Sunday, November 24, 2013

St. Rose of Lima - Carlisle

Hello all!
This morning I attended St. Rose of Lima in Carlisle AR.  Mass was at 11 am.  As usual in these small town churches, there was a Rosary recited before Mass.

The organ was in the choir loft.  There was no choir or cantor.
Opening:  To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King
Offertory:  The King of Glory
Communion:  O Sacrament Most Holy
Recessional:  Crown Him With Many Crowns

Father went all out for this Mass.  He recited the antiphons.  Father sang/chanted nearly everything except the Eucharistic Prayer (He used II by the way.)  The Confiter was said and we chanted the Gloria.    Father mentioned that "At the end of Mass you will receive Benediction from the King.  Think very seriously on this."  The Our Father was sung.  However Father did give the peace sign at the Sign of Peace.  There were bells too.

At the start of the homily, Father mentioned the incense was to drive Baptists away.  Incense is used to worship the True God, not to fake gods.  Today we fulfill the Psalm "Let Us Go Rejoicing to the House of Lord."  The best symbol of the House of God is Mary.  She carried the King of the Universe. Father said Mary wore a hijab/burka.  God desired Mary's beauty.  She would not have survived her virginity in this day and age.  Mary is noted as Queen throughout the Old Testament.  The King is here with us always unless you leave.  Your children, your grandchildren, even my nephews and nieces, are all leaving.  They are leaving because they don't know the King.  They don't because the world distracts them from the King (and we are doing a terrible job of passing on the Faith and identity...).  The world doesn't fill them with Joy.  Joy from serving...(he said joy comes from other things but I couldn't keep up).  I have a feeling Rome and Jerusalem will be bombed (uhm...)  We may be the ones to do it, although it will probably be Islam (oh dear...)  Israel knows what to do.  Putin knew what to do to get Iran to do what he wanted.  Putin worked with the KGB (yikes. Somehow I don't think Putin is the example we want to go with...)  Obama told us we must kill.  We must kill our babies in the Affordable Health Care Act (blink.  blink.)  His interpretation of the law (which we had to pass to read...)  He has lied.  Some people think he is king.  If he is king of anything, he is king of the underworld.  (blink blink...well then..let me grab my jaw from under the kneeler here)  The world wants us to sin.  (that is true)  Right here you can be saved.  The Pope is an interesting interesting man to follow (define "interesting" for me...)  Listen.  The Pope is being interpreted many different ways but listen to his words.  The Jesuits, and there have been some good Jesuits this century, are the best educated and the best educators and even they are having problems.  Pray to the King to keep us close to Him, to Mary, to the Saints and to God.

At the Offertory was the time for announcements.  Father mentioned that there was a 2nd collection for the Campaign for Human Development but he'd rather give to Catholic Relief Services as the CHD sometimes give to bad things.  Then Father mentioned he got a letter from the Bishop about a letter from Rome.  Father is going to write to Rome directly as the Rome wants to hear from the priests not the bishops.

At the end of the Mass, there was a procession with the Host around the Church.  Mass ended with Benediction.

St. Rose of Lima

View From the Back Pew

Lamp (I really like this)

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Practically every parish has a Spanish ministry

Station VIII

St. Michael the Archangel
(The prayer was said at the end of Mass)


Sunday, November 17, 2013

St. Boniface - Bigelow

I was feeling a bit homesick and trying to find a church to visit this morning.  As I was looking at the list of parishes, St. Boniface caught my eye.  Perfect!

I attended the 8 am Mass at St. Boniface in Bigelow.  Before Mass, there was Adoration, Rosary and Confession.  There were prayer books in the pew.

St. Boniface is a very cute little church.  It was built in 1906 but the high altar was saved from the fire that build the first church built in 1896.  The side altars were carved by a parishoner to match the high altar.   From what I understand, the parish has a goal to keep the church looking like it did when it was first built.

The music was provided by a girls choir and I understand this was their first Mass singing.  They were very sweet.  The organ and choir were in the front because the seating in the choir loft was needed for parishoners.
Opening:  We Gather Together
Offertory:  Prayer of St. Francis
Communion:  Look Beyond
Closing:  Lord of the Dance

The homily was incredibly short :D
The Bishop of the diocese has asked for a second collection for the victims of the Philippines Typhoon.  Father mentioned that there were a couple of Thanksgiving Ecumenical Services.  An atheist travels down a country road and sees a rabbit and a priest fishing.  Next to them was a sign that said "The End is Near"  The atheist got out of the car and yelled at them and then sped off.  There was a screech of brakes and a splash.  The Rabbi said "I told you we should have just put Bridge Out"
This is the last Sunday in the Church Year.  Next week is Christ the King.  The End is near.  We don't know when.  If we knew when, my ears would burn from all the Confessions.  People waiting to the last minute.  Grease me up so I can slid right into heaven.  Do we really want to live like that?  The people in the Philippines must have thought the end was near.  I saw a picture this morning of a Philippines celebrating Mass.  The Church was packed and it had no roof.  Do you have that kind of Faith?  The End is coming:  Are you prepared?

