Sunday, December 27, 2009

St. Simon the Apostle - Green Park

Today is the Feast of the Holy Family!  Best wishes to all the families out there!

Originally, I had planned to visit St. Cletus in St. Charles to meet up with an internet buddy, but there was snow this morning and he told me it wasn't a good idea.  Roads north were not great, but roads south were great.  Additionally, side streets are iffy.  So I had to find a church that had a later Mass and was on a main road.  I settled on St. Simon.

St. Simon is located in south St. Louis County, across from a fire station.  I attended the 11 am Mass on December 27, 2009.

The current church at St. Simon was built in 2001 and consecrated in 2002.  It is a modern church and is an octagon shape.  I totally loved it.  This was a clean, classic modern style that looked like a Catholic Church!

Mass was rather full given the weather with hardly any people coming late.  There were lots of families!

Everyone was really friendly before Mass and spoke to me :)

There wasn't a choir but rather a group of musicians and a cantor.  There was a bass, guitar, flute and violin.

The Music:
Opening:  O Come All Ye Faithful
Offertory:  What Child Is This
Communion:  Emmanuel and Silent Night (with one verse in Spanish)
Recessional:  Joy to the World

The Gloria was the Give Glory to God in the Highest Gloria.  The Responsorial Psalm for the day was supposed to be Psalm 84: Blessed Are They Who Dwell in the Your House, O Lord.  Instead Psalm 98: All the Ends of the Earth Have Seen the Power of God, was used, which is okay according to the Today's Missal.

The homily focused on the family and how parents have a responsibility to insert children into the wider community and help them develop spiritually.  Parents' should always love their children even when they are difficult as children who are secure in their parents' love develop a sense of self.  The homily then turned to finding our true selves, like Jesus did while in the Temple.

The intentions were family themed.  Father sang the Preface and used Eucharistic Prayer III.  There were bells at the Consecration.  Additionally, the Our Father was sung!  The Lamb of God was odd.  It started off with "Peace I give You, Peace I leave you" verse and then went into the regular Lamb of God.

After Mass, the musicians broke into Feliz Navidad.  I have to say, the conversations and leaving were so loud, the music didn't really cover it up.

What was interesting was that on the wall on the side was a document (in Latin and in English) testifying that the Stations of the Cross were installed by a Franciscan.  Here's one article discussing the practice.  Here is another article that discusses that if a Franciscan installs the Stations of the Cross in a Church, there is an indulgence when one prays the Stations of the Cross.


Outdoor Nativity Scene

View from the Back Pew!

Baptism of Jesus Window

Jesus with Children Window

Ascension of Jesus


Cross Window, Sacred Oils, Easter Candle and the Baptismal Fountain

Close-up of the altar

Silver St. Simon
I think on the original Church
Installed in 1984

St. Simon the Apostle Website

Friday, December 25, 2009

St. George - Affton/Gardenville

Merry Christmas Again!
I was so excited that Santa Claus came, I woke up early and decided to go to Christmas Dawn Mass.  (This is such a lie, it was all I could do to get up.)  There are actually Masses held at 7 am and people go to them.  I'm stunned.

I didn't realize that there were 4 (!!!) separate liturgies for Christmas (Vigil, Night, Dawn and Day).  If you go to all of them, you get the complete Christmas story.   This article discusses the differences in the 3 liturgies for Christmas Day.

I'm not exactly sure what to say about this Mass, other than it was depressing.  Father, a Franciscan visiting from St. Anthony of Padua, was delightful and reverent, especially given that he walked with a cane.  He even wore a Christmas themed stole.  I'm just kind of shocked/stunned that there was no music at all.  I find it hard to believe that the congregation couldn't sing a carol or two.  Doesn't everyone know O Come All Ye Faithful or Silent Night without having a choir?  I felt bad for Father too, as he specifically instructed those that were able to genuflect during the Nicene Creed (and he managed) and only about 1/3 of the congregation did.  I realize not everyone is physically able to genuflect, but one can bow or give some other sign of reverence.  He also had to beg for an EMHC to help distribute Communion, which I thought was kind of sad.

