How interesting, too, that today's reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians would include this:
The bread that we break,Interesting jumping off point for our interesting review of daily Masses this week.
is it not a participation in the Body of Christ?
Because the loaf of bread is one,
we, though many, are one Body,
for we all partake of the one loaf.
We were at the parish closest in distance to us - we find ourselves here for many daily Masses- because it's a shorter drive/walk than our home parish. It is familiar and welcoming and it's always a good place to find rest and insight. Sometimes, though it is tempting to just go through the motions here because it's so familiar (as anywhere would be after a decade). So, sadly, I can't remember that much of the Mass (forgive me, we were about to embark on a week-long journey) but I do remember chuckling a bit at the first reading:
Your boasting is not appropriate.
Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough?
We were able, after a day of classes, to make it from home to Dublin, Ohio, where we took our rest and rose early enough to make the 4-hour trip to Terre Haute, Indiana, where we attended daily Mass at noon.
That's why it was a little confusing when I looked at the non-permanent fixtures, like the banners announcing the prayer meeting for the environment and, later, the priest who trod up the aisle in his tennis shoes. Those giveaways would show, more than the building, what type of Mass this was to be. There were many arms raised during the Our Father and, perhaps, a few eyebrows raised when we genuflected before receiving the Eucharist on the tongue. During the sign of peace, people wandered from pew to pew and Father came out of the sanctuary to shake hands with all the parishioners. Yeah, that last part left me a bit uneasy but, you know, Christ was here, present in the Eucharist, and He provided the graces necessary to continue our journey.
We stayed at an Airbnb in Benton Park, MO on Tuesday night. It just so happened that the St. Francis de Sales Oratory was exactly 3 minutes from our house. I usually scout out places for Mass before we actually show up so I knew this was a Latin Mass community and I knew this:
All good, the kids were prepped about the altar rail and we were ready to go. I wasn't quite ready for what we found.According to liturgical tradition, and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, Holy Communion is received kneeling and on the tongue. All visitors who are not of the Catholic faith are welcome to join us in prayer, but are requested not to receive Holy Communion. Because the reception of Holy Communion is the sign of Divine and Ecclesial unity, only practicing Catholics who are free of mortal sin, and in full communion with the Catholic Church should present themselves for Holy Communion.
|The interior of the church is worn but they are working to restore it.|
It's funny because the running joke is that my dh is from the '50s, mainly because of his beliefs about religion, marriage and family. Of course, this kind of extends to me because, well, I'm here too. We're the "weird ones" in a lot of instances because I stay home, we homeschool, have more than 3 kids, etc. Walking into this Mass was like walking back in time and not a little bit like walking into someone else's country club.
I can identify with the "traditional" part. I do think that much of what's wrong with NO is the lack of reverence for the Mass and the Eucharist. I don't think having a veil on your head (to the obsessive point that a mom with her adorable cherub who kept pulling it off spent much of the time struggling to pull it back on) in itself proves that you are reverent. I know people will disagree with me on that, and that's fine. I've never been called to veil (although I may one day) but I have been called to other things (like genuflecting before receiving Communion in NO parishes) and I have also never looked askance at people who do not, in fact, genuflect. It was fairly clear that our unveiled heads were very, very out of place.
That less-than-warm-more-like-frigid greeting (Christ calls everyone, right?) and the fact that we were 10 pews back and could her not word one from the priest (and without the laity response, truthfully, I was lost most of the time) it was less than satisfying. The best part was Communion when you knelt at the rail and had to put your hands beneath the white cloth while receiving so any crumbs of Christ's body could be collected after. That is beautiful.
I'll just sum up with this...I've seen a Latin Mass on tv but never actually attended in person. I'm guessing (hoping) that this was an isolated incident and that daily Mass goers are used to seeing who they recognize and were just put off a bit by newcomers (truthfully, we didn't veil but otherwise, were dressed as nicely as most people there...I know enough not to show up in shorts!). I will reserve an overall reaction until the time comes that I can go to a couple of Latin Masses and see whether this is typical or aberrant. In the meantime, Christ was here, present in the Eucharist, and He provided the graces necessary to continue our journey.
The kids were not that jazzed after Latin Mass to sign up for yet another in a foreign tongue. Still, we were in Peoria and it's not really the Catholic capital of the world (although it has produced at least one notably holy person). So, at 8:00 AM we checked out of the hotel and headed to the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception. After checking most of the doors, we stumbled on an unlocked side door and proceeded up the hallway into the relic chapel (I knew we were going to a chapel - I research these things - so we weren't tempted to give up when the front doors were locked). We peeked in the door (soooo tiny and beautiful this chapel was! about 10 pews total!) and found a very young Monsignor (he's about 18 months my junior!) sitting in prayer.
Father was so kind in response to our disturbance of his Mass preparation and, after a quick overview of who we were and why we were there, granted us the great treat of opening up the doors to the cathedral. Normally, this would be a fantastic blessing but here it was doubly so. You see, this cathedral is the place where Venerable Fulton J. Sheen became an altar server as a young boy and was then ordained a Catholic priest! The pictures won't do it justice and I can't possibly recount all the amazing pieces of the structure (like the prophets on the ceiling!) so here is a self-tour booklet if you'd like to spend more time here, which I strongly recommend.
|the prophet JOEL ;0) (I know you can't see it...crummy phone)|
It was clear that a. we were ducking in right before the beginning of Mass and 2. we were clearly the only Anglos in the crowd and yet there were smiles from everyone we encountered. Mass was lovely. I love following along in a foreign tongue - it reinforces just how much the Mass is changeless, regardless of language. The sign of peace was as joyful and warm as I would expect (without being liturgically awkward). As had been true in the diverse blend of churches and Masses this week, Christ was here, present in the Eucharist, and He provided the graces necessary to continue our journey.
Oh, immediately following Mass was Exposition and Adoration when, all the people who couldn't even say "peace be with you" in English, were chanting in Latin! I love, love our faith! It is full of surprises!
Parts of Thursday had proved to be extremely trying so it was lovely when we were reunited with dh and could join together for Mass as a family on Friday morning. We were staying in my all-time favorite BnB (because, well, it is in the same building as a huge church!!!) and so it was a bit easier (although not that easy) to wake everyone up and head downstairs for 6:30 AM Mass.
This was no ordinary day so getting up was done with joyful yawning. Today was the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross, the 30th Anniversary of the founding of the wonderful Monastery of the Holy Cross (3 years in Minnesota and 27 at this location in Chicago), the wedding anniversary of dear friends, and the 4th anniversary of the baptism of our sweet Godson! Great day to start with Mass!
When we were checking in on Thursday night, I told Fr. Edward that we would be there for Mass on Friday and that the kids would be thrilled because it would be in English for a change. "Well," he said, "the chanting will be in Latin." Indeed it was and indeed it was beautiful to watch these devout men, few in number but abounding in faith, begin this special day by glorifying God. I think God was pleased as well because, right around the Consecration, an amazing "Godray" came through the window and cut down the center of the church. It lasted well beyond Mass and had split into two distinct parts by the time I could take a photo before we left the building. Even without the sunshine, Christ was here, present in the Eucharist, and He provided the graces necessary to continue our journey.
one, holy, catholic, and apostolic...I think this week was by far the most diverse in terms of Masses we've ever attended. Still, even when the Mass looks or sounds a little or a lot different, Christ is there, in His sacrificial love for us, whenever we choose to seek Him. We, though many, all partake of the one loaf. How good is our God? Pretty beyond-words good. We are so blessed.