Once years ago when I was on vacation from my parish in Korea, I went to visit with some hospital nuns at Mokpo in the southwest corner of the country. It happened that the bishop was also there that day.
The nuns in their van were paying their once-a-month visit to a tent city of lepers and their children, and that day the bishop had promised to go out with them to offer Mass. He was happy that I came along to help with confessions.
I found it all very touching. Hearing those confessions for over two hours, I forgot that they were speaking Korean instead of English, and it didn’t matter that they were lepers. They were just ordinary people who wanted to bring shining souls to Mass.
That whole place where the lepers camped was a series of red mud dunes, but the people had set up an elaborate cloth backdrop for the altar, and I served Bishop Henry’s Mass, bringing the wine and water over from a little side table.
At the same instant just before Communion time, the bishop and I noticed that I had left something important on that small table. I had failed in putting on he altar the gold containers with the hundreds of small communion breads for the people.
The bishop later told others what happened. He said, “I looked over, and just as I saw the full ciborium still sitting over there, Sully said, “Cripes!”
I then put those hosts on the altar in front of the bishops, and he went back a few pages to offer a second Mass in the middle of the one he was offering. All’s well that ends well.