The homily focused on "Why Am I Here?" as in why does one come to Mass?  Father connected this to the story of St. Francis and how he realized people didn't understand what it meant when we speak of the Word becoming Incarnate, so he came up with the idea of a Creche.  One day when he was preaching, the baby Jesus came alive.  Father then when on to discuss the Gospel from Midnight Mass, which was from Luke.  Luke sets his story in the socio-political context of the times.  There was no room for Jesus back then, is there still no room for Jesus today in our lives?

After Mass, a parishoner welcomed me and thanked me for visiting and Father was very nice when I asked what kind of Franciscan he is (There are three kinds: Regular, Capuchins, and Black Friars).


View From the Back Pew!

The Creche

Mosaic in the Back

Another Mosaic

Jesus Meets His Mother
Station of the Cross
They are tapestries.

Each of the pews & in other hidden places, displayed different
symbols found in Catholicism.
I saw a variety of symbols, such as the Sacred Heart, a Ladder, Crown of Thorns...

Window featuring Noah's Ark and Rainbow!
With the Ten Commandments in the corner.

The Wise Men
They are right inside the door, as they won't arrive until Epiphany.

St. George Website
Pictures from Rome of the West
FAQ about different Franciscans

St. Mark - Affton

Merry Christmas again!
I couldn't sleep last night, so full of excitement I was, so I went to Midnight Mass at St. Mark in Affton.  St. Mark is a relatively new parish that was created by merging St. Timothy (owned by the Salvation Army), Mary, Queen of the Universe (where the school for St. Mark is located.) and Most Precious Blood.  The new parish is at what used to be a Benedictine Monastery and is now the parish and the Blessed John XXIII Center for the St. Louis Archdiocese.

The set up inside is just odd.  The Church is much longer than it is wide.  Instead of having the altar at an end, the altar was in the middle of a long side, with the pews arranged in a semi-circle.

Before Mass, there were carols sung by the choir and they were lovely.  The music at Mass was accompanied by an organ, with the choir to the right of the Sanctuary.  I'm not sure there is a choir loft.  There were some grills and windows at a second level, but I don't know what they were.

The music for the night:
Opening:  O Come All Ye Faithful
Offertory:  Silent Night (in English and German)
Communion:  Angels We Have Heard on High and O Little Town of Bethelhem
Recessional:  Joy to the World

Mass was very nice and reverent.  The deacon was incredibly reverent.  The crib was blessed with incense and water.  Incense was used through out the Mass.  After the crib was blessed, Adeste Fidelis was sung (O Come All Ye Faithful in Latin).  The Gloria was to the tune of Angels We Have Heard on High.  However, the Proclamation of the Birth of Christ was skipped.

The homily was interesting.  Father started talking about Weddings.  I thought for a minute he had lost it, it being so late.  The point was that when a couple comes to him for the Sacrament, they come "To Make it Holy"  That is the point of Christmas and Christ's Birth:  To Make It Holy.

Before the Nicene Creed (Links to Godzdogz, who go through it phrase by phrase for a total of 46 posts, the last being it chanted Dominican style),  Father said because it was Christmas, when we get to the part in the Creed about the Word being made Incarnate, we were all to genuflect.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer I and there will bells.  The second collection for the seminary was skipped...


The view of Church as I walked from the Parking Lot.

View from one back pew!

View from the Back Pew I sat in.
You can still sort of see the Consecration Crosses on the Wall
Wreaths are hanging from them.

The Nativity Scene

Quilted and Beautiful!

St. Mark, with his symbol, the Lion


St. Mark's Website
Pictures from Rome of the West

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Immaculate Conception - Maplewood

Merry Christmas Everyone!

For the Christmas Eve Vigil, I decided to go to the 6 pm at Immaculate Conception in Maplewood. Immaculate Conception-Maplewood was built early in the 1900s and is a lovely old church. I wish I could have gone during the day to see the windows, which look to be original. For awhile, the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette administered the parish, but currently the parish is administered by the Archdiocese.

