Prudence Duchene will never forget the day she moved to Key West. It was Aug. 30
Yesterday was a special birthday for me for more than the obvious chronological reasons. That’s because I began the day in a place few would imagine me: the altar at St. Mary Our Lady of Grace church. I was the second lector, charged with reading a chapter from a Letter from St. Paul to the Ephesians. I was extraordinarily nervous during the reading, and I’ve spoken before some pretty big audiences before. I was just so filled with the Holy Spirit, so close to God, doing his work, that I was all but overwhelmed.
This was the culmination of a spiritual journey that was jump-started a year ago by my Aunt Judy in New York, but almost never began because of what happened exactly 20 years ago. It was then, on my birthday, that I served as an altar boy during a Mass performed by Father Alan Webber. I was honored to serve as an altar boy on my birthday and took the position very seriously. Too seriously it turned out, as I pretty much knocked over or spilled everything on the altar…candles, communion wafers, holy water; it was like a Chevy Chase sketch. I was so disheartened by my performance that day that I never served as an altar boy again. Consqequently, I gave up on taking an active role in the church. My faith remained, but I wasn’t going to stray too far from a pew ever again.
So I was pretty nervous yesterday. In preparation, I rehearsed the previous week, including a dry run on the altar on Friday. When I arrived at church yesterday, my palms were a little sweaty, but I just got up and did my thing. The Holy Spirit was definetly looking over me because my voice did not crack, I didn’t stumble over any words; in fact, I think I did a pretty good job.
After 20 years, I’m finally back where I should have been a long time ago: in the service of the Lord. Just don’t ask me to carry the holy water up to the altar.