Sunday, May 18, 2014

St. Joseph - Pine Bluff

I decided last night that I wanted to go hiking in the swamp.  There's a swamp near Pine Bluff and I was like cool I'll go to Church there.  Except I couldn't remember which church I went to.  I looked at their pics online and am like I recognize neither.  I'll go to the one with the earlier Mass time and be back in time to get baklava and listen to Irish music at the Greek Fest.  (Jazz Music at the German Fest...Irish Music at the Greek Fest...Irish Music at the Jewish Fest...wonders what is played at the Irish Fest...)

I'm driving to Mass and I was like this look vaguely familiar.  Oh noes.  I recognize that dilapidated house...  Oh noes....  I've been to this church before.  Now in St. Louis, or any place really really Catholic, this is not a tragedy.  In the city at least, you just go like a mile in another direction and you hit a church.  Here in Arkansas that is fraught with issues.  Most towns only have 1 and they only have 1 Mass.  And it may or may not be on Sunday.  Luckily, Pine Bluff is bigger and has 3.... and I didn't miss Mass at one of them.

I attended the 11 am Mass at St. Joseph.  It's an older church.  The choir loft is really high.  It's so high I don't think I could stand in it.  Well, not with out a lot of extra praying.

Sometimes older churches smell really nice, like the incense and candles have soaked into the wood and stone.  St. Joseph had an odor..unfortunately, it wasn't incense.  (This will become important later on)

Music was supplied by the organ in the loft with a cantor.
Opening:  Festival Canticle
Offertory:  We Have Been Told
Communion:  Taste and See
Closing:  Sent Forth By God's Blessing

Today was the Graduation Mass, so all the graduates were there in their caps and gowns.  All were college students.  I won't ask where the grade schoolers or high schoolers were...

Father's homily started off with a story about a man named Matthew Henry who lived around 200 years ago.  He loved Jesus with all his heart and he knew his time was coming.  He knew his family and friends would be heartbroken when he died so he left them a letter.  Father read the letter.  To summarize the letter spoke of how the writer with Jesus in the Father's dwelling place and was perfect in holiness (Clearly this guy is a protestant...)  This letter is similar to today's Gospel.  Where I am you may also be.  For Jews, only God is the way.  Jesus says He is the way.  The Father and I are one.  This is a huge claim and why the Jews rejected Jesus.  The Father and I are equal.  What does it mean? Jesus is the visible manifestation...  and at this point I just started coughing and had to go outside for a moment.  and missed the rest of the homily :(

Father used Eucharistic Prayer III and there were bells at the Consecration.  Father also gave the graduates a special blessing at the end of Mass.


St. Joseph Pine Bluff

View From the Back Pew

Station VIII


I"m not sure...

St. John Vianney?


I got nothing on these two

St. Joseph - Pine Bluff

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

St. Joseph - Paris

Sorry this post is last.  I was exhausted from going hiking after Mass.  I climbed to the highest peak in Arkansas.  Then on Monday night I had softball.  I love getting walked!

On Sunday, May 11, I headed out to Paris, AR for the 9 am Mass at St. Joseph Church.  It is an old style church and was pretty.

Music was accompanied by an organ in the choir loft.
Opening:  Alleluia! Alleluia!
Offertory: Hail Mary: Gentle Woman
Communion:  Pan de Vida (instrumental), Let Us Break Bread Together (at a funeral pace)
Closing:  Jesus is Risen

The Gloria was not sung.  The congregation started saying it, got lost, and just kind of stopped.  Father made us redo it.

Why do churches put the cry room in the choir loft???

The Deacon gave the homily.  Because it was Mother's Day, he asked for the Mom with the oldest child (odd) and the newest mom.  Something changes when girls have babies (yeah...their hips).  God knows what mothers need and gives them the tools to be good mothers (so bad moms didn't pick up the tools?)  You only appreciate your mother once you have kids of your own.  A mother is a mother for ever.  Mothering is out of pure love (no comment).  The history of mothers:  Eve, then Mary, then Mother church (and you missed some generations...).  The history of Mothers' Day goes back to when the early church had a day when you were to go back to the church you were baptized in, that was your mother church and the day was Mother's Day. (Uhm...he does realize that most people in the early church didn't tend to move all that far from the place they were's not like they had planes or cars or anything... and on this bright note the Church I was baptized in is closed/suppressed.  Guess I don't have a mom church.  Excellent.)  Mothers' Day is not a liturgical holiday (but we are going to treat it like one)  To tie it into the Gospel, mothers are shepherds (oh this is a stretch).  Shepherds slept outside the gate to keep out the wolves.  The wolves would smell the human and go away.  In the morning, the shepherd would open the gate and the sheep would follow the call.  The image of Jesus carrying a sheep comes from when, in the old days, lambs were rambunctious and would run off.  The shepherd would break the lamb's leg and therefore would need to carry the lamb everywhere.  The lamb would then stay close to the shepherd when the lamb was healed in 2-3 weeks.  (*blink*  I don't even know where to begin on this fail.  Seriously. Other than to go stop reading wikipedia and talk to the ranchers/4H people in your parish....)  Now this doesn't mean you should break your rambunctious child's leg (I'm glad you added that qualifier there...)  We all need a hit upside the head to follow (Because when love doesn't work, violence is the answer..).  Mother wants to lead us to Church, to Jesus (that only works if your mom is a practicing Catholic and not a CAPE, C&E, or somebody died Catholic).  They do this completely out of love.  We hold mothers in high esteem (yet we trash stay at home moms).