Before Mass there was some carols sung by the choir and the children were invited to sing a few songs. The Creche was blessed (minus incense or Holy Water) before Mass. The children, with candles, then processed in with Father.

The music was accompanied by either the organ, guitar or piano depending on what was being sung. The choir, except for the organist, was in the front of church in the sanctuary, instead of the choir loft.

The Music
Opening: O Come All Ye Faithful (last verse was the first Latin verse)
Gloria: Mass of Light (aka Sing Glory to God)
Preparation of the Gifts: The First Nowell (Hey that's how Breaking Bread spells it)
Mass: Mass of Light
Communion: Silent Night in English and in Malagasy to show solidarity with the La Salette Missionaries in Madagascar
Song of Praise and Thanksgiving: Who Has Known...
Recessional: Joy to the World

The Responsorial Psalm for tonight was supposed to be Psalm 89: Forever I Will Sing of the Goodness of the Lord. Instead the Responsorial Pslam was Today Was Born Our Savior.

The homily was interesting, all be it a bit on the long side, almost two homilies joined into one. Father spoke about how we've done all this preparation and then we are given tonight's Gospel reading, which is Jesus' genealogy from the Gospel of Matthew. The point of this list is to remember that God always fulfills his promises and that we will be redeemed. This is the foundation of our joy. Father then went on to discuss four foundations, or pillars, that were discussed during Advent which helps us to be prepared for God. These pillars are prayer, repentance, charity and service. Without these things, we will not know God or be able to recognize Him in this world.

It was different that a family performed the collection duties, in that this involved 2 kids under 12. Additionally, one of the ushers wore 5" heels, which must have been tough.

Father prayed Eucharistic Prayer 1 (but left out all the saints). There were no Consecration bells. At the beginning of the Doxology (Through Him and With Him...) the parish stood and remained standing until Communion. It is usually customary to stand after the Great Amen and then kneel again after the Lord I am not worthy to receive You response.

After Communion, a group of children did a prayer movement during the Song of Praise and Thanksgiving. A few people walked out at this point. I'm not sure what the point of this was but here's a video of it:

Uhm why?

Father did give an extra blessing today.


View From the Back Pew!
Sorry the Images are green.
The church isn't.
Update:  Mark from Rome of the West informs me that having my camera on the
wrong light setting will get me green pictures.

The Nativity Scene
(Which was in the back of Church)

St. Patrick, the Pieta, Sacred Heart of Jesus
A little side Chapel

St. Ann, Mary's Mother
St. Boniface used to have a similar statue.
It looks as if St. Ann is teaching Mary.

View from the Sanctuary.
The Organ Pipes are painted blue!

Agony in the Garden
The bottom says "Not My Will, But Thine Be Done"
Sorry for the green. I don't know how to fix it.

This is a window taken from the outside,
so the Church lights are illuminating it.
It looks like Mary and an Angel, maybe Michael.
Sorry it is blurry, it was really windy and even using my tripod...
But you get the idea. :)

Immaculate Conception Maplewood Website

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Immaculate Conception - Park Hills

Happy 4th Week of Advent!

Today (December 20) I went to 10 am Mass at Immaculate Conception in Park Hills.  Park Hills is an old lead mining area and is still relatively rural.  Since I was going to the middle of nowhere, I brought a friend (Mark from Rome of the West), because getting lost is always more fun with a friend.

Immaculate Conception is a modern church (built in 1958) and relatively sparsely decorated.  However the pews were padded, which I thought was something that only Protestants did, being that Catholics are all into suffering and offering it up and all.

As we found the church, there were many cars in the parking lot and we were afraid we had missed Mass.  (It took ~75 minutes to get there and frankly that would have sucked.)  Happily, there was a Cantata, the Christmas story told with music, and I heard some lovely singing by the choir from St. Joseph in Bonne Terre.  It was quite lovely.

