Monday, June 28, 2010

Reflections on the Precious Blood

Hi all.
No Church pictures in this post.  My social network has again agreed to blog on a common topic, this time the Precious Blood which is what July has been traditionally dedicated.

This is a hard topic for me.  I suppose the first thing I think about is why parishes use red wine that tastes terrible.  I mean really, doesn't Jesus deserve to be tasty?  I'm also rather surprised that parishes always use red.  Never blush or white.  Is it red to help us remember what it is?  But wouldn't it be easier to see a Eucharistic Miracle if the wine suddenly went from white to a blood red?

Speaking of Eucharistic Miracles, in a homily for Corpus Christi, one priest mentioned that scientists did a blood type test of a Eucharistic Miracle somewhere in Europe.  Jesus apparently has blood type AB+.  I'm rather shocked it isn't O-, the universal donor.  Wouldn't Jesus want everyone able to get His Blood? I did notice that when I went to the Eucharistic Miracle Exhibit there seemed to be a lack of Eucharistic Miracles in the United States and in the last 50 or so years.  I wonder why.  It seems like we need them more today and in the United States more than ever.

When I think of the Precious Blood, I think about the terror of actually receiving and of being tapped to be a Eucharistic Minister.  Terror not because I'm not worthy and God will strike me down in the middle of the Church, but more terror that I will drop or spill it.  I can't decide if it is because it is like sacrilege or I'd be humiliated.

I do recall learning in grade school that it was a privilege to receive the Precious Blood, that before Vatican II, the laity were not allowed to receive the Precious Blood for the most part.  I know in the Eastern churches, they receive by intinction, which is dipping the host into the wine.  I am grateful and appreciative that I have the option to receive the Precious Blood, even if I rarely do.

When I think about the Precious Blood, I think about how the St. Louis Archdiocese doesn't have a parish named after the Precious Blood anymore.  I also think about the religious order, the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood, that ran the high school I attended.

It's hard to talk about the Precious Blood, I think, because it doesn't seem as if we as Catholics think it is all that important.  It's almost an after thought it seems at times.  When you go to Eucharistic Adoration, it is always the Precious Body, not the Blood.  Saints who only eat the Most Blessed Sacrament seem to only take the Body and not the Blood.  Some of my more traditionally minded friends seem to believe that having the option to receive the Precious Blood at every Mass is unnecessary.  I think that is a little extreme.  Perhaps a happy medium of intinction would be best.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sacred Heart - Ozora

Good Sunday to you all!

I headed south this week to Sacred Heart in Ozora.  There are still parishes further south!  I attended the 9:30 Mass on June 27.

Sacred Heart is a small older church built in 1921.  Mass was about half full.

Before Mass, the organ played.
The Music:
Opening:  For You Are My God
Offertory:  Blest Be the Lord
Communion:  Down In Adoration Falling
Closing: Though the Mountains May Fall

In his homily, Father talked about how he looks for a theme or one word that ties all three readings together.  For today, that word is Commitment.  We need to take commitment very seriously.  Once we make a commitment, there is nothing to go back to.  Commitment brings freedom.  The cost is secondary to the actual commitment.  We should not look back to what could have been.  God helps us to make good commitments.

I am unsure of what Eucharistic Prayer Father used today.  I looked at this site which has a great many Eucharistic Prayers and was unable to match what Father said.  He used the Preface about the Royal Priesthood.  The Eucharistic Prayer started: Father, something might.  After the Sanctus it was So Loving Father, We Remember All..  Then there was a line about the faith of those you only know.  There was a bell at the Consecration.

Shockingly...there were no announcements.

Sacred Heart

View from the Back Pew

Close Up of High Altar

The Eighth Station:  Jesus Meets the Women
(Question:  Who brings their kids to an execution?)

Sacred Heart of Jesus
Jesus says "Let's Hug!"

Easter Candle and Salad Bowl Holy Water Font

Sacred Heart Window

Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary Window

Mary, Queen of Heaven

Jesus, King of Heaven

Jesus, the Good Shepherd

St. Francis of Assisi and St. Joseph

Trinity (?) Window

Information from the Archdiocese

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Random Catholicism & Lost (& Found): St. Leo

This morning, I went to Shaw's Garden to see the DinoQuest exhibit.  While wandering around the Temperate House looking for dinosaurs, I noticed a portico with sign on it.  

Sign Explaining St. Leo Portico

I've been to Shaw's Garden hundreds of times and it never clicked that the portico was from a Catholic school.  Amazing what you find and what you miss if you aren't paying attention.

