Monday, March 29, 2010

Tenebrae - Discalced Carmelites

Hope everyone is having a good start to Holy Week.  I really really wanted to go the Tenebrae service at the Cathedral on Holy Thursday.  I hear it is totally awesome and I had never heard of it before.  However, I plan to go to the Chrism Mass in the morning (will be wearing a blue polo...) and as much as I love the Cathedral, 3 services in one day, all of them long, is not going to get through every church in the Archdiocese.  I was then trying to find the earliest and closest Holy Thursday Mass to the Cathedral so I could make it to Tenebrae at 9 pm.  It seemed a rather unrealistic goal.  Lucky me, I was flipping through the St. Louis Review looking for my next pancake fix, when I saw that the Discalced Carmelites were having a Tenebrae service on Palm Sunday!

Tenebrae basically means "darkness".  It is a service or song of mourning.  The Church is mourning Her betrayed, crucified, or buried (depending on the day) Bridegroom Jesus Christ.  There are readings, reflections and psalms.  The psalms are the the more mournful and sorrowful ones.

The night started off with a Rosary.  We prayed the entire Sorrowful Mysteries.  I'm almost positive I haven't said a full round of the Rosary since 8th grade.  We knelt the entire time.  I wanted to sit at some point but seeing elderly nuns tough it out drove me to keep kneeling.  After every decade, we said O Mary Conceived without Sin, Pray for Us who Have Recourse Thee" and "O My Sweet Jesus, blank blank pray for us Sinners who fear burning in hell and those souls who need your intercession" or something like that.  I hadn't heard that exclamation before but by the 5th recitation I had it.  As you can see, less than 4 hours later it's gone.  Then we prayed for Bishops, Priests, Deacons and Seminarians (hopes my favorite seminarians are reading this!)  and an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.  Next came Benediction.  Some of the hymns (and prayers) were in Latin.  I recognized Tantum Ergo.  Benediction ended with O Sacred Head Surrounded.

If ever you go to a liturgy or service and don't know what to do, do whatever nuns in habits are doing ;)

Next came the Tenebrae.  Almost the entire service was chanted by the Crux Ave Choir and they were totally awesome.  The choir would chant one (odd) verse of the psalm and then the congregation chanted the next verse (even).  I was worried because I don't know much about chant I wouldn't be able to figure it out and chant along.  The basic melody was given in the booklets and the words that you went up or down on were bolded.  After going through one psalm, I had the hang of it.  So for you who are worried that chant is hard, I didn't think it was any harder than regular music.  Actually it was easier in way.  Now I'm sure it is much harder to do melodies and stuff like the choir did, but for your basic Sunday Mass, it wouldn't be too difficult.  It might be better for people too, especially us poor altos and basses.

The service went as follows:

After every psalm and canticle, a candle was extinguished.  This represents people leaving or abandoning Jesus.  The top candle on the candle holder (hearse) is called the Jesus candle.  It is never extinguished, but it does go into hiding.

I really liked this service!

St. Michael the Archangel
His sword is it burns in the sun...
like a sword of fire!

View from the Back Pew

(First Statue of I've seen of him...)

(I think...I get the St. Teresa's confused...)

Rose Window

Side window
All of the side windows were similar
with symbols in them.

Upper Windows
Featuring scenes from Jesus' life

Mary Pavilion at Night

The Chapel of the Precious Blood

Recruitment Poster

Website of the St. Louis Discalced Carmelites
Pictures and here from Rome of the West

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Eucharistic Miracle Exhibit

Hello All!  Originally I had planned to go to a parish named after St. Joseph this Sunday.  Furthermore, I had no intentions of going to anywhere that involved I-55 or the various roads used for detours around I-55 since I-55 was closed.  However, I learned that St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was hosting an exhibit of Eucharistic Miracles.  The exhibit is put together by The Body of Christ Outreach and features posters describing the various Eucharistic Miracles in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.  There seems to be 3 general types of Eucharistic Miracle:

  • The Consecrated Host and/or Wine turn into actual flesh and/or Blood
  • Consecrated Host are hidden/stolen/lost/locked in a box and don't go "bad"
  • The chapel/church building burns down but the Consecrated Hosts are untouched and unharmed.
There seemed to be a great deal of these miracles between 1200 and 1400.  The latest one I could fine was in 1916.  I noticed many of the miracles took place in Italy, France, Spain, The Netherlands and Poland.  I didn't see that any have occurred in America :(

It was a very nice exhibit.  I was kinda hoping there would be actual objects or some of the miraculous Hosts...but there wasn't.  (FYI:  You can bring the exhibit to your parish, contact the people above.)  


St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Happy Palm aka Passion Sunday (It is why Father wore red today)!  Did everyone go to Church and get their palms?  Have you tried to turn your palms into nifty things like crosses?

This morning I went to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (St. MMA) for Palm Sunday (3/28) for the 11:30 am Mass.  It wasn't clear on their website, but the 11:30 am Mass is the Youth Mass, with special seating up front for teenagers.

St. MMA is a modern church in the shape of a semi-circle.  The back pews are raised.  For once I could see the altar from the back pew!  Mass was packed to standing room only.  The mother next to me was surprised that Mass was so crowded...I told her it is free Palm day!

The music was accompanied by a band with piano.
Mass Setting:  Mass of Creation
Procession with Palms:  Hosanna by Baloche and Brown
Offertory:  Open the Eyes of My Heart
Communion:  Hosanna by Fraser and This is Our Lamb
Closing: in they wanted us to leave the Church silently.

Again, I have to ask, are there no Catholic pop songs?  For some reason, I can't wrap my mind around hearing the same songs on the Christian station on Sirius XM during Mass.  Also, I question the wisdom of a "silent" end to Mass.  I know that is the standard on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, but I have to wonder if it is realistic.  One because there are many activities occurring in the narthex, when the ushers open the doors to facilitate the rush to the parking lot, the noise comes into the nave.  Secondly, no one gets being quiet in Church anymore.  Heaven forbid you try to pray as it is so loud.

Because it was cold, windy and pouring, a Procession wasn't possible.  It's also not realistic to process from the narthex when you have 600+ people at a Mass (They don't all fit!).  I'm not 100% sure if the palms were blessed at this Mass.  Since St. MMA has 5 Mass every weekend (This was Mass 5.), they could have been blessed at one of the earlier Masses.  It is possible I missed it too, because it took me forever to find Father in the packed Church.

The homily today was excellent.  Father explained the origin of palms.  The Jewish people waved palms to indicate that the Messiah was coming and later evolved to nationalistic tones.  Hosannah means "Lord Save Us Now".  The Jews wanted a different Messiah, perhaps one to throw out the Romans, instead of the one they got.  Father then asked if we were willing to accept the crucified Jesus; if we were going to take up the Cross.  It was the way of Christ and it is the way for us.  Christ came not to make a perfect world, but to make us perfect.  People expect the Church to be perfect, but it isn't.  It is filled with sinners and is imperfect.  Father ended with a quote from Our Lady of Lourdes to St. Bernadette:  "I can't promise you happiness here, but in the life to come."

Father used Eucharistic Prayer II with bells being rung at the Consecration.  Many people held hands during the Our Father.  What is odd is that people will hold hands at the Our Father but will not shake hands at the Sign of Peace.


St. Margaret Mary Alacoque - Exterior

Corner Stone

View From the Back Pew!

Close Up of Sanctuary
I can't decide if the theme is "Upside Down Tree Roots"
or "The Claw"

Banner in Sanctuary

Mary and Joseph
Statues are from St. Boniface
I recognized Mary immediately.
I think the original statues are in the nave.

Stations 8-14.
I rather like these Stations.

