Unlike Missouri, Arkansas' grape harvest is starting right about now. The wineries here don't really celebrate Oktoberfest (the Swiss one does though). This weekend, the grape growing area had a grape fest. Free wine tasting. 100 degree heat. Someone's not feeling all that great. My co-workers were worried that I would not be in any shape to drive the 2 hours back and I was like I'm going to Mass...I'll be fine by the time it is over. Yeah. Except I was not in the best shape for Mass. My shirt was soaked with sweat. I'm buzzed. If you have met me while buzzed, you know that staying quiet is a challenge. So are some other things but I'm good Catholic woman who shouldn't know about such things.
St. Mary overlooks the entire Altus valley. It's on a hill, up one of the most horrid roads especially considering it is a tourist area. The name on the cornerstone was Our Lady, Help of Christians. (I'm really surprised that Churches in wine country aren't named after the patron saint of wine or grapes: St. Martin of Tours, St. Vincent of Saragossa and St. Amand)
I walked into the Church and nearly cried (It was the wine...honest). St. Mary's looks like a Catholic Church. Big fancy high altars and side altars. Stained glass windows featuring Saints. Murals on the walls. The ceiling was decorated as well as the columns and the the archways. Huge Stations of the Cross. Old, uncomfortable pews and kneelers. Painted organ pipes. It was like I was back in the older churches in St. Louis. The only thing out of place was the glass confessional. I kid you not. Glass --see through walls. At least they had the decency to hang curtains. Although I wonder how long that took.
I always forget how much better choirs sound when they are up in the loft. The music seems to fill the Church without the need for microphones. Music was accompanied by an organ (with pipes!) and a choir.
Opening: I Know My Redeemer Lives (apparently there are 2 songs of that title in the book. The choir sang one and the people the other....)
Mass Setting: Heritage Mass
Offertory: Earthen Vessels
Communion: Shepherd of Souls
Closing: Lead Me Lord
Mass was said by one of the Benedictines from Subiaco Abbey. Apparently, the parish has had a hard time getting a full time regular priest.
For the last few Sundays, Jesus has been speaking to us in parables. Today it is the Pearl of Great Price and the Fish. Parables were very important in ancient times. It was a way for people to remember the story and the lesson. We have bad memories now thanks to all the tv and internet in our lives. (I blame google.) I'm going to focus on the net collecting fish. The net collects the fish, both good and bad and then the fishermen keep the good fish and toss the bad (Are you a good fish or a bad fish?). Fishing was important back then because people didn't eat meat. (So all those stories about sheep? what did they do with the sheep???) The Kingdom of Heaven is like that. It is a hidden thing that we can't see. It must be drawn out. We are called to live and be a part of the Kingdom of Heaven through the Sacraments and by the life we lead. We must work to pull the good out from the bad. As we live or try to live the Christian life, we are surrounded by a society that forgets Christian life (and actively tries to destroy it...) The Angels will separate the good fish from the bad. We struggle to see this. We might not see the difference between fish. (Indeed). Is it worth the effort? I try to live a good Christian life yet others are doing better than me. What use is it? We are called to do this. Ponder the 2nd verse from today's Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 119). We may fall away but as Christians we are called o have this as Your delight.
Father used Eucharistic Prayer III (seems to be a favorite around here) and there were bells.
It was nice Mass. I even met a doctor from St. Louis. :)
Pictures: I know the last couple of churches have been rather, uhm, stark. This should make up for it nicely. Some are missing because someone can't take steady shots buzzed. I'll be going back in the fall for Oktoberfest.
One of these guys is St. Meinreid.
This is something you rarely see...
St. Mary - Altus