Monday, December 29, 2008
WHAT WAS YOUR CHRISTMAS MASS LIKE ?
We are back to church shopping again now that my favorite African priest has returned to his homeland.
A recent Mass at St. Anthony of Padua, across from St. Thomas Hospital downtown was a plus. The church is beautiful. Marble walls. Imagine that! The priest is still Catholic and gave a Catholic homily to a standing room only congregation. I was one of the people standing in the back. I was also one of the people in the communion line on the left side of the church where the priest distributed to everyone on that side. Amazingly, it didn't take all that long. It IS possible to do without a parade of EMs at Mass every Sunday. There was little singing during Mass. It was a very low-key Mass reminiscent of Low Mass prior to VII. The congregation looked to be drawn from the suburbs as well as the local parish. I probably shouldn't be blogging this since the church is already bursting at the seams and letting the secret out might cause the overflow to find themselves standing outside.
Mass on Christmas day was at St. Joseph's, 10 a.m. Fr. McCarthy, a retired priest in residence there, said it. Fr. McCarthy is a reliable source of Catholicism, too. He gives good homilies that are invariably Catholic. Sadly he gave his Christmas homily to a half empty church. On Christmas no less. I still remember when the C and E Catholics swelled Christmas Mass to the rafters. Maybe there aren't any C and E Catholics anymore. Or maybe they were all at the three vigil Masses. In any case, St. Joseph's has discontinued communion under both species during flu season. The peace sign has been discontinued as well. I sure didn't miss it. Some of the others at Mass did, though, and attempted to reinstate it right through the Agnus Dei. They weren't very successful but looked sort of silly with their efforts. At this Mass as well father distributed the Eucharist from the front of the church to everyone on the right side. No parade of EMs. Didn't take long at all.
One of the things St. Joseph's does well is stay with male altar servers, some of them adults. There never seems to be a shortage. I've seen as many as five serving Mass. Another thing they do well is the placement of the three kings in relation to the manger. On Christmas day the manger was on the left side altar. The kings were on the right side of the sanctuary facing toward the manger. I would expect to see them moved closer as Ephipany approaches. Tells the Christmas story well especially to the children. When my daughter was small, I never put baby Jesus in the manger until after Christmas Mass, and I kept the three kings at as much distance from the manger as possible in the space I had to work with. Don't know if that got the message across to the next generation or not, but at least I tried to tell the story accurately. No crib mosque, either.