Sunday, April 13, 2014

Holy Rosary - Stuttgart

Blessed Palm Sunday to you all.

I've been trying to get my palms into any kind of untalented.

On Saturday, April 12, I attended the 5:30 Vigil at Holy Rosary in Stuttgart (I was there for the saddest German Fest ever.)

There was a procession with palms from one building to the Church.

Music was provided by an organ in the loft.
Opening: Ride On! Ride On in Majesty
Offertory: Were You There
Communion: Praise O Zion Voices Raising
Closing:  All Glory, Laud and Honor

 Jesus rode in on a donkey.  In times of war, the King rode a horse.  In times of peace, the King rode a donkey.  Jesus is the King of Peace.  In 1 and 2 Maccabees, the people wave palms at the victorious Kings.  The people sang Hosanna which means Save the King.  I encourage you to participate in the Liturgies this week.  They build on each other.  Remember God's Love for each and every one of us.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer III and there were bells.  Mass was over in an hour....


Holy Rosary

Sunday, April 6, 2014

St. Edward - Little Rock

My parents came to visit me this weekend.  Originally, I thought I was going to miss Mass but then the wheel fell off their van (while I was driving...luckily at a stop sign.)  I was able to go to Mass before the garage opened...

I attended the 9 am Mass at St. Edward which is just outside of downtown Little Rock.  I was unable to stay for the entire Mass. Mass started 5 minutes late and at 9:45 the Offertory was just beginning.

Music was provided by a choir and a very loud organ in the choir loft.
Opening: From Ashes to the Living Font
Offertory:O Breathe on Me, Breath of God

The audio was not very good.  I had a hard time understanding what was being said while in the back pew.

There were 2 one big homily....
We have this image of Martha busy in the kitchen and Mary sitting by Jesus.  Today, Martha gets a chance to show she has been paying attention (cause there's a test).  In the depth of her grief, she shows a great act of Faith that matches St. Peter and St. Thomas.  Lazarus is Faith in Action and the fruition of faith.  Death is a one way street which is why Lazarus was bound.  Lazarus' response is do what the Master says.  He is an example of people when Faith is willing.  They take risks (like skydiving!) and have confidence in God.  Do you believe in Me?  Do you trust Me?  In the 2nd Reading, St. Paul said to trust is to live and he talks about the dangers of the flesh (a homily about sex??? ooo).  He doesn't mean the body (j/k).  It comes from a Greek word that refers to orientation toward the world.  The perspective to turn in self...the self is the center of all values.  Worship of one's self (selfies!).  When we belong to Christ, He is the center our life is oriented to.  Jesus says to us "Do you trust me?"  "How much do you trust Me?"  And then the homily became a chat about parish finances...  Our support of the parish is a matter of trust in God and in the Church (I trust God with my money...not so sure about the *Church*).  We say we trust but then we put our needs first.  We don't want to do without.  We want to hold onto our resources.  How much should we return to God?  Apparently last week the Bishop gave a talkin' to about money and mentioned the Bible says we should give about 10% or our income (pre or post tax?).  4% should go to the parish.  1% should go to the Appeal.    How much income is 4%?  About 1.6 hours if you work full time (pulls out phone...starts crunching numbers...feels incredible guilt...coughs up money won at horse races....ah friend didn't need any chocolate bunnies).  We have to trust.  Everything depends on God (please send chocolate bunnies...)  Prayerfully consider what God has given you.  Consider how you use those resources.  Use what you have to serve Me.  (Honestly, Father Bill at the CNC at UMSL had the best approach.  Instead of using scary things like numbers, he was more like surely you can go without McDonald's once or twice to give money to the parish..)

Then there were the Scrutinies.  I thought Scrutinies were more for adult say age 13 and older.  The three catechumens all looked to be under 13.  One looked about 10...

And then I left....

I suppose it didn't really count as attending Mass...

View From the Back Pew!

The High Altar

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

The Holy Family
Death of St. Joseph

St. Rose of Lima
St. Aloysius Gonzaga

St. Boniface

St. Gregory

St. Isidore 

St. Matthew
St. Mark
St. Luke
St. John

St. Mary Magdalene 

St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Station VIII

St. Edward

Sunday, March 23, 2014

St. John the Baptist -Hot Springs

Evening all!  Just a note, there won't be a post next week as I'll be in St. Louis :)

Spring is in the air and that means there are flowers to be photographed.  Yes indeed.  Another Sunday visit determined by where there are flowers blooming.  This week, I was in Hot Springs and visited St. John the Baptist.  I went to their fish fry a 2 weeks ago and noticed how pretty the church's exterior was and decided to visit today.

The church was built in 1909 and is rather simple on the inside.  I did note with some amusement and some distress that the rectory was prepared to take on an assault by the Protestants.  All the windows had bars on them and the rectory was surrounded by a 6 ft fence with locked gates.  It didn't look like that sketchy of a neighborhood...

