Sunday, February 27, 2011

St. Agnes - Bloomsdale

I had meant to go to St. Agnes closer to the feast of St. Agnes, but the weather prevented me.  I finally made it today!

St. Agnes was established as a mission in 1835 and as a full-fledged parish in 1848.  The cornerstone on the Church is from 1992.  I suspect the windows were saved from the old Church because they don't match the style of windows from churches in the late 1980s/early 1990s but rather seem to be more 1800ish.  Which, if you ask me, is pretty awesome to save the windows!

I attended the 10 am Mass on February 27.

There was a teenage choir accompanied by an organ.
Opening:  Here I Am Lord
Offertory:  Table of Plenty
Communion:  Come Lord Jesus and My Heart Belongs to You
Closing:  Canticle of the Sun
I didn't recognize the Mass Setting at all.  The Great Amen went "We Sing Amen..with Faith, Hope and Love...We Sing Amen.

Pardon me while I discuss music selection at Mass.  Today's First Reading was Isaiah 49.  The Gospel talked about seeking the Kingdom of God and God's Eye being on the sparrow.  Hey guess what?  If you open your Spirit and Song book or Glory and Praise (today's music books) you'll find a song called Isaiah 49.  It's the reading.  Set to music.  I know there are songs called Seek Ye First and Eye on the Sparrow.  I was taught, as part of the requirements for being Confirmed, how to plan a Liturgy, which included picking out music.  The music chosen is to reflect the readings or if Father has his homily planned early, some aspect of the homily.  How is this so hard?  The music today (and this happens alot actually) had nothing to do with the readings!  This was a perfect time to sing Isaiah 49 and Seek Ye First!!!

The homily was given by the Deacon.  Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, that's why it is called the present.  We worry and are anxious.  He once read an article that he can't find now about 10 ways to increase happiness and increase your lifespan.
1.  sleep
2.  exercise
3.  happy marriage
4.  limit stress and anxiety.
He forgot the rest.
The Deacon had the altar boy drag over a big bag in which there was baggage such as jealousy, addiction, prejudice, and assorted vices to represent the baggage we carry.  Society spends a great deal of money on counseling because of worry, anxiety and stress.  All you need is the Good Book.  (uh.  uh.  nice.)  Pray to deal with worry.  God takes your burden.  St. Augusting was a great baggage carrier thanks to his mother St. Monica (uh...uh...)  Only in God is my soul at rest.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer III and there were bells.  The Prayer to St. Michael was said at the end of Mass.

St. Agnes
The view from the Interstate.

What the Old Church looked like.
This was a board from that Church.

View From the Back Pew

Ridin' the cloud!
I like this statue for some reason...maybe the cloud is hiding skates!

St. Agnes

Holy Spirit


Sacred Heart of Jesus



Station VIII

Information from St. Louis Archdiocese

Monday, February 21, 2011

St. Louis University Campus Ministry Mass

Is 5 pm Mass on Sunday too early for you?  Did you spend all of Saturday night partying studying and slept all day thereby missing Mass?  Never fear!  During the academic year, the Jesuits at St. Louis University have you covered with a 9 pm Mass, with Confession happily starting at 8 pm for those of you who partied studied a little too hard the night before.  This, along with a 9 pm at Washington University's Newman Center, is the last Sunday Mass in the Archdiocese.

I had no intentions of going to this Mass tonight.  I actually was pondering going to the 8:30 pm Mass at UM-St. Louis or at least chew the fat with Fr. B before hand, since I was on campus already.  Something told me to go home (I had planned to go shopping too).  As soon as I got home, my awesome friend Mark texted me saying he was going to Mass.  I asked if I could tag along.

Mass was packed, mostly with college students.  There were some older, professor age people and some grad students sprinkled in.  There were what I'm guessing were Jesuit Scholastics (aka novices).  It was pretty close to standing room only.  Most schockingly was the fact people sang!  It was quite loud!

Music was provided by a variety of instruments and a choir behind the altar. (I think they should be in the choir loft so that when they start boogying to the music...but alas, I digress).  The students were really good!
Gathering:  Holy, Holy, Holy!  Lord God Almighty
Gloria:  Sing Glory to God...
Preparation of the Table:  Set Your Hearts on the Higher Gifts
Mass setting:  Celtic and the half Latin, Half English echo Lamb of God
Communion:  I Am the Bread of Life, Hungry
Sending:  City of God, Let the River Flow

Father sang the Preface and used Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation I and there were no bells.  There were 4 concelebrating priests and 3 servers, I'm sure somebody could have rung them.  Also, the wine was poured into the huge goblets after the Consecration.  Everyone, I think, except my pal and I, held hands at the Our Father and left the pews so it went across the Church.

I have a confession to make.  I'm not the best Catholic.  I'm not even a better than average Catholic.  I know what I'm supposed to believe and what the Church teaches.  That following what the Church teaches thing is hard.  Lately, I've been a really bad Catholic.  I'm going through a rough time right now. The grant that was paying for me to go to school ran out of money so I lost 2/3 of my income.  My dissertation isn't going well.  I'm getting ready to graduate soon and am having a hard time dealing with that.  I fell on the ice and damaged my knee and I have no health insurance.  Then someone cleaned out my bank account.  Then there is some other stuff going on that has no business on the Internets.  I feel abandoned by God, unloved by God and unworthy of His Love.  So I've been hopeless and despairing lately.  If it wasn't for a special friend and Jake, I'd be in sorry shape.

I know why I had to go home.  I had to hear this homily.

