Long story short: I needed to go to confession, and they were one of the only churches I could think of that heard confessions before Sunday Mass.
March 2: Fourth Sunday in Lent (Laetare Sunday)
Parish: Queen of the Holy Rosary
The regular priest was not there (he is the Vicar General, and with the Archbishop battling lymphoma, he's had to do a lot of fill-in at the cathedral). The substitute is a fellow from Africa (don't know which country; I think Kenya or Nairobi*). He's a nice enough fellow, but his time in the States has done very little to improve his extreme accent. He can be very difficult to understand, even when you are two feet away from him in the confessional. No chit-chat or pastoral counseling; I got in, confessed my sins, he told me my penance, gave me absolution, and that was it. I could have gone back downstairs and the cup coffee which I left to go to confession would have probably still been warm.
* EDIT: After I got home, I realized that I just made myself look like an idiot. Nairobi is IN Kenya; it's the capital city.
The Mass itself was fine. I won't do my usual analysis or rating, but I will make the following observations:
Father Magiera, the pompous priest who usually says the Latin Mass, read the Gospel and gave the homily. I am glad he read the Gospel; the substitute priest can't quite work the mic, so in the past there's been a lot of electronic feedback when he's at the pulpit.
However, Magiera's homily was a complete nightmare. The man is very well-read, and thinks that we are as well. Therefore, he quotes from centuries-old writings of centuries-old priests, cites articles in "Pastoral and Homiletics Review" (which I can only assume is some sort of ecclesiastical journal), and even quotes himself from letters and homilies he delivered a year ago. His homilies are always, ALWAYS all over the map. Today's touched on points from this week's gospel, last week's gospel, the meaning of the translation of the opening antiphon of Laetare Sunday (the official name for today in the Church calendar), and God knows what else. He was rambling on for 15 minutes, and I lost interest after the first few sentences.
I saw a few friends and acquaintances at the Mass. A few people from my RCIA class, and the class after mine. One of the people was the reader today, and she did a very good job. So often, the readers are just going through the motions or have a reading cadence which doesn't really encourage your attention. Sarah is a drama teacher, so it's her job to be able to speak well in public.
Kat was at the Mass, but just barely. She usually goes to the Latin Mass, so I wasn't really counting on seeing her, or if so, just in passing. However, I guess she overslept or something, so she and J showed up at the English Mass about a minute before it started. I tried to make a joke with her about her hat, but it fell kind of flat. We all started toward the pews, and although I would have liked to sit with her, I know that wasn't a good idea. For one thing, I know my sitting by her and J would have been a little awkward, part of the reason why I stopped going to Holy Rosary for a while. For another, E was there as well, and experience has shown that when Kat and E are in church together, their snarkiness can be a real distraction. I did say a few words to her after Mass, but since she and J, and possibly E, were going to lunch, and I wasn't invited, I kept my comments brief and skedaddled. If I don't talk to her until next month when I drop off the spousal support, it wouldn't surprise me.
Overall, the entire Mass experience left me feeling a little empty and unsatisfied, something that I'm not used to feeling after a Mass here. A combination of the priest, the homily that would never end, and the fact that I really didn't want to be there all made it a bit of a chore. Assuming I don't get hit by a bus or swerve into a ditch on some snow-covered road this week, I will go to a different church next week.
I hope I can keep from falling into mortal sin (at least this same mortal sin) again before next week. Even if I do need to go to confession, I think I would rather skip it and just sit on my hands during communion than have to come back here and spend another Mass squirming in my seat.
I thought I was ready to return to Holy Rosary, at least for this week. I was wrong. I may need to find another parish, or just continue hopping from church to church until I've managed to deal with my personal demons. I was planning on coming back here more or less regularly once Easter was over. Now I'm not so sure if I'll ever come back.