Monday, April 30, 2012

St. Louis Parks

Hey all, I know it's not a church post but I'm helping a dear friend, Mark from Rome of the West, promote his photography in a book called St. Louis Parks. He managed to sneak some steeples in!
St Louis Parks cover_high
Jake is in the book. My footprints are in the book. What other reason do you need to buy it? It is totally awesome! It's a great book and Mark truly aspires to capture the notion of beauty as defined by the Church. You can buy the book directly from Mark on his website

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Our Lady of Victory - Sereno

Good Evening!
I have to work on Sunday so I headed out to Mass tonight.  I headed out to Our Lady of Victory in Sereno for their 4 pm Vigil Mass.

Our Lady of Victory is at least 100 years old.  Their new Church was built in 1997.  It's a tasteful modern church.  They have a choir loft, which is amazing because those seem to have all but disappeared in churches built after 1960.

Father was really nice and chatty, greeting all of his parishoners before Mass.  As usual, I upset some elderly lady by daring to sit in her spot.

The music was accompanied by a piano/electric organ in the choir loft.
Opening:  Alleluia, Alleluia! Let the Holy Anthem Rise.
Offertory:  Jesus Christ is Risen Today
Mass Setting:  Mass of Creation (Gloria was spoken though)
Communion:  Gift of Finest Wheat; Amazing Grace
Closing:  They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love

The mini-homily was about how it was Good Shepherd Sunday.  Father used Penitential Rite A.

This week we celebrate the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  In John's Gospel there are 7 I AM statements.

  • Living Water
  • Bread of Life
  • Resurrection and the Life
  • the Vine
  • Light of the World
  • Good Shepherd.
(What's the last one?)  John's Gospel is so different from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  It is very theological.  In the Old Testament there are many statements about God as I AM.  The Gospel of John uses that about Jesus.  It is hard to get the imagery of Jesus as a shepherd.  Most of us are not familiar with sheep or shepherd.  This is cattle country.  Sheep are different.  (That is good for this city girl to know...).  We take comfort from the image somehow.  It is very pastoral.  We use that word in church a great deal, pastoral.  Pastor.  Psalm 23.  The shepherd goes ahead of his sheep and the sheep follow him.  Cattle are all about the herd.  You bring sheep together differently (Yes.  It's called a border collie.  ;) )  It is hard to imagine.  I know my sheep and my sheep know my voice.  There are different voices that come to us.  Some of the voices are very good.  There is a country song about hearing voices.  The voices of mom and grandma to do good and stay on the straight and narrow.  Other voices are not good voices, like TV and the Internet.  They draw us away and lead us to be bad.  Their message is only to watch out for myself.  Different voices pull us in different directions.  It can be hard to hear the voice of God.  The sheep listen to my voice.  It is hard to hear God's voice in society (especially since being a sheep is bad)  Try to be of service to one another.  Listen to God's voice in our lives.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer II and there were no bells.  There was hand-holding at the Our Father.


Our Lady of Victory

Our Lady of Victory

View From the Back Pew

Our Lady of Victory

Station VIII

Information from the St. Louis Archdiocese

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Oh Dear

This weekend is Earth Day weekend. I had to be at work on Sunday at 7:30 am and won't get off until 8:30 pm. On Saturday, I managed to get off work at 4:40 pm. I booked it to St. Mary Magdalen in Brentwood for 5 pm Mass. They moved the Mass time for this weekend to 4 pm to accommodate the dinner auction. So no Mass for me.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

St. Boniface - Quincy IL

Imagine if you will 2 people in car driving around looking for Catholic Churches:

Snup:  I see a spire...
RoW:  According to the map, that's not St. Rose of Lima
Snup:  Yeah, it doesn't look Catholic.  It looks like some modernist Protestant church.
RoW:  St. Boniface is over that way...
Snup:  We have to go see!  (drive)  Is it that one?  That back looks awfully Catholic and there's a grotto/shrine in the back.
RoW:  Indeed.
Snup:  It's apartments!  It's like they chopped the front half of the church off and jammed on apartments.
RoW:  Turn here.
Snup:  No way is that Catholic.  That can't be St. Boniface.   I refuse to believe it.  It's like 1930s art deco....
RoW:  It's Facist.  That's the style.  It's not to my taste.
Snup: ugh.  ugh.  ugh.  ugh.  I'll take a picture.  Maybe Crescat will have another Ugly Church Contest.
RoW:  Mormon or Catholic.
Snup:  I could snark about this for days!  And they only have Mass here 1x a month...for the youth.  About 1x month would be all I could stand.  I'm getting old.  I'm getting conservative.  WAIL.

