Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ascension Sunday

So says today's St. Al's Bulletin [5 pp. pdf] (p. 1). The readings at today's Mass were those for the Ascension while those in the bulletin (p. 2) are those for the Seventh Sunday of Easter.

The homily started along the lines of The Rain of Christ Sermon Starter at Homilies By Email.
Ascension Sunday is very much about the reign of Christ. Notice how all the reading speak of it in terms of a king ascending a throne. King Jesus. Christ reigns!

As I thought of this and tried to understand it, it began to rain outside. I began to think of the rain that descends from heaven to help bring life...but it also returns or ascends to heaven through evaporation, so that it might return again with its blessings...Christ is the true Rain of Heaven... .

Not to be outdone in homiletic pun-ditry, our homilist went on to analogize the words of the two angels to Milwaukee Brewers announcer Bob Uecker's home run call "Get up! Get up! Get outta here!" But we shouldn't leave just yet, our homilist went on, not until after the "Ueckerist".

On page 4 of the bulletin is an announcement "Needed... A Few Good People!"
We still have openings for Parish Council and Parish Standing Committee membership for this coming year, beginning in August.

"Needed... A Few Warm Bodies!" would be more like it. (I'd rather be popping Imodium on the parish mission to Guatemala than be on Parish Council again.)

Also on page 4, is a farewell to the piano accompanist at (my) 11:00 a.m. Sunday Mass. She gave a moving farewell on an earlier Sunday. She had a young son who died suddenly and unexpectedly, and said she then found serving with our choir a great help in that difficult time. Asking that any pianists consider taking her place, she went on to ask rhetorically if Mass wouldn't be rather dull and uninspiring without the choir.

Under the circumstances, it's hard to raise questions, yet surely the Eucharist is more interesting than the accompanying music. And while the liturgical music is often praised in comments from the sanctuary, it has consistently been the biggest complaint of my Christian Formation students.

As a parting gift, she and her husband presented the parish with "Communion cups". These look like large wine glasses. It's not obvious how this complies with GIRM 328-329.

It's not as if parish practice on gifts from parishioners is "who pays the piper calls the tune". I might cite my experience with the new chapel. I've told before how the current church was built without a Crucifix, and, I was told, some parishioners raised the funds to buy one. You see it make a rare appearance in the fund drive video. As GIRM 308 indicates, a Crucifix is required, but when the fund drive exceeded its goal an image of the Risen Christ got added. Eventually it developed that most of the year we see not a Crucifix but some variation on Rainbow Jesus.

Around the time we were away on the parish Guatemala mission, the chairs for the priest celebrant and deacon were moved from their former place in the sanctuary, on the "far side" of the altar, to the front row of chairs of the leftmost section of seating. That is where the servers and lectors sit. If there was an explanation of this, I missed it; it appears contrary to GIRM 310.

In the past I've taken such issues to the parish, and the brush-offs, runarounds, doubletalk, blow-ups, and other evasions I get in response do provide bloggable material. The alternative is then taking an issue to the Archbishop, which I'm told has resulted in at least some changes. But the pace of these issues arising seems to be picking up to where they might pop up faster than the Archbishop could review them. I surmise the Liturgy Team has also been watching parish trends and is racing to perfect their alternative liturgy just as attendance drops to zero.

Update: Diogenes at Off the Record posts on the Wordsmiths of the Lectionary and their editing to produce the second reading for the Seventh Sunday of Easter.

Commenter Surewish adds
Good thing Ascension Thursday Sunday doesn't have an octave. Then we'd have Ascension Thursday Sunday Monday, and Ascension Thursday Sunday Tuesday, etc. ...



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