It was a beautiful night in Vegas with the temperature in the high sixties, and single digits back at home. My friend Fr. Mike and I were returning by taxi from watching the Legends in Concert at a distant casino. The cabbie on the way back asked if we would like to go to a club. I explained to the gentleman that we were a little old for “clubbing.” He followed up with “No, I mean a gentleman’s club.” It took us a bit for the phrase to sink into the exegetical part of our Nebraska brains.
Now at this point I will state that Fr. Mike is going through an age adaption. He has a hard time believing that he’s 65 and has been a priest for 40 years. He doesn’t feel that old and the time has passed quickly. I explained that I’ll soon turn 63 in body, my mind is 33 and my bladder just turned 82. We all have different ages of body parts depending on the day. Be that as it may, we are no longer teenagers or twenty somethings with an excess of testosterone flooding the neural connections. Unlike certain billionaires in their late seventies who frequent massage parlors for sexual gratification, we were not interested (Some bishops are very narrow minded about their priests entering strip clubs; even if it’s for the salvation of souls).
I told the driver that our boss would frown on us attending such a place. He replied “Maybe you’ll meet your boss there.” Well, now, there was an image the mind didn’t need to conjure. The cabbie was sad to hear that that would probably, most likely, maybe, almost without doubt NEVER happen (Come to think of it, the bishop is gone a lot. Do we really know where he goes?…Nah, couldn’t happen). When asked if he knew of a church that had 24 hour confessions in Vegas, the driver looked blank in the mirror. I think the three words: church, confessions and Vegas in one sentence had thrown him.
Earlier that day we walked through the Cathedral of the Guardian Angel, the bishop’s seat for the Diocese of Las Vegas. It was a beautiful church with large stained glass windows depicting the Stations of the Cross. The Mass schedule (visiting priests look at two things in the bulletin of a church they’re examining, Mass schedule and collection amount) was grueling. This parish had a vigil Mass for Sunday on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. They obtained a special permission (indult) from Rome in 1988 to have a vigil Mass that early to accommodate the many tourists who attend.
It’s a blessing to know that in such a city of tourists, lots of Catholics are attending the Eucharist. Yes, they may be praying for the dice, cards, slot machines to be kind, but they are in a place where they can receive the Word of God. “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.” I think Frank Sinatra said that once.