Update on St. Mary’s

I went, as I think I said I was going to, to Mass at the previously mentioned St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church (although it might be more appropriately called St. Mary’s Aircraft Maintenance building since that it what it most closely resembles, especially since the bell tower has been amputated – but I digress). I did this so that I would be able to speak of what goes on firsthand, without all this vague ‘sources say’ baloney.
We (checs and I) arrived about 10 minutes before Mass was scheduled to begin, and found an empty pew toward the rear of the (ahem) worship space. The church began filling up quickly, and there was a ever-increasing buzz of conversation as parishioners nattered and grommished to their neighbors in the pews near them. There was, properly, no processional/entrance hymn/gathering song (points added here)…..and except for a decidedly bored tone of voice from the presiding priest, things proceeded just inside the limits of the GIRM – until the Gospel.
the weirdest thing was that at the Responsorial Psalm, the cantor had to hike all the way from the cantor’s podium (on what would be the Epistle side of the sanctuary) to the ambo on the Gospel side, to lead the Psalm. Odd. Made for much dead air, so to speak.
At the Gospel, we the people were subjected to having to interject, at several points in the reading, a sung antiphon (the Gospel in question was the Woman at the Well, and the antiphon was “Give us living water…..”) to say it was weird doesn’t even begin to express it.
The altar servers did not sit in the sanctuary, but in the two front pews on either side of the center aisle, and when they were required to do things they had to enter the sanctuary, bow to the altar, do their thing, and then reverence the altar and go sit back down.
The homily was on the OT reading and I really felt as if I was being lectured, not instructed and/or inspired. It is so difficult to get anything coherent out of a homily when the person delivering it acts like they would rather be in Barbados (or staked to an anthill).
Eucharistic prayer OK….the sign of peace was rather too much like halftime or intermission (but then again I am a Byzantine and we don’t have any of that social nonsense while we’re supposed to be worshipping GOD)….I really only paid attention to the 5 or 6 people directly in front of me for Communion, but only a couple made any sign of reverence before receiving (checs excepted). Most people sat after receiving.
The strangest thing was after the final blessing, Father turned to the people and said (quite cheerfully) “Thank you all for coming so that we could celebrate the Eucharist.” There then commenced a mad scramble for the doors, most people being halfway out before the processional cross made it to the back of the (ahem) worship space.
My impression: I didn’t hear any heterodoxy on that particular Saturday evening, but it was decidedly uninspiring, and to hear a statement that made it sound as if the Mass being celebrated depended on the people’s presence was depressing. The general atmosphere was pretty blah even allowing for the fact that it is Lent. I think if I had to go there for any length of time I would probably be in danger of losing my faith.

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3 responses to “Update on St. Mary’s

  1. YOU’VE BEEN TAGGED!

    http://thecrescat.blogspot.com/2007/03/my-weirdness-is-not-news.html

    Good to ‘see’ you. I was wondering why the long absence in posting.

  2. Oh my goodness! That is horrible! I am so sorry you had to sit through that.

  3. Sidney Jude Moormeister

    What a terrible experience! There is a reason that some SSPXers refer to the NO as the “nervous ordo.” My own NO parish here in Utah is rife with abuses, including eucharistic ministers who look (and dress) like Britney Spears. You are so lucky to have a viable alternative for place of worship!