The music was provided by a choir and piano in the choir loft.  The male soloist was really good.
Opening:  Jesus, Lord of All Creation
Offertory:  Lamb of God
Mass Setting:  Sanctus and Angus Dei chanted in Latin
Communion:  Jerusalem, My Destiny (sung by soloist); O Bread of Life; Panis Angelicus (sung by Latin!)
Closing:  How Great Thou Art

The Gospel readying shows the gradual way in which Christ entered the Samaritan women's life.  Christ asks for water and bestows His blessing on her, moving her towards water that fulfills soul and leads to hope and joy.  This is the water of baptism, where God pours himself into our souls.  Jesus brings up the woman's sin.  To embrace Jesus she must renounce the sins of the past and set out on a grace filled journey.  We are called.  The proper response is like that of the woman at the well, acknowledge Jesus.  Jesus identified Himself to her as she had an open heart.  The woman's mission was to get water but now her mission is to bring Jesus to the others.  Her excitement and deepening love compelled her and changed her life.  The take away is that Jesus approaches us.  This initial approach is easy to see in Baptism.  We see this in other moments as well:  when we serve him in a particular way and see sins more clearly.  We must repent, grow in love and tell others about Jesus.  Unlimited love of God for us is what allows us to approach Him.  God had a plan.  Jesus loves us.  Showed His boundless love for us in Baptism and in every worthy reception of the Sacraments.  May Jesus see the spiritual furor in us!

Father used Eucharistic Prayer I and there were bells at the Consecration.


St. John the Baptist

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Our Lady of Good Hope - Hope

Instead of going to work today (I worked yesterday), I headed out to Old Washington State Park for the   Jonquil Festival.  (Sense a theme?  I'll give you a guess where I'm going next week...).

On the way to the Festival, I passed Hope, where I attended the 9 am Mass at Our Lady of Good Hope.  Before Mass, there was Eucharistic Adoration.  The Tantum Ergo was sung in Latin (One day I'll learn how to say the first verse in Latin, I've got the 2nd, I can't get the first.)

Music was provided by an organ and a choir.  The music for the Mass Settings were provided by a computer.
Opening:  From Ashes to the Living Font
Offertory:  Shepherd of Souls
Communion:  You Are Mine
Closing:  Forty Days and Forty Nights

Before Mass, we applauded for new members and visitors and then greeted our neighbors.

Father's mini-homily mentioned that the Entrance Antiphon was based on Psalm 67.  Christians have optimistic view despite our struggles.  The heavenly glory is revealed to us in the Gospel, which is the Transfiguration.

This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.  This is the voice of the Heavenly Father.  Jesus says to the disciples "Rise and do not be afraid"  We have entered the 2nd Sunday in Lent, a time of 40 days to take up fasting, prayer and almsgiving as the Church calls us to do.  Our body is made of dust of the Earth.  Some people think it is not useful.  When somebody dies, a preacher says the soul goes up to Heaven but the body turns to dust.  The Resurrection of Jesus will happen to us.  For some of us we have shame, we are burdened by being human.  The Transfiguration is what the body is capable of.. At some moment we will be transfigured.  Humanity may be devalued but the Light of God shines through us.  The devil put his tools for sale:  hatred, pride, envy, etc.  And over in the corner was the box of discouragement.  When it is opened, it brings depression.  Discouragement leads to depression and despair.  (So do chemical imbalances in the brain...) Do not fall into the devil's snare.  This week in Hempstead County, a young girl died.  (I'm not sure what happened.  I found the obituary and the details were sparse....which makes me suspicious.)  Father went over the leading causes of death in 2010.  The 10th most frequent cause of death is suicide, with about 38,000 succeeding that year.  Around 713,000 go the ER because of self-harm.  The Transfiguration has a message for us.  It is an encouragement and radiates hope and the ultimate victory.  We will rise up and have no fear and a new life.  True Christians have an immortal diamond and will never be pessimistic (Guess I'm not a true Christian....)  Christ has robbed death.  Christians are optimists that will smile through troubles (I guess this is where the stories of the martyrs going joyfully to their deaths come in...I plan not to go quietly if I'm to be martyred..but then again I'm not a true Christian...)  We need to pray as often as we can.  We will be transformed on Earth (If I start glowing, somebody get a geiger counter...).

Father used Eucharistic Prayer III and there were bells.  The Our Father was sung.  And while it was sung, we all held hands across the Church.  Well one of us didn't and got huffed at (Feel the community...)

After Communion, as Father was purifying things, he told us to meditate and converse with God.  Converse with God and tell what you have to say.

Then came the Liturgy of the Announcements.  Three difference people spoke.  Apparently the parish has a pledge drive to expand the Sanctuary.  (I think they meant the nave, because the Sanctuary was pretty big, but the nave was full).


Our Lady of Good Hope

View From the Back Pew

Station VIII

Our Lady of Good Hope

Good Shepherd - Fordyce

On Saturday, March 8, 2014, the town of Camden, AR had a daffodil festival.  There was even a civil war reenactment.  I'm still confused as to why they all wear grey....(I'm not's just *jarring* to see grey...and Confederate flags....everywhere...somebody told me that Little Rock was just like St. Louis....yeah.  no and here's some evidence).  Needless to say, the church in Camden did not have Saturday Mass, so I visited a church on the way back that did. 

