I don't remember the first time I heard the saying, "The more things change, the more they remain the same," but I've found it to be true several times in my life.
Take last Sunday morning, for example.
My sister Kathleen and I were returning from a mini-writing retreat on Fripp Island, South Carolina, where we were guests of my generous and gracious writing friend, Berta Rosenberg. During our three-day visit, we had a wonderful time: catching up, sharing family stories, writing, talking about writing, doing a writing exercise, walking on the beach, eating new foods, and relaxing.
After saying goodbye to Berta, as we drove from Fripp and headed toward Beaufort, Kathleen and I discussed the possibility of finding a church so we could attend Sunday Mass. Being in an unfamiliar town, we didn't know where that might be.
But I had a plan. I had visited the cathedral in Savannah a few years ago, so I thought we could stop in Savannah on our way home and hope to catch a service there.
First, I was on a mission to find South Carolina tee-shirts for my grandkids. Berta told us we might find some at the Walgreen's in Beaufort, so that was our first stop. No luck. A cashier told us we might find some tee-shirts at a sporting goods store across the street. After making a wrong turn out of Walgreen's, I made a U-turn and followed a line of cars which veered off to the left into a parking lot. (I later found out the sporting goods store was on the right.)
Can you guess where the cars were headed? Into the parking lot of St. Peter's Catholic Church on Lady Island Drive in Beaufort. My sister and I read the church's sign, looked at each other, and decided divine providence had a hand in my making a wrong turn. "It was meant to be," we said in unison, and headed inside the lovely church, where Mass was to begin in seven minutes.
Even more surprising was that the Mass was a Latin high Mass, complete with incense, three priests celebrating, and several altar servers. Sitting in the pew I flashed back to my high school days wearing a chapel veil for Mass, which was celebrated in Latin until Junior year when the Church switched to English.
After leaving Beaufort we headed home, with a side trip in Savannah for lunch. We stopped at a casual restaurant on Bay Street and had a spinach salad and a mouth-watering 77 Monte Carlo sandwich, which was topped with powdered sugar. It was like eating French toast with ham and turkey inside.
From there, we walked off lunch until we found the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on Harris Street. A police officer stood at the front door informing visitors know Mass was in session. We were welcome to come inside but not for a tour until Mass was complete. Kathleen and I ventured inside and found a pew in the back of the magnificent cathedral. My ears perked up when I heard the priest conducting the Mass in Latin. Families attended, with moms and young girls wearing chapel veils.
So, within the span of a few hours, we had attended not one but two Latin Masses, where women wore chapel veils.
The more things change . . .