Jon 3:1-5, 10
Ps 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
1 Cor 7:29-31
My mother was going out to get my father near the railroad station at about the time I was ready to leave, so I decided to have her drop me off there in time for the 10:15 AM train to the usual railroad terminal. From there I took two subway trains to the church that was on the wrong side of the New York Marathon route in 2004. Today, I saw only one runner, and I was able to dodge him as I jogged to beat the pedestrian signal, so I arrived at about 11:35 AM for the 11:45 AM Mass. The church has a 1927 cornerstone but is kind of simple for its time and location. It is a rectangular structure with a small green cupola. Inside, we find a small narthex with stairs leading to the raised nave. The ceiling is flat with ribs; the sides are lower than the center, and pillars line the side aisles. Pews to the left of the left row of pillars are very short sections away from the wall; pews to the right of the right row of pillars are the same width as those in the two center sections but abut the wall. A few pews at the front right appear to have been turned sideways for a choir, and although either an organ or piano was there, covered, the organist served from the choir loft today. The hat hooks were all removed, but obvious and unsightly blemishes remain on the pews, leaving me to wonder if things didn't look better with the hooks left in place. The sanctuary is in a large center arch with a traditional stained glass rendering of the Blessed Mother holding the infant Jesus. The high altar and tabernacle are no longer there; the tabernacle now is located in the smaller, domed arch to the right, where a side altar was, and an attempt to balance the tabernacle was made by placing the baptismal font in the left arch. A freestanding altar is at the center. Small arched stained-glass windows are found above the pillars and on the lower walls; they are mostly just designs, with small icons. In between the windows are brown, painted plaques depicting the Stations of the Cross. Racks in the pews hold copies of Gather Comprehensive, second edition, with the readings from the new Lectionary.
The usual pretty female cantor took her place at the small lectern at the right and announced the entrance hymn, "Praise to the Lord." I had to write her off immediately on account of a bit of metal on one finger on her left hand. A reader in brown Franciscan habit and the priest passed through the aisle in the entrance procession. The penitential rite consisted of the cantor singing the Kyrie to the Mass of Light setting without invocations. We also sang the Gloria to the Mass of Light setting.
The reader went to the wooden ambo, at the left, and gave the first reading. The cantor led us in singing the responsorial psalm for the day from the lectern. The reader gave the second reading, and then the cantor led us in the Alleluia and verse before the Gospel to the Mass of Light setting. The priest proclaimed the Gospel from the ambo.
The homily began from the ambo but the priest soon wandered into the nave. He gave us some background on Jonah, reminding us about how Jonah was cast overboard and swallowed by a whale, and that Jonah really didn't want to preach anything to the people in Nineveh that might have caused them to repent-- and when they did repent, Jonah was furious. The priest contrasted Jonah's approach to that of St. Paul, which was much more subdued, and explained that Corinth was not exactly an important city, just as Nazareth was not the place one might expect a future King to get His start, but God isn't always interested in the things that we normally consider important.
We recited the Apostles' Creed, which was printed on the small flyer. What is wrong with the Nicene Creed? Sigh. The reader led the recitation of the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful from the ambo. We sang "The Summons" as a collection was taken using long-handled wicker baskets. A family of four presented the gifts, including the proceeds of the collection. The chalices and ciborium were of metal. Two smaller chalices took their places on the altar at this time instead of a flagon. The priest said, "Please stand," before the Orate Fratres invitation, so the congregation stood before its time-- a clear case of incorrect instruction rather than incorrect reception of a correct or garbled instruction.
Haas handed off to Haugen and Mass of Creation was used for the rest of the Mass. We sang the Sanctus, and the priest offered the second Eucharistic Prayer. While we sang the Great Amen, the priest motioned for the congregation to stand, and many did do. Three extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion entered the sanctuary during the recitation of the Lord's Prayer; one retrieved a ciborium from the tabernacle. The sign of peace was quick, as only about a hundred people were at the Mass. The extraordinary ministers were given Communion during the fraction rite as we sang the Agnus Dei. They received after the priest.
The Communion hymn was "Deep Within;" the cantor essentially sang this alone as she did not announce it, but the flyer says, "Please sing refrain as you are processing to Communion." Stations were located in the usual locations for both species.
After Communion, the priest made some chatty announcements and ad-libbed a prayer after communion before imparting a simple blessing and departing alone via the center aisle as we sang, "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light." Most people remained to the end. An itinerant worshipper slipped out a side door to begin the walk to the subway.
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In Gary, West Virginia, stop for Mass at Our Lady of Victory Church on Church Street. Across the nation and all around the world, you can almost always find a Catholic Mass.
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