Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
Mk 10:2-16 or 10:2-12
It was almost a zero-emissions day as I drove to the railroad station five minutes away to board a 7:15 AM train to the city, which would take me to a subway. Fifteen minutes after boarding the subway I approached a ferry that would take me twenty-five minutes across a body of water which is home to an island on which sits an important landmark. Next, I boarded another train which would carry me for forty-five minutes all the way across another large island. Finally, after exiting the railway terminal, I walked ten minutes to a church located in a remote corner of that island. If all this makes absolutely no sense at all to you, and induces visions of a crazy man-- you must be new to the What I Did on Sunday series; welcome aboard! If it makes perfect sense and leaves you at the edge of your chair-- you must be an old-timer; thanks for your continued interest.
The target church is six-sided and bears a 1990 cornerstone. It has a peak in the center with a skylight and high, narrow stained-glass windows with modern but only somewhat abstract images. Entrances with double doors are at two corners; one facing the parking lot and the other facing the main street. The pews are a rather strange mix of traditional wooden pews and individual upholstered seats with no apparent logic; some sections were all seats except for the back row. Others had some seats and some pews; others were all pews. My best guess-- and it is no more than a guess-- is that the pews were salvaged from an earlier, smaller building largely for sentimental or political reasons. The seating is split pie-style into seven sections such that the sections nearest the sanctuary wall are at a 90-degree angle to the center sections. The sanctuary is simple; seats for the priest and deacon; a marble freestanding altar; a matching marble ambo at the right; statues of Mary and Joseph at either side of the sanctuary wall; and a medium-sized traditional crucifix on the wall behind the altar. Underneath the crucifix is a domed, metal tabernacle. The walls have small plaques depicting the twelve Stations of the Cross. The familiar blue OCP binder covering Today's Missal and Music Issue is found in the interlocking space between the seats or in the pews.
I arrived very early because of the ferry and railway schedule. The 9:30 AM Mass was nearing the end but I heard organ music even though it is listed as a "family Mass." That is a good sign, I guess. The hymns were the same as the ones I would hear later too. Not too many people left early. After that Mass ended and everyone left, I entered at about 10:25 AM and took a seat near the rear wall to await the 10:45 AM Mass. The choir rehearsed quietly, which wasn't too distracting. Four young children sat in the front row of one upholstered seat section; a nun in a black habit apparently failed to look at the day's Gospel before Mass and told them that they couldn't sit there, so they moved back a row.
Mass began with the hymn "This Day God Gives Me," sung to the tune of "Morning Has Broken." A server, the reader, a deacon, and the priest (not the same one who offered the previous Mass) passed from the doors by the streeet toward the sanctuary. The deacon led the invocations of Form C of the penitential rite. We sang the Gloria to a straight-through setting that I am unable to identify.
The reader went to the ambo and gave the first reading. The choir (seated at one corner of the church) led the responsorial psalm for the day before the reader returned to the ambo to give the second reading. We sang the Alleluia to another setting I am unable to identify before the deacon went to the ambo to proclaim the Gospel.
The homily was given by the priest, who was a bit difficult for me to understand.. He mentioned that he came from a very large family and apparently had many fond memories of that. He quoted a bit from the scriptures of the day and from Pope John Paul II's apostolic exhortation on the family. He said some nice things about families and concluded by asking us to pray for them.
We recited the Creed, and I noticed a few folks in the front row bow at the appropriate time. Then the deacon led the intentions for the Prayer of the Faithful. The offertory hymn was "May God Bless You." A collection was taken using handleless wicker baskets passed all the way across each row by those in the congregation; the ushers simply started at the front and waited for the baskets to reach the rear. At the Orate Fratres, no one stood until after the people's response.
We sang the Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, Great Amen, and Agnus Dei to settings I am also unable to identify. The priest used the second Eucharistic Prayer. I saw no evidence of joined hands at the Our Father, which we recited.
At Holy Communion, two lay ministers assisted the priest and deacon in distributing; the chalice was not offered. The Communion hymn was "Prayer of St. Francis," obviously in honor of that saint's feast the day before. (I was tempted to attend Mass at a parish named for St. Francis on Saturday, but I'd have had to travel too far. Yes, I hear the shouts of "travel too far?" from the audience.)
After Communion, the reader gave several short announcements as a second collection for the parish school was taken in the same way as the first. Then the priest offered the closing prayer and imparted a simple blessing before leaving via the same aisle as he had entered. The closing hymn was "O Bless the Lord." We sang one verse but about half the congregation had started to leave before it was complete. Mass took about 50 minutes.
I tried to make the next train but foolishly walked to the terminal instead of the next station and saw the train leaving; this error cost me half an hour. The railway terminal was quiet and peaceful, anyway, with only one crazy person waiting for the next train home.