Senior Life: Daily Mass: The spiritual heartbeat of the community

Before the sun is up, a group of about 35 men and women start their day with rituals they have treasured for years. For some, their first cup of coffee is accompanied by meditating on the scripture readings assigned for the day in the Roman Lectionary. For others it is just quiet time or a set routine of prayers. But this is preliminary to the main event, coming together at the local parish church for morning Mass.

Most of them are at or beyond retirement age, so there is no need to watch the clock or worry about being somewhere else. Younger members of the group have come to accept this slower pace and say they find it restful, conducive to prayer. Joining them is Fr. Gerald Waris, their parish priest at St. Patrick Church in Kansas City, Mo. This group of people and this time of day are spiritual home base for him. His day also begins with personal prayer and reflection on the day’s readings he will share with his small prayer community at Mass.

When he was a seminarian at Missouri’s Conception Abbey, Waris said he grew to love the sung choral office of that Benedictine monastic community. “It gave focus and meaning to everything else that happened that day.”