Sunday, 25 April 2010

This time last week...

...I was wandering around a Norwegian city in search of a Catholic Church. It was the last day before we embarked on a fairly risky trip home, and I was worrying about it. I was lost and at a loose end, with nothing to do. I'd looked up the location of the church on the internet and found they had an English mass at 6pm, but I knew I wouldn't be able to go to that; and I'd had to miss morning mass too, because of meetings with the people I was with. But I had a big stretch of empty time in the middle of the day, and although I realised I wouldn't be able to go to mass that day, I thought it might be nice to find the church anyway and duck inside for a minute if it was open. I wandered down the road I thought it was on, but couldn't find it (thanks, Google maps!). I wandered down another likely road, but couldn't find it there either. So, since I expected the church to be closed even if I did find it, I wandered off in another direction, intending to take the long way back to where we were staying.

Then I heard church bells. I had been walking in the wrong direction all the time (in my defence, I hadn't slept much - and I was in Norway!). The way I thought would take me home actually took me to the church. And it was open. And there were people going inside. The bells were striking 3pm, and the Polish mass was just about to start.

I don't speak Polish, but then I don't speak Norwegian either, and I could follow the mass in any language! It was such a comfort just to stand at the back and watch and listen. The church hadn't mentioned the 3pm mass on their website at all, and it was only complete chance that I was there at 3pm - it was complete chance that I was in the right area at all. But it wasn't chance, really.

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