It's a box.  With a stick.
I like the steeple.  Just not on my Catholic Church.
I wonder if it the top of the Chrysler Building.

This is a window.
I would like to say that Catholic Churches should not 
lead you to having to go to Confession.
Because now I have to go.  
I can't repeat what I said.
But this link might help...

I found 2 pictures of the old St. Boniface (exterior and interior).  This would be the kind of Church that produces saints yes?  Not an occasion of sin...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

St. Anne - French Village

I hope you all had a merciful Divine Mercy Sunday.  I headed out to French Village, which is in a very rural part of St. Francois County.  So rural, I couldn't find a gas station...

St. Anne is a lovely little rural church that was pretty full for Mass this morning.

The music was provided by an organ which was in the front of the Church, but the pipes were still in the loft.
Opening:  Let Hymns of Joy
Offertory:  Lord of All Hopefulness
Communion:  Prayer of St. Francis
Closing:  Sing of Christ, Proclaim His Glory

Before Mass, we practiced the Sanctus from the Heritage Mass.  The organist mentioned that we were learning this Mass Setting because they are using it at the Cathedral Basilica.  There were also announcements and a prayer for vocations.

The homily was given by the Deacon.  He started off with his favorite story.  A man is walking alone and thinking intently about his problems.  As he is so focused on his problems, he is not paying attention and falls in a hole.  His doctor comes by and the guy yells for help.  His doctor says no problem and throws down a prescription (and then charges the insurance company an arm and leg).  The man's Congresswoman comes by and the guy yells out for help.  The Congresswoman writes a bill demanding signs around the hole.  The man's friend comes by, sees him and jumps in the hole.  The man says "Jesus, Are you crazy?"  The friend replies, I've been in this hole before and know the way out.  Today's readings are about trust, mercy and forgiveness.  There are 3 gifts:  peace, mandate to preach, reconciliation and mercy (hmmm that's 4.  uh.  hmmm.)  We are called by baptism to preach (oh we in trouble now...if I'm called to preach.  My homilies would be the bomb-diggity!)  But we need peace to preach.  How do we deal with doubters?  We show them the Body of Christ.  We show them the Body of Christ when we work bingos and fish fries to support Catholic education.  We show them the Body of Christ when we work the food pantry.  Do we not show the Body of Christ when on Sundays you see someone that needs a friend or a hug and we show the Body of Christ by hugging and being that friend (ugh on the hugging...and I'll just be quiet on the other part).  There has always been war and poverty.  This is why Jesus preached peace.  The Deacon talked a bit about this and then moved onto Divine Mercy.  He ended his homily with the prayer from a 2000 homily by Pope John Paul II on the Divine Mercy.  It was a nice homily.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer III and there were bells.  There was also hand-holding at the Our Father (but don't hand was not held...of course no one offered.....)

Outdoor Stations

St. Anne - French Village

History of St. Anne

View From the Back Pew


Altar detail

Website of St. Anne (It's connected to St. Joseph in Bonne Terre)
Pictures from Rome of the West

Sunday, April 8, 2012

St. Alphonsus aka The Rock

One of my co-workers sings in the choir at St. Alphonsus.  She extracted a promise from me to go to Easter Sunday Mass to hear her sing.

St. Alphonsus is a very beautiful church.  It's of the same style of St. Anthony of Padua in South City.  There are lots of beautiful stained glass windows.  The church was hit by lightening in August 2007 and was restored and reopened in 2009.  There was an article mounted in the back that discusses the fire and restoration.  Apparently they found the original roof plans and were able to work from them.

Currently, St. Alphonsus is staffed the Redemptorists.  It is also primarily African-American.  There are elements in the Mass that are more reminiscent of Gospel/Protestant Churches.  For example, at the end of a prayer, Father will say "Let the Church Say Amen!"  People used bibles to follow along with the readings.  When I went to St. Alphonsus a few years ago, the church had elders.  These elders gave permission to speak and such.  That protocol has apparently been eliminated.

