Week 292

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Reading I
Acts 7:55-60
Responsorial Psalm
Ps 97:1-2, 6-7, 9
Reading II
Rv 22:12-14, 16-17, 20
Gospel
Jn 17:20-26

As I was driving around the mainland, a church stepped in my path. It seemed suitable for today, so I located a parking place and went inside. It is shaped like a "T" with a tall spire over the sanctuary; the spire is supported by four curved beams. I'm not sure if this is an accident or if it is supposed to symbolize the four Gospels; I hope the latter. The cornerstone, almost obscured behind bushes, reads "1969." The inside is more or less stripped to the essentials. The walls are of tan brick with horizontal air conditioning vents at about the halfway mark. The ends of the "T" have abstract, stained-glass windows. At one side are the sacristy and two confessionals. At the opposite side are a cry room and two shrines that may have been confessionals also at some point. The sanctuary is at the center, with a huge figure of the Risen Christ over a square, metal tabernacle and possibly the original altar (if so, it may be one of the last constructed this way). A freestanding altar is at the center of the sanctuary. The celebrant's chair is at the right. The wooden ambo is at the left and ahead of the altar. The organ and piano are also at the left but close to the rear wall, along with a cantor's lectern. Individual seats for a choir (not present at this Mass) are located near the organ. The dark, wooden pews are bench-style and split into two sections in each of the three parts of the "T." Racks hold the combination of OCP's Today's Missal (large-type edition) and Music Issue in the typical blue plastic binder. The Stations of the Cross are depicted by small carved plaques on the side walls. A statue of the Blessed Mother is at the left on the wall near the organ.

The cantor announced the entrance hymn, "Festival Canticle: Worthy Is Christ." Four servers (a crossbearer at the front and three others abreast behind him), the reader, the deacon, and the priest processed from the sacristy through the center aisle on that side, around to the side aisle at the right, and then through the center aisle of the main section. I believe they incensed the altar and ambo at this point. In place of the penitential rite, the priest used the rite of sprinkling. In addition to blessing water, he blessed some salt and added it to the water. He then passed through each of the three center aisles, sprinkling the congregation as we sang "Water of Life," which the cantor told us was in the "Seasonal Missalette." He perpetuated this error throughout the Mass. If he had just called it a "missalette," I probably wouldn't have minded. We sang the Gloria to the Mass of Creation setting.

The reader went to the ambo and gave the first reading before standing to one side while the cantor led the responsorial psalm for the day from the lectern. The reader then returned to the ambo and gave the second reading. We sang the Alleluia and verse before the Gospel while the servers processed with candles around the perimeter of the sanctuary to the ambo along with the deacon, who proclaimed the Gospel after incensing the ambo and Book of Gospels. After the Gospel, the procession returned to the rear of the sanctuary and the priest took the ambo for the homily.

The homily, given by the priest from the ambo, focused on unity. It began with a mythological story favored by Rudyard Kipling. Apparently the gods were created at the same time as man, who claimed he was also divine. The gods looked into this and decided that it might well be true. They became concerned and one of their number decided to hide man's divinity from him. They debated where to hide it when one said, "No problem; I know the perfect place." He closed his hand and man's divinity was gone, safely hidden in a place man would never think to look for it; inside himself. This was compared to the divinity found within Jesus. Then we heard a quote from the poet Maya Angelou. It stuck with me until the end of the Mass but now I can't remember even the substance of it. The priest then talked of Jesus' plea for unity and how important it is to the Church. He explained that our human dignity derives from our common Creator; we should keep this in mind when those around us begin to annoy or irritate us.

We recited the Creed, and then the deacon read the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful from his seat next to the priest. A collection was taken using long-handled wicker baskets as the cantor sang "How Can I Keep from Singing?" on his own to piano accompaniment. Two servers accompanied the gift-bearers to the front as the other two prepared the thurible. The priest incensed the altar and then those in each of the three sections of the "T" stood while the deacon incensed them and then sat again. At the Orate Fratres prayer, almost everyone stood as soon as the priest began his invitation. The chalice and ciboriums were of metal. The additional wine was in a metal flask but I didn't notice if it was poured into the smaller chalices before the consecration or afterward.

We sang the Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, and Great Amen to the Mass of Creation setting. The priest offered the second Eucharistic Prayer. We recited the Our Father. We sang the Agnus Dei to a setting I've heard but can't identify.

At Holy Communion, two additional priests emerged to assist as did four extraordinary ministers. The priests distributed the Sacred Body (two at the front center, one at the center of each side) while the lay ministers distributed the Precious Blood at the corners (two back to back at each corner). The organist played background music until Communion was almost over. The cantor then led "How Great Thou Art."

The priest offered the closing prayer and then asked us to sit for the announcements. Most were brief except for a plug for the parish ministry fair in the hall, in which every ministry represented had to be named. We then stood for a simple blessing. The closing hymn was "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today." The servers, deacon, and priest passed through the center aisle. About half the congregation had left before two verses were complete. The Mass ran a little over an hour.

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In Colorado Springs, Colorado, Mass is offered at Corpus Christi Church on North Cascade Ave. Anywhere you might go across the nation or around the globe, you can almost always find a Catholic Mass.

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Same Sunday in 2000
Same Sunday in 1999

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