Ps 138:1-2, 2-3, 6, 8
Today's trip began at 7:45 AM as I boarded a railroad train to a terminal with a connection to a subway train that took me to an area that was a popular resort destination in the earlier part of the previous century but now is not as popular as it once was. I exited the subway at about 9:20 AM and took a six- or seven-minute walk past a large apartment complex to the target church, which bears a 1900 cornerstone. It is somewhat small but still had plenty of room to hold the seventy-five or so of us who appeared for the 9:30 AM Mass. The inside is heavily-appointed with dark wood and many statues-- perhaps a few too many, the sort of place that could be a breeding ground for iconoclasts. The original altar and reredo remain, but a freestanding altar is now at the center of the sanctuary. The altar rail apparently has been removed. The center tabernacle is still used as the primary tabernacle and over that is a small bronze crucifix. The circular wooden ambo is at the right. Traditional stained-glass windows line the upper half of the side walls and the rear wall of the sanctuary and depict various Biblical scenes. A few large chandeliers hang over the center aisle at the height of the peaked roof. The empty choir loft houses a large pipe organ that was silent today. The wooden pews are arranged in two sections and feature tall end pieces. Copies of WLP's íCelebremos!/Let Us Celebrate! Spanish/English missalette are stacked at the ends of the pews. The celebrant's chair is to the left, between the left side altar and the main altar.
Mass started as the server, reader, deacon, and priest emerged from the sacristy at the left and the server rang a bell. The priest led the recitation of the entrance antiphon and then used the Rite of Sprinkling, walking up and down the center aisle without any music. We recited the Gloria and the priest offered the opening prayer.
The reader went to the ambo and gave the first reading, recited the responsorial psalm for the day, and gave the second reading. The priest led a sung Alleluia as the deacon went to the ambo to proclaim the Gospel.
The priest gave the homily from the ambo. He started with silly "how are you?" type remarks that I feared could degenerate into a dialogue homily, but angels must have stepped into the situation and prevented it. I tried to get some sense of a main point or theme, but basically he reiterated the points made in the readings, giving particular mention to the notion of keys symbolizing responsibility, as pastors were once symbolically given the keys to the church upon installation. He did mention that authority equals service, which I found to be a good thought. He gave a strong exhortation for morality at one point.
We recited the Creed, and the deacon led the recitation of the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful from the ambo. A collection was taken using long-handled wicker baskets as the priest led us in "Amazing Grace." Two young women presented the gifts. The chalice and ciborium were of metal. The congregation stood at more or less the correct point, after the priest gave the Orate Fratres invitation.
The priest offered the third Eucharistic Prayer. The server sounded bells at the consecration. The priest led us in the pseudo-Memorial Acclamation that begins, "Keep in mind that Jesus Christ has died for us..." We recited the Lord's Prayer without incident.
The priest and deacon distributed Holy Communion from two stations at the center aisle; the chalice was not offered. We did not sing during Communion. After Communion, the deacon returned the ciborium to the tabernacle and a second collection was taken in the same manner as the first. The priest made a few announcements and then offered the closing prayer and imparted a simple blessing before departing via the center aisle as he led us in "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name." As usual, I walked back to the subway station, clutching my bulletin as I went, to begin the trek home.
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In Copper Cliff, Ontario, Mass is offered at St. Stanislaus Church on Balsam Street. No matter where you are in the world, you can almost always find a Catholic Mass.
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