The Deacon then gave a special blessing to all the mothers.  There were about 5 adult women who did not get to stand for the blessing.  One woman looked very very unhappy.  Then all the mothers got to come up and get a rose.  Here's a tip:  over buy your roses.  There is nothing worse than running out before all the moms get one and then having to go raid flowers in the sacristy....

One of the petitions were for Mothers who gave some quality to Earth ( I have no idea)

Father used Eucharistic Prayer II.  There were bells at the Consecration.  The Our Father was sung.


I guess the Holy Spirit got tired of flying...
Or it's a chicken...


Where's Pope?
You can tell this a Pre Vatican II window..



St. Joseph - Paris

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Holy Redeemer - El Dorado

Greetings All.
On Saturday, May 3rd, I headed to El Dorado (2.5 hrs away) to attend the Mayhaw Festival.  You know that scene in National Lampoon's Vacation where after driving cross country they discover that the Moose Place is closed.  Yeah.  It was kinda of like that.

I attended the 5 pm Latin Mass at Holy Redeemer.  It's a newish church, but it is classy.  There aren't a great deal of sculptures in the Church; they are in the hallways.  There are icons in the Church.

Mass was said by a Benedictine.  Normally when I go to a Latin Mass, the people are all dressed up and I stick out.  Not this Mass!  Women in pants!  Women without covered heads!  Men in shorts!  :)

There was no choir and no server.  Because there was no server, the congregation got to be the server and say all the server parts.  I was actually able to follow along this time!  However, my Latin is atrocious.

The homily started with announcements.  The parish is having a mission in 2's like a Revival, only Catholic.  (Apparently people get asked to go to Revivals at Protestant churches....I've never been asked...)  Father Dwight Longnecker (SQUEEE!! if only it wasn't 2.5 hours there...)  is coming to speak at the Mission.
You have been called.  Christ suffered leaving us an example.  Follow in His footsteps.  Episcope, a Greek word that was taken directly into the Latin.  Like a telescope, a bishop sees from above.  He's an overseer of sorts.  (uh oh)  Perhaps overseer is not a good word, bringing up images of the Antebellum South. (Yeah, I'd have to agree...although...I'm just not going there...)  He is the shepherd of our souls.  Jesus is not a bishop, but He is a shepherd.  This is who Jesus is for everyone.  Peter tells us Christ suffered, leaving an example.  When suffering comes to us, do we think of Christ first?  (nope)  Jesus submits.  The purpose of crucifixion for the Romans was that the victims would suffer complete and hopeless abandonment.  (I thought it was for humiliation.  Cause I'm pretty sure anyone facing a death sentence feels rather hopeless.)  Jesus did not curse those who crucified Him.  He did not give over to hurt.  People have difficulty forgiving because of the feelings that are involved.  What to do we do?  We give into those feelings.  That is not Catholic.  We are never free when we give into those feelings. The way to get rid of those feelings is the way of Jesus.  Bless your persecutors. When we have been persecuted, we don't bless them.  I try to isolate my thoughts and feelings for them and pray for them.  The Quakers say that forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves.  As we learn to forgive, the pain will disappear.  When we think about bad feelings, our feelings will be pacified.  Forgiveness is not a feeling.  We must do it regardless.  It changes us internally.  We we follow Jesus' footsteps, we change and grow in blessing.  We must make a conscious decision.  It works.  Jesus would not tell us it if it did not work.  It brings us closer to Him.  It doesn't matter if there are signs of repentance from the other party.  It is not our worry or concern.  You can't do anything about those who hurt us but rise above it.  His Love was rejected.  The Crowning of Thorns was the least amount of suffering, the thirst was worse.  It is a mockery of love; of His Love for us.  Our sin drives down the Crown harder.  Suffer as Christ.  Meditate on the Crowning of Thorns.  Our love rejected by others is the shadow of rejection of God's Love by us.

Holy Redeemer

Crests on Door

Doors to Nave

View from the Back Pew

Is that not the cutest Lion?

Station VIII

Lady Chapel

Holy Redeemer - El Dorado