Week 291 Bonus

Ascension

Reading I
Acts 1:1-11
Responsorial Psalm
Ps 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
Reading II
Eph 1:17-23 or Heb 9:24-28; 10:19-23
Gospel
Lk 24:46-53

I had considered attending Mass at a parish named "Ascension" today but the nearest one was about an hour and a half away and on the other side of rush hour congestion in a pagan city where almost no one observes Catholic holy days. Apart from that, the first Mass I might have considered today was too early and I didn't awaken in time for it. I spent too much time with the cat and was two minutes late for my second choice. I went further north and arrived in time for a 9 AM Mass at the parish I visited in week 65. It hasn't changed in any way I could discern since that Sunday, so feel free to reread that piece for a description (perhaps substituting "reredo" for "framework;" I have to make some sort of progress at this as my wrinkles deepen).

One priest, dressed in black shirt and pants and Roman collar, stood at the cantor's lectern and introduced the Mass, the celebrant, who entered from the sacristy at the right, and the opening hymn, "Alleluia! Sing to Jesus, which was led by an unseen voice from the choir loft. This could have been the organist or a separate cantor; I could not tell (the organist is likely as a cantor would probably have served from the sanctuary). An extraordinary minister of Holy Communion also sat in the sanctuary. We recited the Confiteor and the Gloria; the former was followed by a chant of the Kyrie in English.

The priest in black also served as lector and gave the first reading from the cantor's lectern. He read rather hurriedly. The cantor led the responsorial psalm for the day with organ accompaniment. The priest also gave the second reading (Ephesians) from the lectern. We sang the Alleluia and verse before the Gospel. The celebrant made his way to the ambo at the left and proclaimed the Gospel. While I did listen to the homily and found nothing wrong with it, even immediately after Mass I honestly could not remember much of anything from it. I guess one would categorize it as "inspirational." This could say more about me than about the homily; I'm not sure.

We recited the Creed, and then the priest who was in black (but by now was wearing a white alb and stole) led the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful from the lectern. A collection was taken using long-handled wicker baskets as the cantor sang a hymn on her own. (I didn't catch the name, which the priest-lector announced.) The chalice and ciboriums were of metal. At the Orate Fratres prayer, almost everyone stood during the celebrant's invitation.

The Sanctus was sung to a setting familiar to me but which I am unable to identify. The priest offered the second Eucharistic Prayer. We recited the Memorial Acclamation, Great Amen, and Our Father. We sang the Agnus Dei to the Holy Cross Mass setting.

At Holy Communion, the lay minister and priest-lector distributed from the center aisle; the chalice was not offered. The celebrant did not assist, but he is rather elderly and after Communion he did say that he had just returned from surgery in the hospital and is now on dialysis, so I'm sure he had a legitimate reason for remaining at the altar during Communion (he looked a bit unsteady, actually). We sang "I Am the Bread of Life" during Communion.

After the celebrant's thanks for everyone's prayers during his illness, he received a round of applause. He gave the closing prayer and imparted a simple blessing. The closing hymn was "Go, Make of All Disciples." About two-thirds of the 100-150 or so in the congregation had left before the hymn was complete. The Mass ran about 35 minutes.

Later in the day, I watched on television one of the Masses I had missed earlier (it runs on tape at noon). The priest at that Mass took his main point for the homily as "The reason Jesus left us to run the Church is that He trusts us." At least I could remember that. Other than that, that Mass was pretty straight and ran only about three or four minutes over its 30-minute time allotment (they let it run to completion, which was nice). The cantor and organist were good, as usual.

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In Hollywood, Maryland, Mass is offered at St. John Church on St. John's Road. All across America and around the world, you can almost always find a Catholic Mass.

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