St. Leo School Portico

Top of St. Leo School Portico

Link to the Information from the Archdiocesan Archives.

I did look at satellite maps of the area...St. Leo is in an area of the city that is almost totally deserted. It is just vacant lots where the buildings used to be.

Assumption Greek Orthodox

Hello all!  I lost these pictures for awhile but found them looking for a certain photo I took of Jake!  These pictures are from May 28, 2010.

Assumption Greek Orthodox Church has a Greek Festival (yuuummm) every Memorial Day Weekend.  Since they were giving church tours, I thought I would go and see the inside!

I don't know very much about the Orthodox Churches and know even less about how many there are and what the differences are between Greek and Russian Orthodox.  What I do know is that the break between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches essentially started in 1054 and is known as the Great Schism.  From what I recalled, it had something to do with the Pope being in Rome and not in Constantinople (Istanbul...cue They Might Be Giants) and something about the Nicene Creed.  I thought it was because of the dual nature of Jesus, that he is human and divine, but I think that was a different heresy/schism (so many to choose from...) based on what I was reading in the literature I found in the back of the Church.  According to their literature, the split was over the filioque clause in the Nicene Creed about how the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.  It is beyond my theological pay grade as to what is wrong or right with that clause.  But according to the literature that clause was inserted into the Nicene Creed (created in 325) in 589.  I know news took along time to travel back in the day, but if that was the real reason why did it take 500 years for the split to occur.  I did chat with a history/theology student who claimed that the cause was the Sack of Constantinople (1254) by the Fourth Crusade.  So why is the date the schism given as 1054 and not after 1254?  This is the sum of my knowledge of the Orthodox Churches.  Well I take that back.  They do icons and priests are allowed to be married provided that they are married before they are ordained (I think...don't quote me on that)

The church was beautiful on the inside.  No plain white walls here.  Lots of paintings and icons were present.

Collection of Icons outside door to nave

Covered icon
Nice Peacocks

St. Gabriel
The Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches have many saints in common,
especially saints that existed way before 1054.

St. Michael the Archangel

View from the Back Pew!

Altar Close Up

Last Supper above the Altar

Angels having a discussion over tea.

St. Nicholas and St. Andrew the Apostle 
(Note the cross shaped cross in the little window.
Not sure why the anchor...)

St. Demetrios 
St. Katherine (of Alexandria...note the wheel)
(We (RCC) spell it with a C...)

St. Constantine
His Mother, St. Helen

St. Mariana
The Life Giving Font (aka Mary)

St. Athanasius
St. Nectarious

St. George
St.  Barbara

St. Kyraki
St. Irene

St. Anna (Mary's Mother)
St. Basil the Great

St. Savas

Pictures from Rome of the West

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sacred Heart - Elsberry

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers and spiritual fathers (aka priests)!  Hope you are having a great day in the AC.

This morning I drove to where my cell phone gets no reception.  I went to the 10:30 am at Sacred Heart in Elsberry, which I believe is the northernmost parish in the archdiocese.  It was a lovely drive through the flood plain.

Initially, I wasn't sure which building was the church, but I followed the guy in the black cassock and he went into the church.  Father greeted me and inquired if I was Catholic (had a feeling the next question if the answer was no would have been would you like to be?) and if I had moved into the area.  Father told me all about the renovations the parish was undertaking.  The vestibule had been retiled and many of the statues have been refurbished.  St. Teresa is still out being restored but is expected to be back in July.

This church is tiny!  I would guesstimate that it is the size of Cure of Ars.  Father told me the parish numbered about 200 families, which was I though impressive given the church was in such a rural area.

The music ministry was on vacation so Father picked and lead the hymns.
Opening:  Humbly Lord, We Worship You
Presentation:  Lord I'm Not Worthy
Closing:  Faith of Our Fathers
The Holy, Holy and the Lamb of God were both in Latin.  The memorial acclamation was "Keep in mind..."

Father used the full Penitential Rite and worked into the intro about failing to obey/respect one's father.  Father sang the opening prayer and the entire Liturgy of the Eucharist.  The Our Father was sung.

