories of mistakes at other first masses - like the priest who turned two pages at once and skipped the consecration! That said, a priest at his first mass is typically assisted by an experienced priest who’s job it is basically to make sure things like that don’t happen and, if they do, to make sure they’re fixed!
Incidentally, it’s one of the few times when the principal celebrant doesn’t have to preach! It’s customary to invite another priest (or presumably deacon) to do that. In my case, it was a priest who had taught me at school and who I have have a lot of respect for. I remember that the homily was good but I don’t remember anything from it! I was thinking too much at the time about what was coming next and how I was going to do it to really take it in. In a word, it was all a bit surreal really!