Week 100

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

For odd reasons, I'm writing this almost a month after the fact, so even though I made some rough notes the day I went, it will probably appear somewhat sketchy.

I took the car and set forth on the now routine journey to a distant part of the diocese, first stopping at an adjacent parish for a bulletin, and then arriving at about 10:45 AM for the 11:00 AM Mass at a parish about an hour and a half from home. It is an old parish but a new building; the cornerstone reads "1870-1991." I suspect the old building is around the corner, but I'm not sure. This one is a rough "T," but the sight lines are fairly clear all around the building. The main entrance opens into a large lobby off which are rest rooms and a few offices. The pews are arranged conventionally within the T, but the church has an odd mix of traditional wooden pews (possibly salvaged from the old building or some other parish) and individual seats. The pews could probably hold about ten people across. Racks hold the typical combination of OCP's Today's Missal and Music Issue. The windows are also a polyglot of traditional stained-glass mixed with newer, abstract types.

Another odd, painted crucifix hangs over the sanctuary; it looks much like the one from the parish of week 77. The sanctuary is at the center of the seating area; the tabernacle is completely hidden behind a solid, dark, wooden wall. In fact, oddly enough, in a few past visits to this church, I have mistaken the glass ambry for the tabernacle, as it has a rather prominent location on a stand at a break about halfway back of the middle section of pews. (I hadn't realized that the location should have been a tipoff that it could not be the tabernacle-- I mean, it's a Catholic church-- it must have a tabernacle-- I have to genuflect somewhere-- whatever will I do?) The seating for the choir, as well as a piano and organ, are located at the right front.

Before the Mass, a server lit the candles with a barbeque lighter. Then came the instruction from the cantor, "Welcome those around you." Okay-- but at least I didn't have to introduce myself. The entrance procession consisted of four servers, five lay ministers, two teenage readers, and the priest. The opening hymn was "Here I Am, Lord," played to organ accompaniment. The priest used Form C of the penitential rite; this was followed by a recited Gloria.

The first of the two young readers went to the ambo and gave the first reading. The psalm response was, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; of whom should I be afraid?" instead of the psalm for the day; it was sung to piano accompaniment. The second young reader gave the second reading; like the first reading, this was routine. The Alleluia was sung to a setting new and unfamiliar to me; the piano was used for accompaniment.

After the priest proclaimed the Gospel, he gave a workmanlike homily that began with the observation that we were returning to Mark after several weeks of John. As I recall, the homily did focus on the Gospel, which recounts Jesus' question, "Who do you say that I am?"

The Creed was recited, and the first young reader led the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful. A collection was taken using handleless wicker baskets passed across the pews as the offertory hymn, "My God and My All," was sung to piano accompaniment.

The priest offered the second Eucharistic Prayer, and a server sounded bells at the consecration. The Mass setting, with an organ accompaniment, was new and unknown to me. The Our Father was recited, but despite the many modern amenities in this church, I saw no hand-holding, although some orans was evident.

The lay ministers of Holy Communion went to the altar before the Agnus Dei; later, they received the Host from the priest but self-communicated from the chalice. Communion was distributed at six stations: four stations for the Precious Body (two center, one for each side) and two stations for the Precious Blood (each shared by two returning lines). The Communion hymn was "One Bread, One Body," played to piano accompaniment.

Before the closing prayer, the priest gave a few remarks concerning a fund-raising drive to restore the church; these remarks almost duplicated word for word a whole page that was printed in the bulletin. I was wondering why a church not even ten years old needed to be "restored" although an adjacent school is somewhat older and was just converted to gas heat. Also, an inspection revealed that the original construction of the church was not performed according to the specifications-- so maybe my questions were answered. After this, the priest imparted a simple blessing and departed via the center aisle. The closing hymn, sung to organ accompaniment, was "Blest Be the Lord."

Same Sunday Last Year

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