" Surely we’ll be able to sit in our regular places? "
As we return to Masses in western Oregon, we want to point out something that, if it goes badly, could thwart the whole holy situation.

Surely we’ll be able to sit in our regular places?

Mr. Silvestri and his big crew are right-center, two pews from the front, as they have been for decades. Truly, it’s laughable to think of anyone else praying there. The Pachecos are one row back, often holding hands sweetly, just in front of the five-pew buffer made necessary by the loud and off-key singing of Jerod McGrew, whom none of us have the heart to confront.

We like Jerod just fine, but that bellowing eclipses tender sentiment. If, under social distancing rules, anyone must sit in Jerod’s line of sound, I fear an un-Christian revolt.

As for me, I am on the left, a third of the way back, sitting under the window of St. Joseph and his carpenter’s square. If that zone is unavailable, I’ll feel spiritually adrift. I suppose sitting under St. Alphonsus Ligouri is an option, since his name is so mellifluous.

Of course it will not matter to the Lord where we sit in his overwhelming, merciful and loving presence. But we Catholics are the most habitual of creatures. The old joke goes: “How many Catholics does it take to change a light bulb?” “Change? But why?”

The point is, these past few months have been tricky for us, and we are grateful that we can return to the Eucharist, the very source and summit of our lives. We hope it goes smoothly and safely. That said, when everything changes, we tend to cling to what we know, and can be forgiven for doing so, even if it’s a pew with a slightly obstructed view, gum under the seat and a squeaky kneeler.