Sunday, August 24, 2014

St. Mary - Helena

Evening all!  I'd like to wish all my St. Louis readers a Happy Feast of St. Louis!  I wish I was there to celebrate and go to a mass in French (and to get the plenary indulgence and the ice cream...).

I was in Tunica this weekend, gambling the rent money, and passed through Helena, AR (It's a combined city...Helena West Helena).  I decided to return here for 10 am Mass on Sunday morning.  It's a really nice church for Arkansas and it is the second one with walls the color of my parents' living room.  (I picked that color out and did the painting so I'm real familiar with it.).  I wish I had known the church was designed by Charles Eames (SQUEE!! The Powers of Ten guy!!!!!!).  The windows were done by Emil Frei (I wondered why St. Louis was in the window...).  I got to Mass 5 minutes before it started and like most churches, the lights were off 10 minutes after Mass :(  I'd have taken a picture of the ceiling had a known. (Eames designed a second church in Arkansas.....and I pass it every time I go to St. Louis....very interesting....) Wow.  Who would of thought.  Helena AR was big when cotton was king and is the site of a huge Blues Festival (King Biscuit Blues Fest), as it had a thriving blues community in 1940s & 1950s.  Apparently, besides cotton, the other major industry was rubber.  When the rubber plant closed, the town has faced rough economic times.  It's apparently one of the poorest cities in the nation....(which doesn't surprise me in the least...).

Everyone was dressed rather nice (except me...ooops).  The pastor is going back to the Congo for the next month, so his replacement was introduced this morning.

The music was supplied by an organ (and maybe bells) and a choir in the loft!
Music:
Opening: The Church's One Foundation
Offertory: Only This I Want; Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silent
Communion: You Satisfy the Hungry Heart
Closing: Holy God We Praise Thy Name

Homily:  (For a change, I thought you'd like to see my actual notes, not the cleaned up version.  I had my ipad with me so I took digital notes.)
Word of god challenges us on authority
Symbolized by keys
Shopping for car.. Story of peter with big keys pope kisses statue not true

Prophet Isaiah speaks to man incharge of palace...chief of staff or prime minister
People who have lot of authority
God says will throw out and replace
All symbols will be given to him
Not good news if you threaten those with power...died in a "road accident". How people with big powers behave
Keys are given symbolize of authority
Have responsibility
Not only to those to government
Responsibility in family..
Parents are everything...have power, give displace and security
Difficult without parents when are young
Responsibility when you farm... Teach others..gives authority
It is nothing if not at service
Not priest for self...for others
What is point without congregation
U are good teacher when your students succeed (ugh...education reformy language)
Authority do your best
Peter has authority in faith
Only man god choose. That god reveleaded to him...who the son was and the father
Through peter we know that Jesus is son of god
Who do you say I am...Jesus continues to ask us
What is your answer...determined your commitment
When man and woman together,...what they call each other determines the commitment
If we never say Jesus is god, we don't have right relationship
He's not prophet, he is son of god...we profess this everyday

Father used Eucharistic Prayer III and there were bells at the Consecration.  The Holy Holy and the Lamb of God were sung in Latin and the Our Father was sung.

During the announcements, a note from Bishop Taylor was mentioned and Father further talked about it.  Basically, the Bishop is asking us to pray to stop the Black Mass in Oklahoma.  Father discussed it and talked about spiritual warfare.  Additionally, Father mentioned when Confirmation was this year and if you'd never been Confirmed, it wasn't too late.  (wow...topics I rarely here about at Mass.)

Pictures:  (Sorry...I was rushed..window #1, St. Anne and St. Joachim are all unusable)





Find St. Louis ;)

St. Bernard and St. Dominic


The Transept Windows: Representing 4 Offierings


Windows #2 & #3

 
Windows #4, #5, & #6



Link:
St. Mary - Helena (Click on the link that says Church Architecture...how Charles Eames came up with the design and the windows are described :) )
Helena West Helena (in case you want to go)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

St. Mary - St. Vincent

Hello all!  I'm back on track.  Going to Mass.  :) Until next weekend...and the weekend after that..and the weekend after that....(I'm going out of town (Tunica!), will do my bestest.)

This morning I headed to the blink and you missed it town known as St. Vincent.  It's about an hour or so away from Little Rock to the west.

The church was built in 1931, but it looks like the interior has been redone more recently.  I have to say they have the narrowest pews I've sat in for a modern church.  The pews had to be about foot on the part you sit on.  Not comfy in the slightest.  It was pretty plain on the inside, but nice.

