Sunday, November 30, 2014

And now what?

Hello all.
I have been officially transferred back to St. Louis, effective today!  YAY!

I have bought a house.  YAY!!!!  It's not quite in the neighborhood I want, but pretty close.  It's actually in the parish of Epiphany.  Barely.

I vaguely remember my last visit...after awhile, all the churches blend together unless something spectacular happens. (like dancing...)

I'd forgotten how plain the interior of the church was.  All white except for the woodwork.  There was stained glass but it was symbols and not people.  It was all white....white...with a tiny tabernacle in the center of the whiteness.

I was sitting there going I can overlook the vast expanses of white if I am spiritually fed, if there is good music.

Hey did you know today is the first day of Advent?  I don't think the music director got the memo.  The closing song was Soon and Very Soon and then the Communion and Offertory was 670 and 671 in the Breaking Bread.  The opening was by Marty Haugen...I want to say 587?  No O Come O Come Emmanual?  No Advent songs at all???

The homily was about some new scheme Father had to get money or people involved.  Ah yes.  It's in the bulletin.  There are 3 advent goals for the parish.  The gold goal...send some teens to Haiti to help the poor heathens.  The Frankincense goal...write down what you want the parish to pray for.  They will be placed in the "...frankincense container as reminder that as the smoke of the incense raises heavenly ward so does our prayers at each Mass."  Incense?  They actually use incense here?  Oooo.."At each and every Mass as the gifts of bread and wine are brought forward we are invited to the bread and wine as a symbol of our hopes and dreams."  (That Jesus guy...his blood and body...not so much...but hope and change...er sorry hope and dreams.. definitely....).  Feel the squishy....feel it!  The 3rd goal is the myrrh goal...seek out opportunities to die to oneself...we are being challenged to do something 1x a week or even 1x a day that is outside our comfort zone and to die to ourselves in the service of others.  Like doing the dishes without complaining, or learning about the Faith.  (Funny...protesting and participating in die-ins wasn't mentioned...).  I don't know about you...but doing the dishes without complaint, especially when there is a dishwasher involved, doesn't seem so much like dying to myself....

The first part of the homily was about the word Watch.  I don't know I wasn't paying attention.  I was trying to imagine how if I infiltrated the parish council I could convince/coerce the parish that white...vast expanses of white, are bad....

Before I went to Mass today, I decided that I will give the parish 1 month.  If any hugging breaks out though, I'm out of there.  It's going to be a long month...

Immaculate Heart of Mary - North Little Rock (Marche)

For my last Mass in Arkansas, I headed to Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the community of Marche, which is on the edge of North Little Rock.  I'm thinking this used to be a Polish community, but now it hosts the Vietnamese Masses every other Sunday.

Music was accompanied by a small electric piano and choir in the front of the church.  The choir loft provided extra seating.
Opening: The King of Glory
Offertory: The Summonss
Communion:  Whatsoever You Do; Gift of Finest Wheat
Closing: Soon and Very Soon

The homily was given by the Deacon.
Who is your king.  Who or what do you let lead your lives. Some say it is cultural. The Irish drink, the German are bullheaded.  This is not an excuse.  We are called to conversion.  Do we let the government detemine our morality or does Jesus determine it?  Jesus separates the sheep from goats. He decides who is who. Jesus rules until his enemies under his feet.  Jesus puts the sheep on the right.  The sheep are the ones who give him food and comfort.  When was the last time you called or visited the sick?  Have you comforted the stressed or are you the one causing the stress?  What if that person is anxious because they need forgiveness from you.  Maybe you need to be forgiven.  Have you asked?  Jesus is King.  Who rules your life?  Is it Christ the King?

Father used Eucharistic Prayer III and there were bells.  And a bake sale after Mass.

Pictures:












The Archangels, but I don't know who #4 is.



Link:
Immaculate Heart of Mary - Marche

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Nigerian Community Mass

Hello all!

Little Rock is home to a Nigerian community.  Every 3rd Sunday, they celebrate Mass in Igbo at St. Augustine's in North Little Rock.

I was told by someone that if I arrived 1/2 hour before Mass, Sister would go over the responses.  I got to St. Augustine at 1:30 pm, walked in and was greeted by women who were curious as to why I was in Church.  I discovered that the Mass had been moved to St. Patrick.  (GPS to the rescue!).  Fifteen minutes later I'm walking into St. Patrick.  The 2nd Reading is currently being read.  Apparently Mass started at 1:30 instead of 2 (ooops).

Most of the Mass was in Igbo.  The homily and Eucharistic Prayer were in English.  Most everything was sung, including the Nicene Creed.  Strangely the Our Father wasn't sung.

The music style reminded me of this song or this one from the Lion King Broadway Musical.

