Ps 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
1 Cor 2:1-5
I left at about 10:30 AM after consulting my maps and printed schedules and just started driving without a particular destination anyway. I finally landed in a hamlet that is home to the world headquarters of a major company. Despite having a detailed map and the address of the church, I stumbled about the area for a few minutes, making several miscues before finally locating the church at 11:55 AM. I drove into the parking lot and somehow parked the car even though the person responsible for painting lines in the lot had neglected to do his job, thus making mine somewhat more difficult.
The church bears a 1969 cornerstone and is truly round on the outside, although the wooden pews inside are straight, in about six sections around a circular sanctuary. The walls are of light wood paneling. A tiny balcony of sorts rings the top of the walls before the ceiling rises to a central point over the sanctuary. On that balcony are two large televison monitors that showed the entire Mass, although from where I sat the monitor visible to me was almost as hard to see as the sanctuary itself. The camera appears to be flush-mounted inside the wall of that balcony directly opposite the sanctuary. A large, traditional crucifix is on the rear wall of the sanctuary, with a square metal tabernacle to the right. A freestanding white altar is at the center, with the celebrant's chair underneath the crucifix. The servers sit in the front row of pews. A cry room is in the left corner. To the right are two flags; one was the Vatican flag and the other appeared to be the United Nations flag (something I never noticed anywhere else). The organ is to the left; a synthesizer is at the right. Racks in the pews hold copies of OCP"s Music Issue and WLP's large-type Seasonal Missalette.
Mass began as the cantor introduced the entrance hymn, "Make Us True Servants." Two servers, two readers, and an auxiliary bishop passed through the center aisle in the entrance procession. We recited the Confiteor and then sang the Gloria to a straight-through setting I am unable to identify.
A reader went to the ambo and gave the first reading. We sang the responsorial psalm for the day. A second reader gave the second reading. We sang the Alleluia as the bishop went to the ambo to proclaim the Gospel. Immediately after that, the pastor stole the ambo from the bishop and introduced a ten-minute video produced to promote the annual appeal, so we had no homily (just like a parish in another diocese about an hour and a half away-- the one I visited last week). The video carefully showed people from all walks of life in both urban and rural areas who would benefit from the appeal. After the video, the bishop added a few words of encouragement and endorsement.
We recited the Creed, and one of the readers led the recitation of the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful from the ambo. A series of announcements followed, including mention that the second collection was for "increased winter expenses." Two collections were taken in succession using long-handled wicker baskets. The offertory hymn was "I Want to Walk As a Child of the Light." The chalice and ciboriums were of metal. At the Orate Fratres prayer, only one person stood after the priest gave the invitation to pray; the rest remained seated until after the congregation's response was complete.
The Mass setting for the remainder of the Mass was Haugen's Mass of Creation. The priest offered the second Eucharistic Prayer. Bells were sounded at the consecration. The Memorial Acclamation and Great Amen were sung only once (most places that use Mass of Creation seem to repeat these acclamations a second time). We recited the Lord's Prayer without joining hands. The sign of peace was straightforward.
Two extraordinary ministers assisted the auxiliary bishop in the distribution of Holy Communion; the pastor apparently disappeared. The chalice was not offered. A reader asked us to recite the Communion Antiphon, which is highly unusual at Sunday Mass, especially since this was followed by the Communion hymn, "Whatsoever You Do."
The pastor reappeared in time to remind us about hospitality that was offered today after Mass. The bishop offered the closing prayer, imparted a pontifical blessing, and departed with the servers via the center aisle to the closing hymn, "They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love." Almost everyone remained to the end of the one verse. The Mass ran about fifty minutes.
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In Garden City, South Carolina, Mass is offered at St. Michael Church on Cypress Avenue. Almost anywhere you go, you're bound to find a Catholic Mass.
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