The Apostles' Creed was said.  Father used Eucharistic Prayer III and there were bells.  And the Church bells were rung right before Mass.



Monday, November 11, 2013

Christ the King - Little Rock (visit #1)

What's better than going to Mass once in a day?  Why going twice of course!

I'll confess.  My new territorial parish is Christ the King in Little Rock.  On the 2nd Sunday of the month, the young adult group does all the Mass things like Lector and Usher at the 6 pm Mass.  For the most part...the group was pretty incognito... The parish is upper middle class.

I can tell you I'm contemplating finding a new parish already.  I just can't go to Mass in some place without windows to the outside and looks like an auditorium converted to a church as an afterthought.  (I understand that has happened but to intentionally build it that way???)

Announcements were read 8 minutes before Mass...before everyone got there...and Mass was full.

The music was lead by a cantor and a pianist.  Apparently the organ was dedicated in 2006.
The cantor only lead the 4 hymns and the responsorial psalm..the Mass parts will all spoken.  I'm not sure how Catholics managed before there were cantors...but I distinctly remember no cantors when I was growing up...(back in the day...)
Opening:  I Am the Bread of Life (uhmmm...this is a Communion song...not a gathering song...)
Offertory:  Shepherd Me O God
Communion:  I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say (I head Him say less banal music...)
Closing: Mine Eyes Have Seen (or as it is more properly known:  The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  And don't even get me started on the word change in verse 4 thanks to Gia/Worship/Gather/OCP.  The original line is "As He died to make men holy, Let us die to make men free." It has been changed to "As He died to make men holy, let us live to make all free"  I'm sorry this totally changes the meaning of the song.  This song was written during the Civil War..which was about ... a bunch of people dying to set other people free...why why why....why are we so afraid of our past??? I was actually surprised the Rebels were singing the Union's battle march...)

At the beginning of the homily, Father recognized all the veterans.
We are at the end of the Church year.  December 1 is the beginning of the Church year.  The Readings will speak to us about the End Times.  It is a message of warning and preparation.  It is easy to give uplifting homilies (Oh Father...if only that were true)  It is hard to give a homily about the gate known as death.  The Church remembers the dead in November.  Veterans Day is to remember those who have sacrificed ( it's not...that's Memorial Day or Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth.)  There are seven books in the Bible that only Catholics have.  The First Reading is from Maccabees, one of those books.  Judea was being persecuted.  The Jews were being persecuted and humiliated such as being forced to violate Jewish dietary laws.  The Reading today was preceded by a story about Eliezer.  Eliezer was a very old and respected.  If he would eat pork, he would be spared the sword.  His friends tried to get him to pretend to eat pork.  He refused because it would betray the life he lived.  Why do we care about whether or not Jews eat pork?  The dietary laws were about discipline (and disease prevention...but let's not quibble)  Why do we recall this event?  What are the fundamental questions?  Is there anything in my Faith life I would change before I die?  In these last days of the Church year, it symbolizes the Coming of Christ.  When will He come?  One of you, at least, will be up here (refers to the shrine of the people who have died in the past year that covered the least I assume there is an altar under there...).  Death will come for you.  Not to be scary.  This season is to jar us that now is the time to change.  Not later as there may not be a later.  Death is the gate by which we enter eternal life.  Is the way we live our life going to get us eternal life?  Good news, God is bigger.  God calls us.  What would Jesus say to you to change in your life?  Now is the time.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer III and there were bells.  The congregation stood during Communion, from the end of the Agnus Dei to when Father sat.

Pictures:  (I'm going back...don't worry...)
View From the Back Pew

This is the real reason I can't go to Mass here...
The looks at me...
it examines me...
It creeps me out.... 

I think this is Mary...

St Who Am I???
(I'm Jean Val Jean!)

I actually like this...
Jesus and Joseph

Station VIII

Christ the King

Sunday, November 10, 2013

St. Peter - Pine Bluff

Hello All.  It was supposed to be sunny today so I planned to go visit the swamp  bayou and see otters and run from alligators.  So I picked a parish that was on the way.  Needless to say there were clouds and no otters and praise the Lord no alligators.

I went to St. Peter's in Pine Bluff which is about an hour SSE of Little Rock.  It's a nice little church in what appears to be an economically disadvantaged area.  The church resembled more protestant churches from the outside.

The bell tower was outside and I was arriving the bell was being rung.  Some brave soul needs to clammer up there and put some WD-40 on it. :D  In the parking lot, I realized I had arrived at a predominately African-American parish, as there was a statue of Mary painted to be African-American.  This was confirmed when I entered the church and noticed many of the paintings portrayed Jesus, Mary and the Apostles as African-American.

