Week 363

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading I
Is 5:1-7
Responsorial Psalm
Ps 80:9, 12, 13-14, 15-16, 19-20
Reading II
Phil 4:6-9
Mt 21:33-43

I attempted to execute another trip similar to last week's visit but was unable to locate a suitable parking place by 10:00 AM and found myself wandering about for an hour and a quarter until I came upon a church with am 11:30 AM Mass. I parked the car behind the church and walked around the corner past Spanish-speaking people and into the old church, which Internet research indicates was constructed around 1900. One ascends one set of steps to enter the narthex and another set of steps to enter the nave. The pews are arranged in six sections, with three aisles and the side pews abutting the walls. A break splits the middle sections about halfway back. Large, tan marble pillars fall into the pews along the side aisles, dead-ending some pews in the center sections. The domed sanctuary is kind of bare, as the active tabernacle is now on the right side altar. A stylized, traditional crucifix hangs over the celebrant's chair at the rear, behind a freestanding altar. A large wooden ambo is at the left, and a small wooden cantor's lectern is at the right. Painted plaster plaques between traditional, stained glass windows depict the Stations of the Cross. The altar rail appears to have been shortened a bit but could still be used some day if it is ever recalled to service. A baptismal font is at the left, while a section has been carved from the right front corner for a choir. Tables near the narthex hold copies of WLP's íCelebremos!/Let Us Celebrate! Spanish/English missalette.

I arrived between 11:20 AM and 11:25 AM and waited for what seemed like an eternity for the Mass to begin, while people talked loudly. I had no watch, I was charging my phone at home, and no clock was visible, but I would be surprised if that Mass started before 11:40 AM. The entrance hymn was "All the Ends of the Earth," which was on a flyer that I neglected to obtain. Three servers, four extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (I think-- I saw only three functioning later, so I may have missed something), a reader, and the priest participated in the entrance procession, which passed through the left side aisle and then back up the center aisle. A folk group served from the choir location. The priest used the Rite of Sprinkling as we sang "Baptized in Water" (tune: "Morning Has Broken") and he passed through the center aisle. We sang the Gloria to the Heritage Mass setting.

The reader went to the ambo to give the first reading. The cantor led the responsorial psalm of the day from the lectern. The reader gave the second reading, and then the cantor and choir led the Alleluia and verse before the Gospel. The priest went to the ambo and proclaimed the Gospel. The theme of his homily was "non-violence." We were told that all forms of violence are un-Christian, including abortion, bombing abortion clinics, and child abuse, and maybe other things that I missed. We were also told that Jesus never commited a violent act.

We recited the Creed, and then the reader led the recitation of the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful. A collection was taken using long-handled metal baskets as we sang "One Bread, One Body." Members of the congregation presented the gifts. The chalices and ciborium were of metal. The congregation stood after it responded to the Orate Fratres invitation, except for one person.

We sang the Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, and Great Amen to the Heritage Mass setting. The priest offered the second Eucharistic Prayer. A server sounded bells at the consecration. We sang the Lord's Prayer to a folksy setting after the priest told us to raise our arms (but he didn't say to join them, and of the 80 to 90 people in the congregation, I didn't see anyone doing that.) The lay ministers entered the sanctuary before the Lord's Prayer, which is way early. During the sign of peace, we sang. "Peace is Flowing Like a River." We sang the Agnus Dei to another folksy setting; it repeated "Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world" several times and ended in "have mercy on us, grant us peace" just once.

Holy Communion, including the chalice, was distributed in four locations across the front; the folk group received first. We sang "Pan de Vida." After Communion, a second collection was taken for the parish pantry.

Then the parish council was brought forward to be formally installed and blessed; at least these people were loud and assertive in their answers to the questions the priest posed them, unlike a similar group from two weeks ago. About fifteen people stood across the front; this seemed like an unwieldy size for a parish council, but with such a small congregation, getting that many people interested is good, I suppose. They received a round of applause. The priest read a few announcements that were in the tiny bulletin and then offered the concluding prayer and imparted a simple blessing. The closing hymn was "They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love." I'm glad to know that we are known by our love and not our singing, as almost everyone left before the first verse was complete, right behind the priest as he passed through the center aisle. A lone, itinerant worshipper remained in his pew to assist the folk group in the completion of the second verse before heading home to renew the search for the last holy lady.

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In Hope, Arkansas, Mass is offered at Our Lady of Good Hope Church on South Walker Street. Across the nation and around the world, you can almost always find a Catholic Mass.

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Same Sunday in 2004
Same Sunday in 2003
Same Sunday in 2000
Same Sunday in 1999