Father's homily was on a topic not often heard in Mass:  the value of suffering.  I was rather expecting a sappy homily about fathers (It being Father's Day and all) but was pleasantly surprised.  Father asserted that many people don't understand and even avoid suffering.  For Christians suffering has meaning.  There is a purpose to our suffering:  it can be offered up for ourselves, others or for the conversion of others.  (I'm having flashbacks to Catholic grade school!)  The Stations of the Cross are hung in every Catholic Church to remind us of the suffering of Christ; what He did for us.  People think Jesus takes away suffering.  That's not quite true.  We need to offer up our suffering and unite our suffering with Christ's suffering.  We need to offer up our suffering to convert the World.  Father then spoke about carrying crosses.  What about those that are not suffering?  Those who are not suffering are called to assist and help the suffering in ways they are able.  Father then moved on to talking about Fathers and how they head the domestic church and they need to pray for the Lord's blessing.  Father then blessed all the fathers at Mass (about 1/2 the people).

Father used Eucharistic Prayer II and there were bells throughout the prayer.  Father was very reverent throughout the whole Mass.  There was a chalice veil and Father purified all the chaliced himself.

Everyone was so nice and friendly.  Normally, when I visit a church I kind of blend in with the scenery and no one really takes much notice.  Father was very enthusiastic about my visit and shared the blog address with everyone at the announcements.


Sacred Heart

Sacred Heart Memorial Garden Spot

Sacred Heart and Holy Water Font

View from the Back Pew
(that's Father at the ambo)

Altar Area Close-Up
Note the chalice veil and the crucifix on the altar!
Father informed me he had the angels and the Sacred Heart statue 
refurbished.  They look marvelous.

Canopy close-up
It says "In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"
There's a fish on the left and a pelican on the right.

Altar Front

Window near the sanctuary

Easter Candle and Baptismal Font
I rather like this font.
I think if you are going to do a modern font, do it like this.

St. John Vianney, Cure of Ars
(This statue has been refurbished too!)


The Eighth Station:  Jesus Meets the Holy Women
Father informed me that these were new and from Czechoslovakia.  

Very elusive.
Rarely seen outside of the Cathedral Habitat.

Sacred Heart Webpage

FYI:  Sacred Heart Elsberry Parish Picnic is June 27 (next Sunday)!  You should take a nice drive in the country and have chicken and cole slaw.  

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sacred Heart - Florissant

Did you know that June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart (neither did I).  Because of this, I'll be visiting parishes named after the Sacred Heart.  This week, I visited the 10:30 am Mass on June 13, 2010 at Sacred Heart in Florissant.

Sacred Heart is an old parish and the buildings are listed on the National Historic Places Register.  Sacred Heart looks like a Catholic Church on the outside.  I was all excited to go in, until I actually got inside.  The interior is very utilitarian, although tasteful.  The windows can't be the original windows.  They are the blue glass that was popular in the 1950s.  What bothered me was the blue glass was all square with squarish designs.  The window frames/openings are those that you see typically in gothic churches, with the tapered or arched tops.  The panes of glass didn't fit well in the openings, in terms of artistic feel.

The choir for this Mass was in the choir loft and accompanied by the organ.  This is not the case for all the Masses.  The 10:30 am Mass ran longer and the musicians for the 12 pm Mass started setting up in front ASAP.  There were maraccas and the music is more contemporary (First song on the song sheet:  Here I Am to Worship).
Opening:  Gather Us In
Offertory:  Instrumental and The King of Love, My Shepherd Is
Communion:  Table of Plenty
Recessional:  Lift High the Cross

Apparently, today was Missionary Sunday.  The bishop of Bangladesh gave the homily, discussing his ministry in Bangladesh and the hardships the people faced.  He spent time talking about education.  Actually, I'm not sure what he was talking about most of the time.  I tried to pay attention...I really did, but between the acoustics in the church, the children, his accent, and my crankiness, I didn't get much out of the homily besides education.  Oh and they don't have enough priests.  (It lasted in the neighborhood of 20 minutes).

I thought for Missionary Sunday, there was a second collection.  There wasn't one today.  Maybe next week?

Father used Eucharistic Prayer II and there were bells at the Consecration.  The wine was consecrated in a big glass jug and then poured into the cups.

Old Sacred Heart School

Sacred Heart
St. Robot the Angel Guards the Church

You Are Here.
(I think it is supposed to represent the Trinity.)

Historical Marker & Cornerstone

View From the Back Pew
(the Crucifix is off to the side.  There is also a tiny one under the Jesus)

The Windows

Close Up of Some of the Window Panes
Not sure what the Oak and Ax represent.
There was also a Tiara for Pope John XXIII, the Crozier Pope John Paul II used.
Also something for the Year 2000 and a lion.
Nothing for Pope Pius XII and Pope Paul IV..

The Eighth Station:  Jesus Meets the Women


Sacred Heart Website
Pictures from Rome of the West (It is featured in his book ;) )