Music at Mass was accompanied by drums, piano and a choir.
Opening:  I Say Yes Lord, Yes
Mass Setting:  Sing Praise and Thanksgiving
Offertory:  Hush Hush Somebody's Callin' Mah Name (no that's not a also had Lawd)
Communion:  I Am the Bread of Life
Closing:  America the Beautiful

Before Mass (which started at least 5 min late), guests were invited to speak (I declined).  Then there was a greeting free-for-all.  Most of the parishoners were dressed really nice.

Father used the Confiteor and Eucharistic Prayer II.  What was interesting was at the Offertory, that is when the parish did the announcements.  Father also thanked all the veterans that were called up to the altar.  There were bells at the Consecration.  The Our Father was sung.  Everyone held hands at the Our Father.  I got a dirty look for not participating.

This parish does the thing where the put the gift baskets at the foot of the altar and you walk up and put your gift in.  My biggest problem with this is that I feel like that Pharisee who goes and says look what I donated! I wonder how much peer pressure plays into it as well.

Father started his homily with a joke:  A man went to a priest who had a reputation of when blessing people they lived longer.  This man was not Catholic but went to the priest anyway begging him to see his great grandmother.  Father goes and blesses the woman, but she dies instead of lives.  The man is upset and goes back to the priest demanding a reason.  Father was like you should know the difference between a blessing and Last Rites.  (Maybe you had to be there...)
Father asked us to close our eyes and invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts to understand the Readings.  Benjamin Franklin, the great American, wrote his own epitaph.  You can see he believed in the Resurrection.  This renews our Faith in the Resurrection.  The resurrection of the body is based on the Resurrection of Jesus.  Maccabees is only found in the Catholic bible and some Oriental Orthodox Churches.  At the time, the Holy Land was being fought over 2 of the generals that divided up Alexander the Great's empire.  The general that won, implemented Alexander's strategy that there be 1 culture in the country.  The Jews were being persecuted and forced to stop following Judaism.  The 2nd reading is from the Thessolonians, which was the first book of the New Testament that was written.  The Primitive Church was focused on the Coming of Jesus and the End of the World.  When Paul wrote this letter, the Thessolonians were despairing and Paul them not to and to do good work until He comes.  In the Gospel, the Saracees did not believe in the Resurrection and this story shows their ignorance.  There will be no marriage in the afterlife.  Our bodies will have different forms.  In spite of this, the Mystery of the Resurrection is unsolved for us at this time.  The physical death is not the end.  In our life, don't do anything to displease God.  The Catechism says it is better to die or suffer than to sin.  We do not know when.  We must pray.  We are only saved if we let him save us (I can't decifer what I wrote...MW?  who is that?)  Consider your end and you will not sin.  Remember who will judge you.  A life is blessed by the deed's done.  If we put all our trust in the Lord.


View From the Back Pew!


Last Supper

Station VIII

St. Peter

Monday, November 4, 2013

St. Jude the Apostle - Jacksonville AR

Hello!  I went adventuring this weekend and went to St. Jude the Apostle in Jacksonville AR.  It is right outside the Air Force base.  The church was dedicated in 1983.  It's mostly square but kind of a wonky square.  8 am Mass was packed.  I'm guessing the Church holds about 400 people and it was near capacity.

Music was provided a piano and a choir.
Opening:  Holy Holy Holy
Offertory:  You Alone
Communion:  If You Love Me
Closing:  Sing a Joyful Song

Father started off his homily with some PSAs.  Be sure to get a bulletin as it has lots of information in it.  (Here's a tip Father, if you have the bulletins available before Mass...people will get them...of course they might read them during your homily so it's a catch-22)  Don't let your kids go the bathroom alone. The parish can't afford the plumbing bills (wow)  The cry room is for little kids.  Don't get mad when the ushers tell you can't go in there.  I told them to not let you in.  Don't write to the Bishop over it on second thought go ahead (really?  writing the Bishop over this? )  Also next weekend is the collection for the Military Diocese.

Nineteen Sundays ago Jesus set His sights on Jerusalem.  These past few weeks are the strongest readings in the 3 year cycle.  We are about to get into the gloom and dire end of the world in the upcoming weeks.  We hardly got into Luke.  This is a story unique to Luke and shows what it means to be a disciple.  Luke uses contrasts to get his point across.  The ending is different than what we think.  In Chap 18, the rich synagogue person couldn't do what Jesus told him (Father did say who he was but I can't remember)  Jesus did not go to his house.  Zaccichus was a crook and unjust.  The crowd is judgemental, aloof and jealous.  Jesus goes to Zaccihus' house.  Followers are so close to Jerusalem but there are obstacles.  There are 2 steps to being a disciple:  wanting to see Jesus and going to look for Him and making changes to restore justice and set what is wrong right.  Zaccihus was listening and did not need to be told what he needed to do.  Jesus stays with Justice.  Jesus in Luke is still looking.  Don't be that group of people who who don't get it.  There is no middle ground.  Differences is concern for justice and something else (I hit my head before Mass...its a bit foggy).  Zaccihus shows us how to make Jesus welcome and to come down from our faults that keeps us from joy and Christ.

