Ps 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Phil 1:4-6, 8-11
With lots of fresh snow on the ground and in the streets, a quick drive to the railroad station and a train ride seemed the safest approach, so I boarded a train (20 minutes late) which took me 45 minutes to a subway that led to a small church with a 9:00 AM Mass. Unfortunately, I arrived late and couldn't stay with the priest and the other two people in the congregation. I walked half an hour, hoping I'd stumble upon a church with a 9:30 AM Mass. I did, but only after that Mass had started as well (maybe with 50-70 people or so). I walked around some more and had no luck finding a 10:00 AM Mass, so I used an old trick and consulted a Neighborhood Map in a subway station in an attempt to improve my chances. It revealed a church not too far away, so I headed over there, but I arrived at 10:30 AM and the next Mass was at noon. I returned to the second church thinking that the sign had said 11:00 for the next Mass, but my brain had played tricks with me and it was really at noon also. I walked around some more but eventually returned to the second church and joined about 70 others for the noon Mass.
The church has a large sign on the wall outside, and it has a dedication date of "MDCCCXXXIX," which for you newfangled folks is "1839." The parish itself is even older. The outside has a high flight of steps which one must climb in order to reach the nave. The inside is rather traditional apart from the freestanding marble altar that certainly did not exist in 1839 and the truncated altar rail which most assuredly was complete in 1839. The walls are lime green with high, traditional stained-glass windows. The wooden pews are in four sections, with the narrow side sections abutting the walls. A small number of copies of WLP's Seasonal Missalette can be found scattered through the pews. I saw no hat hooks; perhaps they were removed at some point. Over the high altar and metal tabernacle is a painting of a traditional crucifix; the legend over that reads, "Et ego si exaltatus fuero a terra omnia traham ad me ipsum." I'm tempted to leave the translation of this as an exercise for the reader, but I'll make it easy, since translating it was easy enough for me. I simply plugged it into Google; this quickly yielded a link to the Vulgate, which shows that it is John 12:32. I'm so glad that St. Jerome didn't bother to copyright the Vulgate so that it can be placed online freely.
Over the Latin inscription on the dome of the sanctuary is a large painting of St. Peter being lifted for his crucifixion (I assume this as he's being lifted upside-down, as tradition indicates he was crucified). At the left front of the nave, also towards the ceiling, is a painting that I believe is of St. Peter being freed from his prison cell by angels. The usual side altars for the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph are present; a flower stand was in front of the tabernacle on the left. The tabernacle lamp was immediately to the left of the main tabernacle, though, so I had no question of which one was in use. Three large chandeliers hang over the center aisle.
Mass began with the priest and reader (a very young man) entering from the sacristy at the left. The Mass had no cantor or organist. The priest used Form C of the penitential rite. The Gloria was omitted for Advent. The reader gave the readings without incident; the priest sang the Alleluia and verse before the Gospel before proclaiming the Gospel from the ambo at the left.
The priest had a bit of an accent and the sound system was not good, so a lot of the homily escaped me. There was a story about a soldier, a revolver, heaven, and hell, but that's about all I got from it. He also mentioned Thomas Hobbes, and he finished by saying that we could prepare for Christmas by doing something good.
We recited the Creed, and a standard Prayer of the Faithful followed with the intentions read by the reader. Some brief announcements followed that, including mention of a second collection. The first collection was taken using long-handled wicker baskets. The chalice and ciboriums were of metal. At the Orate Fratres, no one stood until after the congregation's response was complete.
The priest used the second Eucharistic Prayer. At the Our Father, I saw no evidence of hand-holding. At Holy Communion, the priest was assisted by one lay minister; the chalice was not offered.
After Communion, the second collection was taken in the same manner as the first after the priest reminded the ushers about it. The priest offered the Prayer after Communion and imparted a solemn blessing before returning to the sacristy.