Music:  There was an organ and small choir in the front of the church.
Opening:  All Are Welcome
Offertory:  Isaiah 49
Communion:  Come Gather At the Table
Closing:  Holy God, We Praise Thy Name

Homily:
Send her away say the disciple; not one of their finest moments (there are quite a few of these actually...).  The words seem so heartless, have they no compassion?  Jesus seems indifferent to the woman.  He was silent.  Jesus was up to something.  He was waiting to show His cards.  What is their motivation?  The disciples were physically tired...they had been following Jesus around, they were tired of the requests.  They were crabby.  Enough is enough.  We can see that in us.  Additionally, it was very important to know who were in and who were out.  It was unthinkable to acknowledge someone who was out (It's like high school...).  What did Jesus do?  He verbalized the deep seated prejudices at the time.  The woman senses what Jesus is doing.  Jesus is confronting man made barriers and ridiculous grudges.  Jesus did not buy into injustice.  He and the woman were in search of goodness.   He tells the woman that her Faith is great.  The disciples were closed minded, narrow viewed, cold hearted and lacking in Faith.  The woman was open minded, broad viewed and warm hearted and had great Faith (cause she's a woman...and we awesome.)  This is not a window into the past.  The prejudice continues today.  We like to inclusive/exclusive; based on how much they are like us.  We make hurtful distinctions about who is one of us and who is not.  God's love has no boundaries.  All of us have people in our life that need our love, compassion and understanding, but we fail to give it to them.

Father verbalized all the secret prayers and used Eucharistic Prayer III, with bells.

Pictures:





Link:
St. Mary - St. Vincent

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Celebrating!

My birthday coincides with the Feast of St. Dominic.  One must properly celebrate.



Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sorry

There was no church visit today.  I explain why below.

A family member and I got into a huge argument last night.  This family member is leaving the Catholic Church and being baptized into the Baptist Church.  Normally, I would just be like whatever and put up a token protest.  Of course, there is a complication.  Namely 3.  I am Godmother to this person's children (2 of 3 and would have been to all 3 if the pastoral administrator hadn't gotten creative.)  I reminded (as nonconfrontationally as possible...but you've read my blog...) that they and I had gotten up before the Catholic Church and promised to raise these children Catholic.  Needless to say, this person took exception to be reminded of the Baptismal promises.  This person claimed they never had a choice to be baptized.  I accepted that reminded them that they stood up since then 3 times to baptize these children.  I got a lot of well the children think Mass is boring.  The homilies are boring.  There is nothing the Church offers the children like Vacation Bible School and bible study.  They aren't learning anything in PSR.  I tried to remind them that it is their responsibility as parent to teach.  I also reminded them that the world is boring and you'd just better get used to it.  What happens when they (they are in 3rd and 1st grade) find school boring?  Are you just going to stop going?  Oh they love school...  I tried to tell her that religion is not a shoe, it is not about a "fit" Then I was reminded of my responsibilities as a godparent and how I've utterly failed.  Which I freely admit and accept.  I have done a terrible job.  But I couldn't just let this go.    Needless to say, this has escalated to Facebook, where terribly unChristian things are being said.  (I'm thinking this baptism isn't going to stick either).

Needless to say I didn't fall asleep until 5 am because I was so upset and only slept for 2 hours.  Two hours of horrible dreams of black tendrils pulling at me, pulling me down.  Fell back asleep at 10 for two more hours.  I'm totally out of it.


I confess to almighty God 
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, 
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, 
through my fault, 
through my fault, 
through my most grievous fault; 
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, 
all the Angels and Saints, 
and you, my brothers and sisters, 
to pray for me to the Lord our God.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

St. Mary (Our Lady, Help of Christians) - Altus

Hi-De-Ho!  Hope everyone is having a nice cool Sunday.  It's hot here.  It's humid.  It's awful.  I'm so glad I live when and where AC is available.

Unlike Missouri, Arkansas' grape harvest is starting right about now.  The wineries here don't really celebrate Oktoberfest (the Swiss one does though).  This weekend, the grape growing area had a grape fest.  Free wine tasting.  100 degree heat.  Someone's not feeling all that great.  My co-workers were worried that I would not be in any shape to drive the 2 hours back and I was like I'm going to Mass...I'll be fine by the time it is over.   Yeah.  Except I was not in the best shape for Mass.  My shirt was soaked with sweat.  I'm buzzed.  If you have met me while buzzed, you know that staying quiet is a challenge. So are some other things but I'm good Catholic woman who shouldn't know about such things.