In case I was unclear if Father was born in America, the first part of his homily cleared that right up.  He actually talked about the First Reading from Proverbs 31.  I had a hard time understanding him in the back.  In the First Reading, it describes an ideal woman and wife.  A role model.  Something women should emulate.  Men would be happy if women would be these things (riiiight.)  Complete happiness.  Men must search for this woman, not just go to a club and pick any old women.  (mmhmmm).  If you find, you will know what makes a woman.  Beauty.  Her heart makes her beautiful.  Do not marry for beauty...beauty fades.  Marry for her worth, what she can do.  She takes care of her family, her community.  Men you must praise and encourage your women.  Her reward is your praise.  (I prefer sparkly things...).  Father then went on to talk about time, talent and treasure.  (the standard homily of you need to use your talent and treasure).

At the Presentation of the Gifts, everyone danced up and gave food.  (Which apparently the priests eat...I hope they like rice...saw lots of rice).  There was some minor chaos at this moment.  In the back the men were like this is not what was agreed.

Apparently, it is harvest time in Nigeria, so today is when they would traditionally have their harvest fest.  After the Closing Prayer, each family brought up a donation for the Church to auction off.  Had this been in Nigeria, it would have been some of the harvest.

Many of the women and men wore traditional clothing.  The women wore headdresses that looked like roses...they were folded and wrapped around their heads.  The dresses were very sparkly and two pies. The skirts were tight at the top and then flared out at the bottom.

Here's a movie of the Presentation of the Gifts.

video




Links:
To pictures previously taken of St. Patrick
St. Augustine

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine

Mary, Queen of Peace
Roadside Shrine in 
O'Fallon, MO

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hey

Surgery went well...
Is at parents recuperating...
When i can sit upright ill post pictures

Sunday, October 5, 2014

St. Edward - Texarkana

Hello all.
I have some semi-sad news.  This is my last actual Mass in Arkansas.  There might be one more in late November.  I have some more stuff to post so the posts will be going on for a couple more weeks.
I report to St. Louis on 12/1 :D  (YAAAAY!!!!!!!)  If you know of a house for sale (I'm poor...so no mansions...) drop me a line.

On Saturday I went digging for diamonds (no diamonds....) and then went to Mass in Texarkana AR.  I went to St. Edward for the 5 pm Mass.

I was asked again who I was with when I was taking pictures.  This time I played dumb and was like where was the bathroom?  I look like I just rolled out of the diamond mine....I'm sure I'm with a professional organization...

It was very lovely inside but the windows were the best.

Before Mass the congregation recited the Act of Faith.  Then there were announcements.

There must be a shortage of children in the parish as Grandma acted as the server.

Music:
It was accompanied by an organ in the loft.
Opening:  Bring Forth the Kingdom
Offertory:  Lord of All Hopefulness
Communion:  Now We Remain
Closing:  O Christ the Great Foundation

Homily:
Father was a non-native speaker of English.  Normally I don't have a problem understanding a non-native speaker, but I had a tough time understanding Father.  So I apologize for the sketchy homily.  In the Gospel of St. John, the Lord works as a Gardner and asks us to produce more fruit (ever since I got that job in agriculture, the Gospel makes more sense.)  Our life is the fertile soil.  Faith.  Love of parents trains us with care.  Christ encourages production.  We must endure pruning to correct wrongs in our life (I don't want to be pruned....)  Instead we watch TV instead of service.  Sacrifice shows us how to live life well.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer II and there were bells.

Pictures:














 







Links:
St. Edward - Texarkana


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Update pt2

Next weekend will be my last post of an Arkansas church for a bit.  I'm having surgery for my girlie bits on October 15. Feel free to pray (that it goes well...).  I could be out anywhere from 2-6 weeks.

Oh.  And by the way....
I've been transferred back to St. Louis :D :D :D :D

St. Mary - Paragould

Hello all.
I didn't make it to Mass this weekend because of travel.  However I did stop by the other Eames church in Arkansas - St. Mary in Paragould.  I wish I could have seen the interior, but as most of you know, churches are only unlocked during Mass.





Link:
Interior Pictures from the Eames Office


Sunday, September 21, 2014

St. Benedict Church at Subiaco Abbey

Hello all!

This morning I trekked out to Subiaco Abbey, which is about 2 hours west of Little Rock.  It's a lovely drive and a lovely campus.

The church, named after St. Benedict, is rather large, considering it is near the middle of nowhere Arkansas.  It's rather plain on the inside, but in a good way.

As Subiaco is also a boarding school for boys in grades 7-12, the young men also participated in the Mass at 10:45 am, as lectors, servers and ushers.

All of the monks processed in.

Music:
It was a mix of chant and not chant.  The music was accompanied by an organ and a piano.
Entrance Chant:  I Am Your Savior My People
Gloria:  Missa Ubi Caritas
Preparation:  There is a Longing
Communion:  Loving and Forgiving
Sending Forth:  Sing of the Lord's Goodness (YAY! at the correct tempo!!)
The Our Father was chanted.  The Lamb of God was interesting.  It was sung in English, but Latin was  sung over it.