The Apostles' Creed was used instead of the Nicene Creed.  Eucharistic Prayer III was used but there were no bells.  And of course, there was hand holding at the Our Father.

This is the 3rd church I've been to in Little Rock.  When the priests says "The Lord be with You" and we all reply "And with your Spirit" everyone (but yours truly) is gesturing back to the priest.  It's odd.

I was initially concerned I would not know the music in this diocese.  I have nothing to fear.  I have seen the Gather, Worship and Breaking Bread books.  I'm all good. :)

St. Jude the Apostle

St. Jude the Apostle

View from the Back Pew

Station VIII

Wedding at Cana?


Fish and Fish Nets...oh!  that one story...
where Jesus made all the fish so that the nets nearly broke.

Jesus' Baptism


Church Suffering, Church Triumphant, Church Militant (?)

St. Jude the Apostle

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Requiem Prayer Service

Saturday, November 2, was the Feast of All Souls.  I don't know about you, but I love spending my Saturday nights listening to funeral music...  I digress.

The Cathedral of St. Andrew had a requiem prayer service.  A small orchestra and the choir performed Requiem in C by Charles Gounod.  Apparently this was Gounod's last work and he died as he was playing it.  The piece is marked by chromaticism (I know what that means in painting...I think...but not music) and its choice of key signature, C major, reflects the hope and promise of eternal light.  I have to say it didn't seem very hopey.  Although when you are singing about the day of wrath and judgement...

I think I'm missing how a Requiem like this works at a real Mass.  It clearly doesn't work with the current Mass...all that singing by the choir.

The service opened with For All the Saints.  There was an opening prayer, Gospel reading, reading of the names of the dead and a closing hymn, "Around the Throne..."

It was a really nice service and the choir did a really good job.  There was also food afterward :)

The Cathedral of St. Andrew was very pretty but I couldn't help think about how small it was.  I'm pretty sure St. Anthony of Padua or St. Francis de Sales or St. Cecilia would be able to fit this Cathedral of St. Andrew inside them.  Although the Cathedral is pretty tall.

I'll be back to actually go to Mass and take pictures of the windows as it was too dark to get them.  I will say it was odd that the Cathedral doesn't have Mass every day.  I guess I'm really in the South...


Cathedral of St. Andrew

St. Andrew


View from the Back Pew

Cathedral of St. Andrew

St. Mary of the Springs - Hot Springs

Good Sunday Evening to you all.  I'm running a little behind so bear with me :)

Friday, November 1, was the Feast of All Saints.  I had made plans to spend the day exploring Hot Springs so what better way to start the day then going to Mass?

Shockingly (not if you know me)  I got lost on the way to the Church.  I was 5 minutes late.  Mass was already midway through the First Reading.  I attended the 8 am Mass at St. Mary of the Springs.

Music was provided by a cantor and a pianist in the loft!
Opening:  By All Your Saints Still Striving
Setting: Mass of Renewal
Offertory: Holy Holy Holy
Communion: The Lord is My Light
Closing:  Sing With All the Saints in Glory

Beloved, we are God's children now.  We don't know what we will be; it has not been revealed to us.  The Church is three things:  militant, triumphant, and suffering.  We are now the Church Militant.  We are celebrating the Church Triumphant today.  It is the essence of our calling:  to be saints.  St. Paul always called people saints to remind them as calling.  When it is revealed to us, we will be like God.  This is why at Baptism we are sealed with Christ's cross.  The seal is a mark of authority.  We became God's children.  We have been claimed by God.  If you want to follow Christ, you must take up your cross.  That is our symbol.  Within this cross there is blessing.  When we bless in the Church we always include the cross.  John saw a vision of people in white robes with a seal.  They have survived the Great Distress, they have been washed in the Blood of the Lamb.  This is who we celebrate today.  The ultimate goal is to be like God.  We celebrate those that are not officially canonized today.  What we are today, they were.  We will be like them.  Jesus gave us Beautitudes as a new law, it's experience vs. expectation.  Blessed are the Pure in Heart, they will see in God.  This is what we celebrate today.  Only those pure in heart help to see God.  We need God's assistance to see Him.  We must respond to God's Love and give to others.  Saints are all about humility.

Eucharistic Prayer 2 was used and there were bells.


St. Mary of the Springs

View from the Back Pew!





Holy Orders


Anointing of the Sick

Mary and Child

Station VIII

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

St. Mary of the Springs