Sunday, July 27, 2014

St. Mary (Our Lady, Help of Christians) - Altus

Hi-De-Ho!  Hope everyone is having a nice cool Sunday.  It's hot here.  It's humid.  It's awful.  I'm so glad I live when and where AC is available.

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. Raphael!

St. Mary - Altus

Monday, July 21, 2014

Assumption - Atkins

Hello all.  Sorry this post is late.  My bestest bud is moving and I was making a quilt for a housewarming gift and I'm on a tight deadline.  (It's very lovely :) )

On Sunday morning, I attended the 8:30 am Mass at Assumption in Atkins (home of the Pickle Fest!).  It's a smallish church (but was packed) that is a bit plain on the inside.

Music was accompanied by an organ and choir in the back.
Opening:  Gather Us In
Mass Setting:  Mass of Wisdom
Offertory:  Seek Ye First
Communion:  Take & Eat This Bread
Blessing for Choir Director:  A Blessing
Closing:  O God, Our Help in Ages

Whoever has ears aught to hear.  Jesus is telling parables to those who acknowledge them.  Parables are practical stories with deeper meaning.  They tend to be about farming because everyone who was listening was familiar with farming (I will say I get the parables more now that I work in agriculture..).  Our salvation is part of the harvest.  The fruit is our lives.  The devil is a weed that chokes off the fruits of our lives.  We need to live our Faith.  God has planted the seed in us.  We need to grow and bear fruit.  The challenge is that we are surrounded by temptations.  The world tries to choke off Faith: ignore, persecute, ridicule and destroy Faith.  People lose sight and fall away.  No one helps them to bear fruit.  We live for God; life for all eternity.  We see it in the world.  If we don't have a good foundation, we lose Faith.  The Spirit is there even if we don't know it.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer 2 and there were bells.

It was a nice Mass.



Sunday, July 13, 2014

St. Francis of Assisi - Little Italy

Hello all!
Yesterday, I attended the 5 pm Mass at St. Francis of Assisi in Little Italy.  This church had no address. I just drove down the highway until I was there (and didn't get lost).

It's a mission church that was established in 1922.  It was a bigger church then I was expecting given the location.  Relatively plain on the inside but it did have paintings depicting the life of St. Francis on the walls.

Music was provided by an organ in the back.
Opening:  All Creatures of Our God & King
Offertory:  For the Fruits of This Creation
Communion:  Gift of Finest Wheat
Closing:  Let All Things Now Living

The Word of God is seed planted in us, we await the bountiful harvest.

Humans we are a beautiful imperfect creatures living in an imperfect world.  It's a car insurance ad.  De we listen to the Word?  That is important to understand.  We are imperfect because we are human.  We have so many distractions take away from the Word.  How we receive is difference.  Keeps us from listening.  If we listen, we produce much fruit. Things keep us from listening.  Right now people are not listening here and now ( la. la)  We have to be attentive in order to listen to Word.  Without distractions we bear much fruit.


St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, July 7, 2014

Holy Child of Jesus - Dumas

Good Monday to you all.

It was bound to happen.  I've visited over 300 churches and nary an issue, getting lost doesn't count.  While going through a blink and you missed it town, someone (yours truly) got caught in a speed trap.  The fee is my gas budget for the month.  And some of my food budget.  If you'd like to help by buying me some gas so I can keep visiting churches, send me an email. ;)  I've learned my lesson (don't get caught...)

I went to Dumas, AR to the 11:15 am Mass at Holy Child of Jesus.  This is another small church with a small congregation.  There were no more than 25 people at Mass.  I think I might have been the youngest adult.  Thankfully some kids came...cause for awhile...I was the youngest person in the building.  Although Father might have been my age.  He's from Ghana.

There was an organ but everything was sung a capella.
Opening:  Rejoice in the Lord Always
Offertory:  See Us Lord About Your Altar
Communion: Silence
Closing:  Let There Be Peace on Earth

Come to Me.  Bring Me your challenges.  I will change your life.

If you see someone starts laughing, you ask why.  If they say they are happy you ask why.  Jesus tells us to rejoice.  God has a reason.  I'm coming to you as a King.  When I come, I will reveal Mysteries to you.  How can you read the mind of God.  Jesus tells us the mind of God.  Rejoice.  What God can do for you?  (It's like what can brown for you....except I bet God won't run over my packages....)  The humble are ready to learn from God.  But not the learned.  Knowledge is power.  Jesus says to get up and go.  When your brother calls you on the phone, you may not answer because you know he wants something.  Jesus is always accessible.  Come to Him.  We need rest on Earth.  He gives us peace and joy.  An appointment is an agreement between 2 parties.  Jesus makes an appointment with you.  Anytime I open my doors, come and bring challenge, I will change life.  If Jesus invites you in, you must bring something (brownies!).  A spiritual heart and mind (brownies are better).  Human logic will fail.  Walking on water, Peter was successful until he applied human logic.  Jesus's healing doesn't make sense with human logic.  Just come.  If He invites you, only come with Faith.  Get away from distractions.  The brothers of the paralyzed man had no distractions, they took off the roof to get their brother to Jesus.  What is your problem?  It is not bigger than Jesus.  Get up and go to Him.  Leave your problems here today.

It was a nice little Mass and a nice little church.


Holy Child of Jesus