The servers wore red cassocks and Father had a really nice purple chasuble.  The center was a brownish/goldish tapestry with crowns and such in it.  The Deacon's stole didn't match Father's chasuble but it did match the altar cloth.

The choir was in the loft and accompanied by an organ.  The music was:
Opening:  Gather Us In
Offertory:  Sing of Mary, Meek and Lowly
Communion:  Hail Mary, Gentle Women
Closing:  King of Glory

Father started Mass with a prayer in front of the Advent Wreath and then lit the last purple candle.

Today's Responsorial Psalm was supposed to be Psalm 80:  Lord make us turn to You, Let Us see Your Face and be saved.  Instead the choir substituted Psalm 25:  To You, O Lord I lift up my soul.

The homily was given by the permanent deacon and was about peak moments in our lives and that Advent was a time to prepare for those peak moments.

The Prayers of the Faithful were social justice orientated.  I thought for a moment that we weren't going to prayer for the dead and the sick, but then Father gave a meta-intention that included legislators, the sick, the dead and vocations.

There was a little ad-libbing (my friends instead of my brothers and sisters) and I believe Eucharistic Prayer II was used.  There were bells at the Consecration.


It's a Rein-dog!
Found in the parking lot!

Monument outside

View from the Back Pew!

Simon Station of the Cross
Stained Glass Window, which are very blue
I kept thinking it would make an interesting quilt.

St. Joseph, Foster Father of Jesus

The Advent Wreath
I thought it was neat how the smoke was rising
after the candles were blown out.

Shrine area in the back
Not sure who the nun is in the picture on the left.

She's standing on either a viking helmet
or the world with horns.

Immaculate Conception Bulletin
Photo from Rome of the West

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Immaculate Conception - Arnold

Today is the third Sunday in Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday.

I attended the 11:30 am Mass on December 13, 2009 at Immaculate Conception in Arnold.

Music was provided by a guitarist who was up in the choir loft.
The music was:
Opening:  Alleluia! Hurry, the Lord is near.
Offertory:  A Voice Cries Out
Communion:  Jesus Come to Us and Holy Spirit
Recessional:  Every Valley

Immaculate Conception is a nice Church.  I like this style as in old school architecture, but simple on the inside, except with nice stained glass windows.    It seems to be more a working class parish, with many people in casual dress.  There were the usual late comers and there was a mad rush after the priest processed to vacate the Church.  People were processing out with Father.

The homily was really long.  It almost seemed like three homilies jammed together.  Father started talking about St. John the Baptist then moved on to the differences in how fire was portrayed in the Old Testament and the New Testament.  In the Old Testament, fire is punishment, while in the New Testament, fire symbolizes a cleansing from sin or repentance.  Then Father moved on to telling us that we can be like John the Baptist to those that have fallen away from the Catholic Church.  This was the shortest part of the homily and I thought it was the most interesting and would have liked to hear more about it.

The Eucharistic Prayer was Eucharistic Prayer II and there were no bells at the Consecration.  Many in the parish lifted their hands during the Our Father.  The phrases sung during the Lamb of God were Wisdom and Mighty Lord, True Branch of Jesse's Tree and Desire of Nations, Our Emmanuel.  These phrases refer to the O Antiphons, better known as the verses from O Come O Come Emmanuel.

Oh! Nearly forgot!  Extra blessings at the end of Mass!

Just a note:  giving your family members massages during Mass is probably inappropriate.

View from the Back Pew!

Father and Deacon are in ROSE vestments!  WOOT!!
FYI:  Father is actually a Dominican, that is why there
is the hoodie (his habit) sticking out of the vestments.

With what I'm guessing are Consecration Crosses, which are used
in the consecration of a Church.

Inset of one of the windows

Hail Mary, Full of Grace
Mosaic on the outside of the Church

Chapel of the Three Marys
The parish has a cemetery and this is a little chapel in the cemetery.
That is a real altar, with an altar stone.

Immaculate Conception in Arnold Website (There are old photos from 1915 and the original 1880s church under Church History tab)
Pictures from Rome of the West