Close Up of The Eighth Station:
Jesus Meets the Women

Sainted Glass Ceiling Window

Stained Glass Windows on Sides of Church

Holy Family
This and the next 2 windows were in the Adoration Chapel
Both the windows below are surrounded by the same circle of stained glass.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Website
Exterior Photo from Rome of the West

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lost (& Found): Mount Providence School for Boys

I became rather interested in looking at "lost" Catholic St. Louis for a couple different reasons, some of which I've already discussed.  An additional reason is because of one of the regular commenters, p. finley.  He mentioned that to fix an interstate exchange, they tore down his school and all that was left was the bell tower (It's a cupola BTW).  Since the property is adjacent to UM-St. Louis, I was intrigued.  I don't ever recall seeing the building or the tower.  I have spent the last 4 months, every time I was on that part of campus looking for it.  I finally did find it, but taking a picture of it has been a challenge.

8351 Florissant Rd, St Louis, MO 63121
(If you map it, move up the hill, behind the apartment buildings)
This is the image from bing.
I-70 borders one side.
High fences border the rest.
You can see it from the Interstate..
esp. I-70 W the Florissant Exit.
Not exactly safe photography conditions.

Finally success!  I was at McDonalds (sorry Jenny) and I looked and saw the tower.  I then realized I could get a semi-decent picture from the parking lot of the Cool Valley City Hall.

The wide view.

The limits of the digital zoom on my camera.

Sisters of Divine Providence History (has a pic of school)
Final History from Dykon Blasting Co.

Fish Fry Friday - Seven Holy Founders

Hello all!
I've already been to Seven Holy Founders for Mass, now it's time for fish fry to benefit the school!  It was quite delightful!  They also served cocktails.  :)  There were Tiger and Cub Scouts selling candy.  The principal Brother J was serving fish :)

No Mac & Cheese though :(
FYI:  This is 2 meals...

Cornerstone at the Entrance to the Parish

Top of Fence

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Viva San Guiseppe!

Hello all!
Did you know that I'm 1/4 Italian?  Yup!  Unfortunately my Italian grandfather died before I was born, so I don't know very much about Italian traditions or Catholic Italian traditions.  Apparently, St. Joseph and his feast day are really big in Italy.

Today (3/21) St. Ambrose, the Italian parish, hosted a festival of sorts in honor of St. Joseph in the school cafeteria.  There were lots of yummy baked goods and food.  The highlight was a Mass in Italian for the Feast of St. Joseph.  Everything but the homily and the intentions was in Italian (or Latin as Mark informs me).  The Mass parts were chanted in Latin.  Let me just say that everyone spoke really fast in Italian.

The hymns:
Entrance:  Parce Domine (maybe the Introit for the feast)
Offertory: T'Adoriam
Communion:  O Capo Insanguinato
Meditation:  Vi Adoro
Closing:  Lodate Dio

It was pretty awesome.  There were close to 200 people there.  Most of them were my parents age or older.  It would be sad to see this tradition disappear.

Father's homily spoke to the tradition of St. Joseph.  Apparently, St. Joseph Altars used to be set up by orphans, as St. Joseph is the patron Saint of Orphans and they used it be in homes.  The tradition started when there was a famine in Sicily and the people prayed to St. Joseph.  Father wasn't sure why they prayed to St. Joseph, as he's not the patron Saint of rain.  My guess is that it's because St. Joseph was a Father and a provider.  Father then talked about how the tradition evolved to what it is today.  He also talked about the St. Joseph statue coming from an old Italian parish downtown that was razed for the interstate.  It is important to keep traditions and to keep the Faith.

St. Joseph Altar
This was blessed by Archbishop Carlson at an earlier Mass.
I was busy eating pancakes...

Close Up

Side Altar

A donated Cake.
Monsignor mentioned that by baking and donating cakes,
the baker would receive the intercession of St. Joseph.

Various banners were hung around the Cafeteria.
Joseph most obedient was another.

