Recently on vacation we stopped at a gorgeous church built in the late 1800s, probably by the descendants of immigrants to the area who had learned to give the best to God–the church was just that beautiful. The whole little town was beautiful. We were early for Mass and found a seat in the middle of the church, in a pew in front of the middle aisle that cut across the main body of the church. Across from us were the hosts and wine to be brought up at Offertory.
As we sat back after the initial personal prayers, admiring the carved marble cornices, elaborate stained glass, and old life size statues (the one of St Patrick was, I’m sure, the largest in the place), an usher approaches our pew and leans over to ask Haus Meister if we intended to bring up the offertory gifts. I couldn’t see that happening–not all of us, anyway. It would provide Sunshine with an irresistible temptation to run off down a side aisle. But that was beside the point as Haus Meister told him we were merely visiting. Turns out we had sat in the tacitly recognized gift bearer pew! The usher told us we could stay where we were, but pointed out that the scheduled gift-bearers had had to find alternate seating on the other side of church.
Nothing like feeling you’re responsible for disturbing the equilibrium of the parish you’re visiting! 😉
The situation rather amused me, after I stopped feeling embarrassed. 😉