Acts 2:14, 22-33
Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
1 Pt 1:17-21
This morning was perfect for a railroad ride, but I had to be back home by 12:30 PM and I didn't want to take any chances of not making a Mass or getting home in time, so I drove to a nearby city with my map and printed schedule. I targeted a parish that showed 8-10-12 on my printed list, but it had fallen victim to the "9-11" syndrome. A second parish also fell into almost the same category (was supposed to be 8:30-10:30-12:30) but was not kind enough to have a sign out front, so I had to go inside to determine that information from a bulletin. I finally located a parish with a schedule that matched what was on my aging, printed list and found a parking spot not too far away at about 10:15 AM. The Mass was scheduled for 10:30 AM, so I passed a cornerstone reading "1922," entered a mostly empty church, and located a seat in a short pew alongside a massive marble pillar in the right transept.
The church is large enough to seat about 1000, but only 200-300 at most saw fit to attend this Mass. The two main sections of wooden pews are in the center, while the transepts are actually longer than wide and hold about fifteen rows apiece. The sanctuary is largely untouched, with its spired reredo and metal tabernacle on the original altar behind a new freestanding altar. A balcony-style ambo is at the left but was not used today. A tiny lectern is to the right of the ambo. The altar rail is intact but again was not used. The side altars remain-- Mary at the left and St. Joseph at the right. I don't recall seeing a crucifix. Traditional stained-glass windows line the side walls, and the Stations of the Cross are depicted by large, carved, plaster plaques between the windows. The choir loft is still used, and the organist/cantor served from that location. A hymn board is at the front right. Copies of OCP's Heritage Missal are stacked on the ends of the pews. The flag of the United States of America is at the left, while the Vatican flag is at the right.
Mass began with the entrance hymn, "The Strife Is O'er." Three servers, the reader, and the priest participated in the entrance procession through the center aisle. The priest led the recitation of the invocations of Form C of the penitential rite. We sang the Gloria to the Mass of Creation setting.
The reader went to the small lectern and gave the first reading. The organist led us in singing the refrain of the responsorial psalm for the day, but the reader recited the verses. The reader then gave the second reading. We sang the Alleluia and verse before the Gospel.
The priest went to the lectern and proclaimed the Gospel. His homily explained how the Scriptures and the Eucharist-- the two main parts of a Mass-- bring faith. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus had pretty much given up hope in Jesus, and were still depressed and discouraged, even though they heard that his body was missing from the tomb. It took a whole day of preaching plus the Eucharist to bring them around.
We recited the Creed, and the reader led the recitation of the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful from the lectern. A collection was taken using long-handled wicker baskets as the organist played "In the Breaking of the Bread" as an instrumental on his own. Two members of the congregation presented the gifts. The chalice and ciborium were of metal. At the Orate Fratres prayer, the congregation stood as soon as the priest began the invitation to pray.
The Mass of Creation setting was used for the remainder of the Mass. The priest offered the second Eucharistic Prayer. No one joined hands at the Lord's Prayer.
At Holy Communion, one extraordinary minister assisted; the chalice was not offered. The Communion hymn was the aforementioned "In the Breaking of the Bread."
After Communion, the priest gave some announcements, including mention of a special bilingual Mass the following evening for the late Pope John Paul II. A second collection was taken at this time "for high fuel costs." The priest offered the closing prayer, imparted a simple blessing, and departed via the center aisle to the hymn "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." The Mass ran about fifty-five minutes.
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In Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Mass is offered at Holy Family Church on Pope Ave. In Hilton Head Island, across the nation, and all around the world, you can almost always find a Catholic Mass.
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