It is a tall order in today's Gospel, Be Holy and Be Perfect like god.  The good news is that none of us is, but Jesus is.  When we are asked to be perfect, we look at our successes and other worldly things.  This is not what it means to be perfect.  In the world, the perfect rise above othrs.  Only Jesus can help us be perfect.  Let's go back to Theology 101.  There is 1 God in 3 persons.  The only difference is the relationship.  Father mentioned the stuff in the Nicene Creed, about the Jesus being begotten of the Father.  The one part of the Trinity is defined by the other parts, the parts need each other.  It isn't like that for you and I.  People come and go but we remain.  We are more independent than God.  We need to realize that we can't do it alone and that we need others.  Perfection is about realizing weaknesses.  Needing others is not a weakness.  We grow more like God when we need others.  The Gospel is not about staying in an abusive situation.  Sin plucks Sin.  We need to stand up to violence and break the cycle.  Jesus knew the laws and rules of his day and was clever about such things.  He wants us to be clever.  It's almost as if Jesus went to a Jesuit School (bwahahahaha).  We have to put our love out in the world.  In the reading from St. Paul, St. Paul says the baptized become a Temple of God.  God dwells within you.  Your heart is the new altar.  One day the physical church will be gone but you will remain.  You are a symbol of what will become...  How can you make a sacrifice of the heart now?  In the Mass, we pray to the Father.  We gather as Jesus, children of God.  We are the Body.  We don't come to Mass to watch, but to offer the Sacrifice.  We need to offer ourselves.  We need to be open, to sacrifice and to pray.  The Lord has something for all of us.

It was a pretty awesome Mass :)

But I have one thing to snark about!  In the bulletin was a list of things to do to get the least out of Sunday Mass.  It was basically a list of don't do this.  One of the items listed was "Don't contribute to the collection, or if you do, use coins."  Uhm I have a problem with this.  Some people are poor and have nothing to contribute.  Some people only have coins because it is all they have.  The Widow's Mite and all that...  For a parish and campus community big on social justice this seemed rather insensitive.

Previous Visit
...Let the lost man say I am found in Him
Oooooh let the river flow...

St. Paul -St. Paul

It was a beautiful day today...a day to take a drive to a parish far far away.  I headed north to St. Paul in St. Paul.  St. Paul is a beautiful old church in the rural, northern part of the Archdiocese.  I'm still hobbling around but without crutches.

I attended the 11 am Mass. There was a rosary before Mass. This had to be one of the shortest Mass I have attended, with Mass clocking in at 40 minutes.  Father didn't skip anything either.

The music was accompanied by the organ in the choir loft.
Opening:  Sing a New Song
Offertory:  We are Many Parts
Communion:  Blest Are They
Closing:  Lead Me Lord
The Responsorial Psalm was Psalm 19 instead of Psalm 103.

Before the Gospel, the crossing gesture on the head, lips and heart, the words were said aloud by the congregation.  (The Lord be on my mind, on my lips and in my heart).  The homily started off with Father saying that this is a tough piece of Scripture:  "Be Perfect"  Father went on to tell a story about a truck driver that was harassed by 3 bikers.  The truck driver ignored the bikers while in the truck stop but than ran over the bikes driving out of the truck stop.  We all have a desire for revenge.  In the Gospel, neighbor actually means relative.  It's not hard to love your relatives. Father then went on to talk about fighting with his three brothers while growing up.  Father said we never expect our worst enemies to become our best friends.  We have to try.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer 2 and there were bells at the Consecration.

Pictures: (is very tired.  Is 12:30 am and I has to go to school early.  Will add more pics Monday night.)

Relic of St. Paul

Website of St. Paul
Pictures from Rome of the West

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Lady of Lourdes - University City

Hi all!  Sorry for the late post.  I celebrated St. Valentine's Day with a special someone last night.  :)
Thank you for all your prayers, my knee is better and I'm able to hobble around with crutches.  I will say it has been an exercise in charity and humility.  I can't kneel and feel more sympathy for those that can't.  So I managed to go to Our Lady of Lourdes in University City, because February 11 was the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Our Lady of Lourdes reminds me of a Norman style church in the English or French countryside.  It looks similar to St. Michael, St. James the Greater, and Sts. Mary and Joseph.  It is very classically decorated.

The music was lovely, with the choir in the choir loft accompanied by the organ.
Opening:  I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
Offertory:  sung by choir, We Will Serve?
Communion:  Where Charity and Love Prevail
Communion Meditation:  O Blessed Savior
Recessional:  Love Divine, All Love Excelling
I know the Mass Parts were Mass of Creation, I'm not sure about the Gloria.  It sounded like the one used at the Cathedral.

Father's homily was essentially built around an analogy about first getting your driver's license as a teenager.  The first thing you learn in driver's ed is the laws.  When you finally get to drive, you focus on all the laws and not on the driving.  Do you live life like you when you first drove?  It is more than following laws to get into heaven.  We try, but Jesus knows we don't succeed all the time.  Our lives are not meant to follow laws but to get us to Heaven.  Moral Theologians are today's Pharisees (uh oh)  There are essentially 2 camps:  everything is wrong or everything can be excused.  We are not meant to fulfill laws, laws are meant to help us to live and show our love for God and other.   Jesus fulfilled all laws.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer III and there were no bells.  It was a very nice Mass.  The parish seems vibrant and does have youth Masses as well.

It is really hard to take pictures with crutches.  Sorry there aren't as many as usual.

Our Lady of Lourdes

Our Lady 
A mosaic found in the vestibule

View From the Back Pew

Angel Watching Over


Rose Window

Window Behind Altar


Website of Our Lady of Lourdes
Pictures from Rome of the West

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ow. :(

Hi. I fell on ice last night. Instead of going to Mass, I went to the ER. My knee is at least sprained and strained...but not broken. Needless to say, I can't drive or bend my knee. So I missed Mass. :(