Sunday was the day of The Fest – a huge Catholic family festival held on the eastside of Cleveland on the grounds of the seminary. It is one of our favorite days every summer. They have tons of Christian bands, kids activities, tents from lots of local schools and organizations and, the highlight, mass at 8 pm with nearly 25,000 people. Love it.
This year was extra special because Curtis was going to stay the whole day with us, including the mass. In years past, he would leave before the mass to drive back to Pennsylvania. So we packed the van, picked up the girls and set out.
As usual, it was a blazing hot day with few clouds. The girls enjoyed turning themselves into superheros and playing in the games area. Madeline discovered her fencepost that she made during the summer Partners in Faith program. We all loved listening to some of our favorite songs we hear on The Fish all of the time, and our friend Greg Wasinsky (the guy who stepped in and DJ’ed our wedding) was the MC for the day. A perfect day (minus a few minor melt downs) overall.
A breeze started to blow, which felt nice, and some clouds started appearing in the sky. Fr. Bob told the crowd that a huge storm they tracked near Toledo basically disappeared when it got close to Cleveland. Cheers went up from the crowd. God is good.
Then, just before mass started, the sky started to look a little ominous. At the start of mass, there was a little bit of sprinkling but it ended.
When communion was finishing, there was another light sprinkle. It seemed like they were able to get communion all in. I am not sure because, as if God was reminding us of the great flood of Noah’s day, the skies opened up. The stage crew, to protect the people, cut the lights to the altar/stage and field where we all were.
OK, so now it is a torrential downpour AND it is pitch black…until the lightning flashed in the sky. Have you ever seen 25,000 people scramble to collect their stuff, get out of a giant field and to their cars in a deluge? Trust me, it ain’t pretty (and I don’t use ain’t lightly).
To top it off, just as the gallons of water started dumping on our heads, a meltdown happened. I won’t say who melted, out of need to protect their self-image (and, well, because one of the people who melted was me and how embarrassing is that to admit…uh, oops).
So, all of the prayers we lifted throughout the day came down to thanking God that Curtis was there to help child A get to the car through the rivers that appeared out of nowhere while I, going in a different direction, helped child B get there with the wagon loaded with our gear. This allowed all of those heated to cool down in the cold rain. All of us got there safely, albeit absolutely soaked from head to toe. Zoe did managed to reach through the raindrops to grab the take home gift, which was a fabulous “game” for the family.
After we were safely in the car, Madeline asked what happened to our friend’s daughter, Allison, who was on the stage as the cross bearer. Then Zoe asked what all of the priests on the stage did when the rain started. I couldn’t answer them because I didn’t see in the darkness and since the rain was blinding me. Hopefully, all were able to safely get home. Who knows, maybe they are still there and waiting for Noah to pick them up two by two. He can use Madeline’s fence post as an oar if he needs it.