St. Mary overlooks the entire Altus valley.  It's on a hill, up one of the most horrid roads especially considering it is a tourist area.  The name on the cornerstone was Our Lady, Help of Christians.  (I'm really surprised that Churches in wine country aren't named after the patron saint of wine or grapes:  St. Martin of Tours, St. Vincent of Saragossa and St. Amand)

I walked into the Church and nearly cried (It was the wine...honest).  St. Mary's looks like a Catholic Church.  Big fancy high altars and side altars.  Stained glass windows featuring Saints.  Murals on the walls.  The ceiling was decorated as well as the columns and the the archways.  Huge Stations of the Cross.  Old, uncomfortable pews and kneelers.  Painted organ pipes.  It was like I was back in the older churches in St. Louis.  The only thing out of place was the glass confessional.  I kid you not.  Glass --see through walls.  At least they had the decency to hang curtains.  Although I wonder how long that took.

I always forget how much better choirs sound when they are up in the loft.  The music seems to fill the Church without the need for microphones.  Music was accompanied by an organ (with pipes!) and a choir.
Opening:  I Know My Redeemer Lives (apparently there are 2 songs of that title in the book.  The choir sang one and the people the other....)
Mass Setting:  Heritage Mass
Offertory:  Earthen Vessels
Communion:  Shepherd of Souls
Closing:  Lead Me Lord

Mass was said by one of the Benedictines from Subiaco Abbey.  Apparently, the parish has had a hard time getting a full time regular priest.

Homily:
For the last few Sundays, Jesus has been speaking to us in parables.  Today it is the Pearl of Great Price and the Fish.  Parables were very important in ancient times.  It was a way for people to remember the story and the lesson.  We have bad memories now thanks to all the tv and internet in our lives.  (I blame google.)  I'm going to focus on the net collecting fish.  The net collects the fish, both good and bad and then the fishermen keep the good fish and toss the bad (Are you a good fish or a bad fish?).  Fishing was important back then because people didn't eat meat.  (So all those stories about sheep?  what did they do with the sheep???)  The Kingdom of Heaven is like that.  It is a hidden thing that we can't see.  It must be drawn out.  We are called to live and be a part of the Kingdom of Heaven through the Sacraments and by the life we lead.  We must work to pull the good out from the bad.  As we live or try to live the Christian life, we are surrounded by a society that forgets Christian life (and actively tries to destroy it...)  The Angels will separate the good fish from the bad.  We struggle to see this.  We might not see the difference between fish.  (Indeed).  Is it worth the effort?  I try to live a good Christian life yet others are doing better than me.  What use is it?  We are called to do this.  Ponder the 2nd verse from today's Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 119).  We may fall away but as Christians we are called o have this as Your delight.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer III (seems to be a favorite around here) and there were bells.

It was nice Mass.  I even met a doctor from St. Louis.  :)

Pictures:  I know the last couple of churches have been rather, uhm, stark.  This should make up for it nicely.  Some are missing because someone can't take steady shots buzzed.  I'll be going back in the fall for Oktoberfest.



 















 
One of these guys is St. Meinreid.

This is something you rarely see...
St. Raphael!








Link:
St. Mary - Altus

Monday, July 21, 2014

Assumption - Atkins

Hello all.  Sorry this post is late.  My bestest bud is moving and I was making a quilt for a housewarming gift and I'm on a tight deadline.  (It's very lovely :) )

On Sunday morning, I attended the 8:30 am Mass at Assumption in Atkins (home of the Pickle Fest!).  It's a smallish church (but was packed) that is a bit plain on the inside.

Music was accompanied by an organ and choir in the back.
Opening:  Gather Us In
Mass Setting:  Mass of Wisdom
Offertory:  Seek Ye First
Communion:  Take & Eat This Bread
Blessing for Choir Director:  A Blessing
Closing:  O God, Our Help in Ages

Homily:
Whoever has ears aught to hear.  Jesus is telling parables to those who acknowledge them.  Parables are practical stories with deeper meaning.  They tend to be about farming because everyone who was listening was familiar with farming (I will say I get the parables more now that I work in agriculture..).  Our salvation is part of the harvest.  The fruit is our lives.  The devil is a weed that chokes off the fruits of our lives.  We need to live our Faith.  God has planted the seed in us.  We need to grow and bear fruit.  The challenge is that we are surrounded by temptations.  The world tries to choke off Faith: ignore, persecute, ridicule and destroy Faith.  People lose sight and fall away.  No one helps them to bear fruit.  We live for God; life for all eternity.  We see it in the world.  If we don't have a good foundation, we lose Faith.  The Spirit is there even if we don't know it.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer 2 and there were bells.

It was a nice Mass.

Pictures:











Link:
Assumption