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The Time Doctor Who Showed up at Mass

James West CC

Cari Donaldson - published on 10/28/14 - updated on 06/07/17

“Doctor Who,” I muttered to her. “Time and space traveler. Time machine is a blue box called a TARDIS.” She nodded blankly. I willed myself to shut up.

As we left the parish and walked to our cars, the conversation started up again, with fevered excitement.

“Maybe he takes the TARDIS to all the parishes in the world every Sunday! So he can go to Mass at all of them!” said the seven year old.

The adolescent sniffed. “Maybe, but he would only be able to receive the Eucharist at two of them.” At twelve, she is very aware of the letter, if not the spirit, of the law.

“Maybe he takes his TARDIS to go see Jesus!” said the four year old, still checking over his shoulder to try and spot the Doctor (all the kids harbor not-so-secret ambitions of asking him to take a picture with them one day).

My daughter stopped in her tracks. She looked at me, wild-eyed and dumbstruck.  

“Mama?” she said in an awed voice, “you know how you say all Masses are the same Mass? How every Mass takes place at the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection?” I nodded.

“Christ was crucified once for us. The Mass exists outside space and time,” I said, feeling giddy at the stellar job my husband and I must be doing with our kids’ religious education.

She nodded violently. “THE MASS EXISTS OUTSIDE SPACE AND TIME! What if the parish, what if all parishes, take place inside the TARDIS? That’s how we’re right there at the foot of the Cross with Jesus!”

I stared at her back, as she skipped toward the van happily. How sweet, I thought, when fandoms and religion collide so neatly. If only we all cultivated such enthusiastic points of intersection in our lives, where we let our Faith and our hobbies collide in joyous excitement.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I saw The Doctor, walking to his car (a blue one, of course). I can’t be sure, but I swear he saw me. And winked.

Cari Donaldsonis the author of“Pope Awesome and Other Stories: How I Found God, Had Kids, and Lived to Tell the Tale”. She married her high school sweetheart, had six children with him, and now spends her days homeschooling, writing, and figuring out how to stay one step ahead of her child army. She blogs about faith and family life at

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