Mini-homily:  Jesus calls those to the vineyard.  Those who respond will have great rewards.

Homily:
From the 2nd reading, Christ is magnified is our bodies in life and in death.  This is true, provided we conduct ourselves in the way of the Gospel.  For Paul, this is a win-win.  The last line:  conduct yourselves worthy of the Gospel.  In the Gospel, the workers were called at different times but all were paid equally.  God calls us to be fruitful.  God rewards all with generosity.  All will receive mercy and generosity.  What about the workers who worked all day? (Call your union rep!)  Can any one really claim lifelong faithfulness?  Lifelong fruitfulness.  All receive generosity, more than they deserve.  Conduct yourself worthy of the Gospel.  No complaints (well..uhm...oops) No grumbling (uhm) Not being stingy.  God rejoices when we finally repent, even at the last minute.  It might be us that think, he's made his bed, now he has to lie in it, that is not God's way.  The vinter is not a good business owner (sure he is...)  The Gospel life is not miserly or focused on the bottom line.  It is open, generous, not fearful.  Belief requires Faith.  We can't see God and His mercy, we can only get glimpses.  God is love.  A life worthy of the Gospel entrusts us with this Love. Father then read the Prayer of Abandonment by St. Charles Foucauld.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer III.

Pictures:  (Thanks Brother Francesco who let me go behind the altar to take some pictures.)
(There are pictures about the life of St. Benedict...I like to have such things in order...so I'm reading about his life and will post later :D )




 

















Links:
Subiaco Abbey
St. Benedict

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Update

Just an update.
On the Sunday before Labor Day I got really ill.  I was sick that entire week.  I finally went to the doctor on Friday, who sent me to the ER, because they suspected appendicitis.

It turns out I have 1 or 2 very large cysts on my right ovary.  I'll need surgery.

I'm aiming for mid-October and plan to have the surgery in St. Louis.  I think my recovery will take anywhere from 4-6 weeks...so if I disappear...that's probably why.

Thanks.

St. Boniface - Fort Smith

Hi all.
On Saturday I decided to visit Forth Smith to visit the historic site instead of mopping in my apartment. (There will be a 2nd post explaining the mopping.) I managed to visit all 3 parishes in Fort Smith and attended Mass at St. Boniface at 4 pm on Saturday.  The parishes were really close together, something I was rather surprised give how spread out everything else is.

You know the best part about doing this?  Walking into a Catholic Church and recognizing it as a Catholic Church.  I've been in some churches that could be confused for a giant lecture hall.  St. Boniface did not disappoint in this aspect.

The music was supplied by a piano and cantor in the choir loft.
Music:
Opening:  Lift High the Cross
Offertory:  Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent
Communion: We Have Been Told
Closing: How Great Thou Art

So I never really got the whole idea behind Father What-A-Waste...I mean they are priests.  Most of them are *old*  Yeah.  I got it today looking at the priest.  Very cute in a rugged way..that's one way to get people to come to Mass.

Mini-Homily:
Means of our Lord's death becomes our redemption.

Homily:
The homily was said by the Deacon.  This had to be one of the best homilies by a Deacon I have ever heard.  I was impressed.  (Which is saying something.)
18 yrs ago when in formation, taking homelitics, something stuck in my mind.  A near perfect homilest was talking about how a homily was not an exercise in elocution.  It is by the Power of the Cross that I have been given the power of giving homilies.  The Feast of the Holy Cross has been around since the 7th century when the True Cross was recovered from the Persians and shown in Jerusalem.  The cross is about the triumph of Jesus' love for us.  The cross of Moses prefigured Jesus.  Moses' cross healed all those who gazed upon it.  Jesus was lifted up so that all who believe would have eternal life.  God so loved the world, He gave His only Son.  The cross is a symbol of all our stains; it is the symbol of our personal relationship with Jesus.  Many people think the Cross is a trinket and has extra powers.  It is the power of Christ that conquers evil. (Duh...that's what they chant in the Exorcist...).  In the 2nd reading, Paul explains that Jesus accepted the worst death to demonstrate God's love for us.  Jesus showed us His love of the Father.  His death saved us from horror and a meaningless life.  Jesus is Lord.  His love makes this possible.  When we wear the cross, we are showing that Jesus is the Lord of our lives.  All of our problems take on infinite (missed this word) when merged with the Cross.  All might be saved through the Cross.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer III and there were bells.  Additionally there was a 2nd collection.  Father explained how he didn't get a raise every time there was a collection but that the money was used to protect the Church's patrimony.

Pictures:

















Link:
St. Boniface - Forth Smith