Week 273

Baptism of the Lord

Reading I
Is 42:1-4, 6-7 or
Is 40:1-5, 9-11
Responsorial Psalm
Ps 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10 or
Ps 104:1b-2, 3-4, 24-25, 27-28, 29-30
Reading II
Acts 10:34-38 or
Ti 2:11-14; 3:4-7
Lk 3:15-16, 21-22

Today we drive through a heavily-populated part of the region, passing one Mass we miss by five minutes, passing another Mass we miss by five minutes, and finally coming to rest at what appears to be a large, old church not too far from the water. I diligently searched for a cornerstone but was unable to locate one. The church, named for a saint, doesn't appear to have been renovated much, although the metal tabernacle has been moved to a pedestal on the right and the side pews, abutting the walls, are on an angle that may not have existed originally (the "in the round" dogma perhaps). Also, a large cross without a corpus is found behind the celebrant's chair, directly in back of the freestanding altar. The altar rail seems to have survived, along with a large balcony-style ambo at the left. The choir loft is about four stories high and wasn't used today; instead, a small choir of about half a dozen folks served from a section in the right front facing the center aisle. The organist and cantor served from this location as well. A break in the pews is about halfway back, and a baptismal font is located at the left of this break. High on the walls are circular tapestries of various saints as well as carved ceramic Stations of the Cross. A domed canopy is over the old tabernacle location. Pillars fall into the sides of the center pews. Racks in the pews hold copies of the OCP combination of Today's Missal and Music Issue.

The front dozen or so pews were reserved for CCD students as indicated by signs on the aisles. They contributed to a somewhat noisy atmosphere prior to Mass. Mass began with a bell of sorts. We sang "All Praise and Glad Thanksgiving" as the entrance procession made its way down the side aisle and back through the center aisle. Three servers (a cross-bearer and two candle-bearers) walked together at the front, followed by two readers, four lay ministers of Holy Communion, and the priest and another server (why this server was with the priest both at the start and at the end is a mystery to me). The priest led Form C of the penitential rite, and then we sang the Gloria to Peter Jones' setting.

A reader went to the ambo to give the first reading (Isaiah 40). The cantor and choir led the singing of the responsorial psalm (Psalm 104), and then a second reader gave the second reading (Titus 2) from the ambo. As we sang the Alleluia with the choir, the priest ascended the steps of the ambo to proclaim the Gospel. He descended and gave the homily from the center aisle. He didn't really play to the children much though; the homily was pretty straight. The priest began with a reference to Dr. Phil, saying that lots of insecure people appear on that television program of "pop psychology." Their problems in many cases result from a lack of encouragement from their families and friends. He basically focused on the last line of the Gospel, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased," saying that Jesus would never have this problem; from the very beginning he had a clear endorsement from His Father in heaven. I think the priest also suggested that we might do well to follow this example with one another, giving each other encouragement as needed, as well as taking comfort in knowing that God really loves us.

We recited the Creed, and then one of the readers led the recitation of the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful. The priest gave a blessing to a lay minister of Holy Communion who had taken a break for a while but was now returning; she did not receive a round of applause. A collection was taken using long-handled wicker baskets as the gifts were brought forward and the organist played soft background music. Then we sang the Communion hymn, "Songs of Thanksgiving and Praise" as the priest prepared the gifts. The chalice, ciborium, and paten were of metal; a glass flagon held additional wine. At the Orate Fratres, no one stood until after the people's response.

The setting for the remainder of the Mass was Marty Haugen's Mass of Creation. The priest offered the third Eucharistic Prayer. We sang the Our Father to the most common setting without any hand-joining, but it sounded a bit different somehow than it usually does when sung.

Holy Communion was distributed with an unusual deployment of ministers. The celebrant stood at the head of the center aisle and and one other priest stood at the break and each served two lines as they distributed the Sacred Body. The four lay ministers all offered glass serving chalices with the Precious Blood, one on either side of the priests. Again, perhaps they were short today, or maybe they do it this way every week; I'm not sure. It was okay, though, I suppose. The Communion hymn was "What Child Is This?"

After Communion, the priest gave the closing prayer, read a few announcements, and imparted a simple blessing before leaving via the center aisle. The closing hymn was "Now Thank We All Our God." Most people remained to the end but quite a few started to leave before it was complete.

Same Sunday in 2000
Same Sunday in 1999


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