Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception! I hope you were able to make it to Mass today (or will still be able to go tonight).
We went last night! Yes, our little mission parish has its vigil Mass back (at least, for this feast day).
I've ranted a lot in recent years about the loss of vigil Masses for Holy Days of Obligation. While I understand that priests have lots of obligations especially in places (such as Texas) where parishes are spread out and priests sometimes serve more than one church, I also have felt the frustration of looking at available Mass times in a thirty-mile radius of where I live and saying, "Impossible. Impossible. Impossible. Nearly impossible. Excruciatingly difficult. Impossible..." and then shooting for the "excruciatingly difficult" option, with the "nearly impossible" option on standby in case the excruciatingly difficult option falls through at the last minute.
Last night's vigil Mass was merely difficult (not excruciatingly so, let alone impossible). It meant some people leaving work a bit early and others rushing home to after classes etc., but it could be done, and we did it. We had a "plan B" in the form of tonight's Mass at our nearest church for some of us if we couldn't all make it together as a family last night, but since we ended up being able to make it as a family and to sing with our choir it made the Mass feel special to me--it has been a while since that has been possible for us on a Holy Day of Obligation.
And because I wasn't, for the first time in a while, either darting in at the last minute or anxiously watching the time so people could leave in time to get to work or school, I actually listened with something approaching attention to the readings and the Gospel, and I noticed for the first time the neat parallel between the first reading and that Gospel: our first parents sinned by disobeying and eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, and the fruit of their sin is Original Sin and death; Mary, the new Eve, pronounces her "Fiat" to God's will, and the fruit of her obedience (in a manner of speaking) is the Incarnation--and this "fruit of thy womb, Jesus," will negate the eternal consequences for us of the fruit of Adam and Eve's sin. Hardly earthshaking, and you could probably shake a tree on the campus of any good Catholic college and find a few dozen first-year theology majors who could explain this better and much more clearly, but it was still a nice thing to sit and think about for a few minutes last night.
So I'm just grateful to have the vigil Mass for the Holy Day option back again (and at a time that is remotely possible--the other problem we've had with the occasional vigil Mass is that sometimes they are scheduled far too early. I've said it before, but I honestly think that some people who work in Catholic parishes are unaware that the vast majority of their working parishioners no longer leave work promptly at 5 p.m. each night). We had a bigger crowd last night than I remember in a while, too, so clearly we're not the only people who need this option.
How about you? Was it hard to find a Mass where you live? Can you go to Holy Day Masses as a family for the most part, or do you usually have to attend split Masses to make the obligation?