The American Cathedral.
"Ana, What do we do when we get up front?" I wanted to know as we lined up to take Holy Communion at the American Cathedral Easter Service.
"Oh, don't worry. Watch everyone else, and we'll just follow what they do." She replied confidently.
Two men ahead of us, held their hands out to receive the communion bread, dunked it into the wine that followed, ate it then stepped away from the alter. Sounds simple right?
The Bishop helpers motioned the three of us up front, we knelt together side by side, which is the only part of Easter communion we seemed to get right.
Ana received the bread and swallowed it right away, not waiting to dunk it in the wine. (perhaps she was hungry.) The Bishop blinked his eyes in disbelief.
The bulletin clearly stated in English "Place your Right palm over your Left to receive the bread. I clearly placed my Left palm over my Right (hey,I'm left handed.) The Bishop hesitated before placing the bread in my "wrong" hand.
Our friend Yo, opened her mouth and stretched out her tongue to receive the bread. (She arrived on the metro, and her hands were dirty, so she did not want to touch the bread.) The bishop dropped the bread in her mouth and walked away quickly.
The wine cup followed.
As the wine was offered, Ana threw her hands up in the air shaking her head, "No."...meaning "I can't have the wine, because I just swallowed the bread." The woman holding the wine offered the cup to me. With my "wrong" hand, I dunked and ate the bread.
Yo, tried to remove the bread from her mouth but said it was stuck to the roof of her mouth. She realized that even if she took the bread out of her mouth, the wine was not in a personal cup, and she could not dunk in the community wine cup, so she kept her mouth closed, pointed to her sealed lips, and shook her head "No".
The lady with the wine cup quickly walked away.
As we remained kneeling at the alter, dumbfounded by our mistakes. The line grew behind us. "Uh, I think we should get up and leave?" I whispered to Ana. "Oh, Yes." she replied as the three of us departed the alter. "I wonder if we can have a Do-over? Ana whispered as we reached our seats.
I reached for my purse to sit down, as I noticed a women in front glaring at my purse just as the message melody played on my cell phone inside.
"Oh crap!, That was MY cell phone ringing!" I told Ana as I dug inside my purse. "Oh, don't worry, it has a happy tune." She assured me. I quickly turned my cell phone off ending the last Easter blunder, noticing in bold letters on the front of the program:
PLEASE TURN OFF ALL CELLULAR TELEPHONES DURING THE SERVICE.
VEUILLEZ ETEINDRE LES TÉLÉPHONES PORTABLES AVANT LA MESSE.
The American Cathedral.
After service, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch near the river seine where we blessed wine, ate more bread and laughed hysterically at our mistakes. We vowed to either find another church to re-do communion or return next Easter to correct our mistakes.