St. Ambrose bulletin
Picture from Rome of the West
Info about the St. Joseph Table tradition

St. Martin de Porres - Hazelwood

Hello and Happy Passion Sunday!

I had planned to go to another Church named St. Joseph, but one of my regular commenters (p. finley) invited me to St. Martin de Porres this weekend because they were having pancakes and he knows my fondness for them.  The pancakes were delicious and they had Mrs Butterworth's for syrup.  Yum!

I attended the 11 am Mass on Sunday, March 21.  The Church itself is very modern and looks rather like an upside down boat.  It's also bigger on the inside than it looks.

The music was accompanied by a piano, guitar and bass.
Opening:  Lord Who Throughout These Forty Days
Offertory:  You Are Mine
Communion:  Hosea
Closing:  Thy Word is a Lamp

The Responsorial Psalm was scheduled to be Psalm 126, but we used Psalm 91, which is an option.  Because there were no catechumens or elect present, we used the Readings for Cycle C (The women about to be stoned) instead of Cycle A (Lazarus).

Father used Penitential Rite A and Eucharistic Prayer II (no bells at Consecration).  The first intention was odd:  It was asking for God to bring wealth to the Parish.

Father's homily was entitled "Erasing Our Sins."  He started off with a discussion of what was Jesus drawing or doodling in the sand during the Gospel readings.  St. Jerome suggested that it was the sins of the people accusing the women.  Others have said Jesus was taking a moment to pray to God to decide what to do.  Father suggested that Jesus was not writing but rather erasing.  Father then connected this to the First Reading from Isaiah about those who wallow in the past.  Prisoners of the past have no future.  Father then suggested Jesus was erasing the patriarchal system of religion that helped to keep women in their place (uhhhh...).  Father then jumped to a meeting 34 American Archbishops had in Rome a few years ago with the Vatican about how we hand out annulments like candy.  A Vatican Cardinal was also concerned about the religious sisters who worked in the Tribunal, suggesting they were tender-hearted and shouldn't be exposed to such things.  Father then went on to discuss how the Church needs to wake up and realize it is past the "pay, pray and obey" phase of its history.  Father suggested that the Church needs to listen to the people and then speak with Jesus' voice.  (Uhm...FYI:  The Church isn't a democracy...and it is universal...what if you have two opposing cultures?  but I digress) .  Father then goes on to say that this Gospel story in John, about the adulterous woman, was not added until the 3rd or 4th century because the early Church leaders feared that it would encourage laxity in marriage by the women and rather encourages the men because the guy gets off scot-free in the story.  Father then ended his detour and talked about how the woman was given a second chance and grace and how she left the encounter with her dignity in tact.  The Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist (uh...) give us a second chance.  Today is a second chance.

Right before the Mass ended, a Knight of Columbus came up to discuss the work the Knights of Columbus does.  Apparently it is more than have pancakes.  They support missions, schools, and seminarians.  There is also a ladies auxiliary (did not know that!).  Any male over 18 that is a practicing Catholic is welcome to join the Knights of Columbus.  (You do get a sword at some point...)

St. Martin de Porres Exterior
It looks like an upside down boat kinda sorta...

St. Francis of Assisi Garden

Mary garden
In front of the main entrance
I like how it reflects the shape of the Church.

The font looks like the bottom half of Eve...from Wall-E

Close-Up of Lamb Window

The Holy Family

View from the Back Pew
The Holy Spiders make sure you pay attention during the Homily.

Relics underneath
Apparently, he set up a hospital for stray cats and dogs.
He's now going to be Jake's go-to saint :)

Relics of St. Martin de Porres

Mary and Joseph
These cabinets can be closed.  Traditionally, this Sunday, Passion Sunday
is when this was done.

The Eighth Station:
Jesus meets the Women.


St. Martin de Porres Website
Pictures from a Parishoner
Pictures and discussion from Built St. Louis