Is 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
Snow began just before I was ready to leave for my weekly excursion, so I had hoped to be able to take another railroad trip. I missed the train, however, and didn't feel like waiting for the next one, so I braved the snow (some might say fooled the snow) and drove an hour and a half to an old parish not too far from Manhattan. I was able to find the only legal parking space near the church (this always makes me feel guilty, and that train started looking better) and entered in time for the 10:30 AM Mass. I did fairly well, considering that I forgot my maps and printed lists of Mass schedules.
The 1926 church is rectangular with an arched blue ceiling. The wooden pews are in four sections, with the two side sections abutting the walls. The familiar combination of OCP's Today's Missal and Music Issue is found in racks underneath the pews. The tall, stained-glass windows are traditional and depict biblical scenes. A choir loft remains but is probably not used much as the organist served from the front left, facing the sanctuary. The metal tabernacle has been moved to a niche on the front right, probably an old vestibule (a similar niche on the left has an exit). A traditional crucifix hangs on the rear wall of the sanctuary. The ambo is at the left and the freestanding altar is behind it at the center of the sanctuary. The Advent wreath, on a stand, was already lit.
Mass began with a hiccup as no servers showed and an adult had to run to the sanctuary to retrieve the processional cross (after the opening hymn, "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name," had started). A contingent of members of the Holy Name Society led the procession through the center aisle (the only way I know this for certain is by a banner that was on a stand near the altar) followed by five lay ministers of Holy Communion, the reader, and the priest. After a mention of his pink vestments (for Gaudete Sunday) and saying that it's the only day we'd get to see him in pink, and if he fell in the snow he'd be easy to spot, the priest used Form C of the penitential rite, diving right into the acclamations and skipping "let us call to mind our sins." (I guess he wanted to get us home early.) The Gloria was omitted for Advent. The reader gave the first reading and then sat; the organist/cantor sang the refrains of the responsorial psalm but read the verses; the reader returned to the ambo to give the second reading; we sang the Alleluia. The priest proclaimed the Gospel from the ambo and then gave a quick homily in which he mentioned that today we stop for a moment during Advent to be thankful and give glory to God for all the great things he's done. He noted the capture of Saddam Hussein, recalled his own time in the armed forces, and said that we should be thankful for all that those in the armed forces do to serve and protect us.
We recited the Creed, and a standard Prayer of the Faithful followed with the intentions read by the reader. A collection was taken using long-handled wicker baskets. The chalice and ciboriums were of metal. The offertory hymn was "The King of Glory." At the Orate Fratres, no one stood until after the congregation's response was complete.
The Mass setting for the remainder of the Mass was Marty Haugen's Mass of Creation. The priest used the second Eucharistic Prayer. At the Our Father, which we recited, I saw no evidence of hand-holding, but the church was only about half-full.
At Holy Communion, I thought I saw something amiss as it appeared that additional wine was brought from the side--but I hadn't been paying that close attention and can't say for certain what had happened. (The priest actually can consecrate additional wine at this point if he neglected to do it earlier.) A lay minister retrieved ciboriums from the tabernacle. The chalice was offered at two stations on the left (front and middle) while the other four stations were in the usual locations on the center aisle. The organist played background music on her own during Holy Communion; I couldn't identify the tune although it sounded familiar.
After Communion, the reader gave a few announcements that were also in the bulletin. The priest announced that second collection would be taken "so my sister can retire," adding that it was to support elderly religious. He gave the closing prayer and then said that the ushers had better get started if they expected to get any money. It was taken in the same manner as the first. The priest imparted a simple blessing before departing via the center aisle with the Holy Name Society members, the lay ministers, and the reader. The closing hymn was "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." Most people remained for the single verse, which was good, but I did notice quite a bit of whispering and the like during this Mass, which was completed in just over half an hour.