I ended up in Fordyce, at Good Shepherd for the 4 pm Saturday Mass.  And as luck would have it, I was in time for Stations of the Cross (Oh my poor calf...walked 6 miles and now Stations...I slept until noon on Sunday BTW).

This has to be one of the tiniest actual churches I've been in.  I've been in some small chapels, but not actual parish churches that are this small.  I think there may have been maybe 20 pews....only because they were short and in 3 columns.  It's a contest as to whether my 606 sq ft apartment is bigger or the Church is.  Now they have a divider between the Nave and the parish hall, but it was open when I visited, which essentially doubled the size of the church.  It was really cute, but really small.

The music was a capella, so it was stuff that was easy to sing without accompaniment. Amazingly, all the English speakers sang.
Opening:  Holy God We Praise Thy Name
Offertory:  Amazing Grace
Communion:  Let Us Break Bread Together (I haven't heard this in forever...)
Closing:  How Great Thou Art

The parish has some non-native English speakers or non-English speakers, so to include them, the 2nd Reading and the Gospel Acclamation was in Spanish.  (I'm amused because the priest was from India.)

Lent is a time to look at consequences.  It is a time to look at sin.  Repent so that you can rise with Jesus at Easter.  God's Grace provides a way from temptation:  fasting, prayer and almsgiving.  The first sin was to be like God.  Adam and Eve were given a choice:  be obedient or not.  All of us are tempted to put ourselves in God's place but don't want to be responsible for the consequences of our choices.  Jesus conquered temptation by being faithful to God.  Paul tells us that sin is not private, but it is public.  Sin effects our relationships with others.  To avoid temptation, the Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness. For the Israelites, the desert is a place of testing and renewal.  (For's a place for casinos...)  The Israelites were in the desert for 40 years being purified (hmmm I thought it was so that all the troublemakers with the golden calf were all dead.)  Moses and Elijah spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert praying and fasting, preparing for their mission.  What is close to you?  What keeps you away?  You need to avoid it.  Food and water (I don't remember how this connected...)  Avoid worldly pleasures.  Many people are sad after the worldly pleasure has passed.  It keeps us away from Jesus.  We need to see the consequences to us.  Fasting brings us closer to God (unless it makes you crabby and snarky at people...)  Avoid temptations.  Jesus struggled.  He fell 3 times while carrying the Cross but kept going.  Come closer to God with the Rosary, Stations of the Cross and the Bible.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer III and there were bells.

Everyone was really nice after Mass.  


Good Shepherd Catholic Church

View From the Back Pew


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Our Lady of the Holy Souls- Ash Wednesday - Little Rock

Hello all!
Sorry I'm a bit's been a busy couple of days.

I'm one of those people that believes if you are going to go through the trouble of getting ashes on Ash Wednesday, you should do it early enough in the day so that you wear them for more than an hour.  Needless to say, I'm not a big fan of evening Ash Wednesday services.  It took me a while and I had to cash in some comp time from work, but I managed to find a 7 am Mass sort of near work.  I wanted a noon Mass but that was asking the impossible.

After a brief GPS mishap (the GPS was off...), I finally found the church.  However I found the back of the church, not the front.  When the church is a big square with doors on 3 sides, is there really a front?

There was no music at the 7 am Mass.

A significant part of our Faith is expressed in symbols.  Sacramentals are powerful reminders of God's grace that are imparted in the Sacraments.  They are a reminder of God's presence in our life (another homily about presence?  Really?)  Ashes have many meanings.  They are a way to look at life, renew and give us a greater awareness of presence (Clearly waiting 4 days to write this up was a was coherent at the time).  There is an understanding we need God; a dependence, mercy when asked.  Ash is a symbol of morality and the passing nature of life.  A life with God.  We depend on God.  We are penitent with hope and God is waiting.  There are many uses of ashes.  They can kill moss, melt ice, deskunk pets.  In terms of Lent, ashes are used to make soap, hide stains and clean marble.  In Lent we undertake practices of fast, prayer and almsgiving to help remove the dirt on us and to give luster to our soul (My soul is more diamond like...its *sparkly* not like a pearl).  The Mercy of God.  Ashes clear off the grim and restore the luster to the soul.  Ashes give us traction when we are going the wrong way and not hearing God.  We have a dependence on God.  We need to push away what distracts us.  We are at the beginning of a journey and have a chance to clear away what is not of God.

Father used EP II.


Our Lady of the Holy Souls

It looks like one is sticking its tongue out.


View From the Back Pew!

Eucharistic Symbols

Well I think it is VIII...
I'm going to hell for what I see when I look at this...

The Holy Family

St. Teresa of Lisuax
Venerable Catherine McAuley (Apparently the Sisters of Mercy came here...)
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

St. Andrew
St. Benedict and St. Scholastica

St. Francis of Assisi

St. John Vianney

St. Monica
St. Augustine

St. Martin de Porres

St. Thomas More

St. Theresa
Pope John Paul II ( I think....)

Attack of the Holy Spirit

I want to say it is the Resurrection
It really looks like Jesus is being lynched...

Flaming Star of David

Our Lady of the Holy Souls