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Fr. Valentine heard me enter and poked his head in, saying hi and, with a big smile on his face, letting me know that it would be just the two of us that morning at what we servers called the Old People’s Mass.
After mass, Fr. Valentine told me that he wanted to give me what amounted to some special training.
I don’t remember his exact words.
The gist was that he was going to show me some things that he shouldn’t be showing me. That he could get in trouble for if anyone knew that he showed them to me.
However, he knew he could trust me.
He then showed me around the priests’ side of the sacristy, opening many of the cabinets and showing me what they contained. We then went over the things the priests did to prepare for the masses and other events of the day.
One of those tasks involved filling up the metal bowls into which the unconsecrated hosts would be placed. He showed me where the bowls were kept and then showed me how the hosts came in long, clear, crinkly, cylindrical bags. We went over to one of the counters and laid out a few of bowls and a bag of hosts.
Because it is important that the hosts, even though they are unconsecrated, be treated carefully, Fr. Valentine had me stand at the counter and stood directly behind me, with his front to my back and his arms reaching around me, to catch any hosts that might be spilled. He then showed me how to carefully pour the hosts from the bags into the bowls, filling them up enough so that there was just enough space to put the lids back on. He then showed me how the priests blessed the bowls and the hosts inside of the bowls. He did the first blessing, and then had me say the blessing for the other bowls.
And he's touching me.
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