Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
Rv 21:10-14, 22-23
I came to rest this morning at a church I had passed some time ago too late to stop. This time I had time and took advantage of it. I couldn't find a cornerstone, but the church looks to be a mid-20th century structure. The outside is of grey stone; the inside is painted concrete block. The wooden pews are split into two sections. Racks hold copies of OCP's Today's Missal (large type) and Music Issue, placed separately without binders. The arched roof is painted dark brown, while the walls are a creamy color. A wall has been erected in the back of the sanctuary, apparently to hide the original altar and reredo. (Some day, some folks will have some real pleasure in removing this wall and putting everything back the way it was.) A freestanding white marble altar has been placed at the center of the sanctuary, while a matching ambo and cantor's lectern are at the left and right, respectively. The choir, numbering eight today, serves from the left corner, which is a bit odd with the lectern at the right. At the far right is a vault in the wall where a side altar must have been; this is the tabernacle (which I did not notice right away). In front of the tabernacle is a marble pillar of some sort. Over the rear wall of the sanctuary is a large, traditional crucifix, with stained-glass representations of the Blessed Mother and St. John the Evangelist at either side. The stained-glass windows on the side walls are largely traditional. The Stations of the Cross are depicted by rectangular, painted plaques along the side walls. A choir loft and organ over the entrance both collected dust today. Also noticeable-- but just barely--was a pair of altar candles that had burned so low they were beneath the glass holders. I like to be thrifty too, but still...
As I entered, I spotted a guitar, but I chose not to flee because I was suffering either from a cold or allergies and was not inclined to roam the countryside for any length of time. Everyone has to do his penance, if not now then later. Mass began as two servers with red trim over their shoulders, a reader, a deacon, and the priest passed through the center aisle to the hymn "Hail, Holy Queen." We sang two verses. The priest led the recitation of the Confiteor and the Gloria.
The reader went to the ambo and gave the first reading. The guitarist led the singing of the psalm for the day. The reader returned to the ambo and gave the second reading. The choir led the Alleluia (Celtic, I believe). The deacon went to the ambo with the Book of Gospels and proclaimed the Gospel. The priest then took the ambo to give the homily.
The homily wasn't bad, considering the surroundings. The priest focused on the first reading and explained that the first ecumenical council, the Council of Jerusalem, demonstrates the primacy of Peter. The issue of whether Gentiles had to convert to Judaism first was very important, but no one took it upon himself to decide. Instead, it was taken to Peter, and this is a model of how we need to handle things today. The priest explained that the Pope speaks with the voice of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, since Peter and the apostles are told, "Whoever hears you hears me." The priest's emphasis on the importance of the Pope was not unwelcome, but the reading did seem to speak more of the collegial nature of the Church.
We recited the Creed, and then the reader went to the cantor's lectern to lead the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful. A collection was taken using long-handled wicker baskets as we sang the offertory hymn, "Prayer of St. Francis." After the gifts were presented and prepared, the priest led the Orate Fratres prayer. No one stood until after the congregation's response was complete. Two metal chalices were used: a large one and a smaller one.
The Mass setting for the remainder of the Mass was the Mass of Creation. The priest offered the second Eucharistic Prayer. At the Our Father, I didn't notice any obvious joining of hands.
The priest and one extraordinary minister of Holy Communion distributed the Body of Christ from two stations at the center aisle, while the deacon stood behind them on the step of the sanctuary offering the Precious Blood. The servers held patens to catch falling particles, but as I saw recently at another parish, they were not particularly aggressive about it and I have to wonder about the effectiveness of their service if it had been needed. The choir formed two lines at the center aisle and received first, singing the unannounced hymn "I Say, 'Yes,' My Lord" afterward.
The reader went to the lectern and gave several brief announcements before the close of the Mass. The priest offered the closing prayer and imparted a simple blessing before leaving via the center aisle with the servers, reader, and deacon to the hymn "Let There Be Peace on Earth." About half of the 200 or so in the congregation left before the hymn was complete.
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In Redmond, WA, Mass is offered at St. Jude Church on 166 Ave. There, and everywhere, you can almost always find a Catholic Mass.
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