I have to say, I've never heard Easter referred to as "He Got Up!"  I've heard "Jesus surrexit est. Alleluia, alleluia"

The music was accompanied by a lovely choir and lots of instruments.  My one complaint is that the congregation can't sing along in this case.  I don't know the music and there were no books in the pews.  All I could do was sway and clap.  I'm taking a stab at what the songs are called.  It was Gospel.
Opening:  He Got Up.  God Raised Him Up.
Sprinkling Rite: Bless His Holy Name
Alleluia:  I Will Sing Alleluia
Homily Song:  Tell Somebody.
Offertory:  Send Out Your Glory
Communion: Jesus Went to Calvary
Meditation:  When Sunday Comes (taped)
Closing:  Don't Be Afraid

Before Mass, there were announcements.  The reader told us to have a Holy Ghost of a good time.  Then visitors were to be recognized and shown some Rock Love.  I hid in the pew.

The Sequence was omitted.

Father had an iPad with his sermon on it.  The sermon started off with a prayer.  The Word Got Up.  At various points, Father would say something and then tell us to tell our neighbor.  Tell your neighbor Happy Easter.  Tell you neighbor you're not afraid.  Tell your neighbor He Got Up.  We have come so far Church.  So far since the dawn of creation.  We have come a mighty long way.  Abraham, Sarah, Let My People Go, the Entrance to the Holy Land, David and Solomon, Maccabees.  A people trapped in darkness to a people with a Messiah, the liberator of the oppressed (there were more titles)  Your God has never abandoned you.  You might have felt it, but know this Church, God has never left you.  You know Footprints.  God carried you.  You shall be My people and I shall be your God.  This is the moment we were created for.  This is the moment he rose and conquered death.  He lives church.  Tell you neighbor he lives. That is the Good News.  This is different from the first Easter.  The women were crushed and desolate.  They were so upset they forgot about the rock.  The obstacle had been removed. There was something between God and the women.  God made it move.  God will remove that which blocks Him from us.  Remove that which blocks God in your life.  Jesus had a plan.  The women were supposed to pay attention, be glad of heart and tell the Good News.  They were to be the first.  Not in Mark's Gospel.  They fled.  Instead of being with good courage, they fled and said nothing.  Verse 8 causes a whole lot of problems.  Many people have tried to fix Mark's Gospel.  Lectionaries stop at Verse 7, but Father added Verse 8 (Let the Church sigh).  We omit the verses we don't like.  Like that tithing chapter.  It ain't in my bible Father.  Cafeteria Christians omit the hard chapters.  The verse you omit is the one you have the most trouble with.  Father read The Binding of a Strong Man.  Verse 8 is the final betrayal of Jesus.  Of the messianic secret.  Previously, when Jesus said tell no one, the people always tell.  Now, when the people can say something, they say nothing.  Oh the irony.  Mark uses this to challenge us.  What matters is that we tell.  We go and tell someone.  We must tell the secret and be not afraid.  We can not rely on others to build the Kingdom or tell the Good News.  We must do it.  We can't wait for others.  If everyone else runs away, will you abandon him as well.  This is not how the story ends.  We are not going anywhere.  SLU might try and buy everything around us and us but we are not going.  We will not leave.  We will proclaim the Good News.  Mark may have been worried about the future would this be a fad?  My Faith is not a fad.  I am not going to keep the secret.  I will proclaim that my Redeemer lives. We are not afraid.  We will not be silent.  He lives.  Tell somebody.

Father forgot we had to renew our Baptism Promises.  We said the Creed and then he was like I forgot this.  Let's do it now.  You can never have too much Creed.

There was clapping at the Preface Dialogue.  Not sure why.  Eucharistic Prayer II was used.  There were no bells.

At the Our Father, everyone linked hands and snaked around the Church.  And then came the Sign of Peace.  A 5 minute free for all.  I was hugged 4 times.

After Communion there was Liturgical Movement.  Actually, anytime there was singing/music, there was liturgical movement.  For your viewing pleasure:

After Communion, the Deacon came up to encourage African American Males to think about being deacons.  There are 155 Deacons in the Archdiocese and 59 in formation.  Only 5 are African American.  There needs to be parity and equality....

View From the Back Pew!

Shrine of All Souls

Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Titles of Our Lady
Behind Shrine

Jesus?  Joseph?

Scenes from St. Alphonus Ligouri


Scenes from Mary's Life.

Website of St. Alphonsus
Pictures from Rome of the West