Holy Bird!

At Easter Sunday Mass, I noticed something dark atop one of the spires of the reredos (the intricately beautiful shrine of statues taking up the wall behind the altar).

What is that, I wondered, continuing to stare. Surely it hasn’t been there before.

When the thing started to move, I knew without a doubt — It was a bird!

Pointing it out to my mom, I glanced at it now and then, just to make sure it was still in one place.

You see, I have this irrational fear of birds being inside — swooping around, landing in my hair, pooping on the floor (or on me!). Probably has something to do with seeing Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds as a young’un.

Anyway, our bird continued to preen from its high perch, obviously enjoying the music.

When time came for the priest’s sermon, he started in, reminding us of the significance of Easter Sunday and all.

Suddenly, the bird (a turtle dove) SWOOPED from behind him and soared the length of the church — all the way to the choir loft in the balcony.

Without missing a beat, Father acknowledged the bird and proceeded with his message.

What amazing focus!

Especially since his wasn’t the only song in town. The bird, a dove, proceeded to lament and whistle, flapping back and forth, trying in vain to find a way to the Great Outdoors.

Eventually, it settled on a railing near where Father was reading his homily. About a yard behind him.

My heart was pounding, and I found myself wondering why he didn’t ask insist the ushers open the main doors and set the poor creature free.

Then I decided that maybe, just maybe, it was okay to have a bird inside the church.

After all, turtle doves have long been a symbol of true love and fidelity (something our parish could use a bit more of).

Doves also symbolize the Holy Spirit. All four Gospel writers describe the Baptism of Jesus, with the Holy Spirit descending “like a dove” upon Him.

So what made your Easter Sunday memorable?

32 thoughts on “Holy Bird!

    • He absolutely did, Suzi — I couldn’t believe how UNFLAPPABLE he was over the entire thing! He seems a bit shy, so maybe it was easier for him to speak with the congregation’s eyes turned upwards onto the bird!!

  1. Deb—I do remember watching the Birds with you! And yes, I would have been totally fixated on that brd! It sounds like an other-worldly event—something special—a Holy Visitor, for sure…but, human nature tells me I probably would have missed most of the Mass making sure the bird was no where near ME! love you, Suzie

    • Sis, that dove was amazing! It never got near the congregation; in fact, the closest it got to anyone was when it was perched behind the priest (who seemed pretty oblivious). I heard it got in when the priest had both main doors opened before Mass, to welcome the congregation in. That was a breath of fresh air in itself, as the former priest NEVER did that!!

  2. Wow. A dove in the Church on Easter Sunday. Seems like an important sign. Perhaps, the parishioners should take it as a most significant blessing towards your new priest. Birds can be scary indoors flapping around. I hope they left the doors open and made sure the Dove safely made it out after mass.

    • Really? A bat? One got into our house not long ago, and we had a dickens of a time getting it back outside. Those creatures can carry rabies, you know. What instrument do you play, Professor??

  3. Debbie….what a faaaaaaaaaaabulous story! Especially for an Easter Sunday!

    Yup…that bird was definitely there as a ‘symbol.’

    “Without missing a beat, Father acknowledged the bird and proceeded with his message.

    What amazing focus!”

    That’s AWESOME!

    And I was reading your story, I couldn’t help but think about how many times we often overlook what appears to be a mishap, for something that God/Universe is trying to tell us.

    Great post, my friend! Loved it! Have a super week!

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Ron. I couldn’t agree more: “how many times we often overlook what appears to be a mishap, for something that God/Universe is trying to tell us.” Amazing what we can see if we’ll just open our eyes and LOOK!!

      I hope your Easter was beautiful and that you’ll have a fabulous week, my friend!

  4. The dove’s visit really seems like an amazing occurrence, especially since it was Easter Sunday!

    Sadly, what made my Easter memorable is that my youngest brother behaved himself at the family brunch. I guess I can’t complain!

    • Does your youngest brother have a habit of misbehaving at family events, Terri? If so, then perhaps the Spirit was upon him, too! At least this way, you don’t have to remember Easter brunch as being an unhappy time, ha!

  5. What a great story. I’m sure it made Easter Sunday memorable for the priest, too. So — did it get out? Did someone open up the doors so it could leave? I certainly hope so!

    • The dove remained for the entire service, Linda, but I imagine it was set free before the next Mass. I can’t see our priest wanting to deal with its distracting presence for yet another go-round! But better a dove than a bat (or a hornet!!), right? Hope you had a lovely Easter, too.

  6. And you didn’t get a picture? 🙂 That would’ve been so distracting, I don’t think I would’ve caught a word of the service! My Easter was memorable because I had ‘me’ time (my husband took the boys to California to visit his mom and go to the ocean. They just got back today.)

    • Your Easter sounds like a win-win, Janna. Hubby got to visit his mom, the boys got to visit the ocean, and you got to commune with some solitude!
      Yes, it was pretty distracting to have a flying creature at Easter services, and I did long for my phone. However, my taking pictures of a swooping dove during Mass would have been more distracting than the bird itself, ha!

    • Jann, he was amazingly composed. If that dove had swooped from behind me making that noise, I’d have fainted! Of course, there’s a slim possibility he saw it fly in, in the first place, but it was perched so high that I doubt it. Funny how something like that can command one’s attention!!

  7. I like birds, Debbie, but not inside my home. The way they flap their wings trying to get outside terrifies me. Once, when my brother and sister-in-law were newly married and living in Puerto Rico, they had a bat in their home. Now, if you ask me, the only thing scarier than a bird in the house, is a bat flapping around in panic mode. Yikes!

    • We’ve had a couple of bats (no, not at the same time!) swooping around the house, thanks to a family making their home in one of our neighbor’s trees right outside our back door. Yes, that’s VERY frightening! I know they eat insects and such, but nobody needs a bat inside.
      The dove made all sorts of noises — flapping its wings, “squeaking” as it flew around, and such. Distracting? Definitely! I hope it was able to free itself from the building and return outside, where birds belong.

  8. Debbie, your post reminded me of a train station in Milan, Italy. My daughter and I were traveling by train through Austria and Italy and there were lots of birds inside Milan’s very old, stone station. It was sort of cool, you know, went with the whole antiquity feel of the place.

    What made my Easter special? The dogwoods in bloom and the soft, perfect breeze that afternoon. I can smile about that for weeks.

    • I’m eagerly awaiting blooms on our dogwood, too, Barb. In fact, I’m awaiting LOTS of blooming things, from our azaleas to hydrangeas to crepe myrtle! Of course, I’m getting W-A-A-A-Y ahead of myself — but in my defense, this has been one LONG winter, and Spring still feels oh-so-far away. Smile on!!

  9. Debbie, I remember being scared out of my wits as a child after watching Hitchcock’s The Birds. Luckily, the fear didn’t last. I have never seen a bird in church, but we have had birds caught in the gym. Boy, does that make for an exciting class!

    • Gyms are good places for birds — so many rafters and high ceilings! I’ve seen birds in places like WalMart or the YMCA or feed stores, but typically, they’re sparrows. Something the size of a dove inside a church on Easter morning was a bird of a different stripe! I’ll bet your birds enjoy watching P.E. class!!

  10. Enjoyed the post. Our pastor’s sermon about the believers’ resurrection promised by God with Jesus as the first to rise–this made my Resurrection Sunday special.
    The sermon was particularly encouraging because a church member in her late thirties had died of Huntington’s disease on Palm Sunday.

    • Thanks for your comments, Tricia. So sorry to hear of your fellow church member dying at such a young age. What a happy reunion for her, though, to celebrate Easter in Heaven!

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