Thursday, February 22, 2007

A visitor to St. Alphonsus Church

A reader emailed early last month with some observations about my parish after having been away at college.
I'd have to say, I have been pleasantly surprised by some small but unmistakable steps in the right direction! Is this so or is it just me? It's just that over this break I have heard twice in the petitions, prayers for an end to abortion. I don't mean to make mountains out of mole hills but, that's something I had NEVER heard before at that church!

Maybe it was one of those things that used to be impossible.
Also, I saw a children's religious ed book, and the books seem to be way more on the ball then they were when I was a kid. Even containing material about Chesterton and the Gregorian Chant! On the down side, what is with the greeting everyone before the start of the Mass thing they are doing? Where did that idea come from?

I assume some committee figured this would create, or at least simulate, community. Maybe the next step will be name tags.
We already do that with the sign of peace 40 minutes later!

One might almost conclude they are oblivious to how they undermine the very liturgical reforms they claim to be be advancing.
Also I notice some gender-neutralizing going on during the creed and at other times but that isn't new.

Fr. Aiken always used to do that with the Creed, saying one thing into his wireless mike while the congregation said another. Shortly after Fr. Meinholz arrived, he switched to the unmanned version, as well. I never heard either explain why they did this, and no one in the congregation seems to have picked up their alternative wording. Probably another example of intransitive ministry; they did their way, and this had nothing to do with us.

Since I then had my first session with my tenth grade Christian Formation class coming, I asked for more on the texts.
I have seen the texts used by 4th graders and those used by 5th graders. I don't recall the title, but throughout the chapters there would be sections entitled something like "Our Catholic Literature/Art/etc" I know the 4th grade text talked about Gregorian chant.

Update: For liturgical comparison purposes, here's Nell Braxton Gibson reminiscing at the Episcopal Urban Caucus.
The Sunday after General Convention I [in 2003] returned to my home parish for Gay Pride Sunday and participated in a Disco Mass for which gays and lesbians turned out in force. The opening hymn was a beautiful jazz rendition of "Over the Rainbow." Musical offerings came from gay men in sequined tank tops and from the Director of Music who was ushered into the service singing a disco number complete with Go-Go girls. The queen of St. Mark's appeared in full drag to deliver the homily and the closing hymn was, Sister Sledge’s "We Are Family." As I stood singing among straight men and women, young parents with their children, gays and lesbians, teenagers in hip hop clothing, Asians, whites, African Americans and Spanish speaking people I realized I was part of the realm of God and I was glad to be there - in a place where God’s creation of a new thing was being lived out.

(via Get Religion)



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