Sunday, December 24

New blogger is finicky

I was wanting to blog the other day, but there's something about the Blogger Beta that doesn't work at work. Maybe it can't get past the firewalls. I'm not sure.

Being a member of the Cathedral Guadalupe parish, I found this NY Times article quite interesting:

Nuevo Catholics
- The Hispanicization of American Catholicism

My parish is I'm sure at least 95% Catholic. I'd be willing to guess that 60%+ of the parishioners at the Noon mass, the one I normally attend, is of Hispanic origin, and the Spanish-speaking masses are always amazingly overfilled. The dedication to the Virgin at the Cathedral is amazing. If you want to see dedication and beauty, come to church around December 13th, the feast day of the Virgin Guadalupe. The stage of the church, a very large area, is completely covered with roses and carnations and every kind of flower. The smell is amazing.

My church is affected by its Spanish-speaking members in other ways, too. I've read that the Cathedral has the second-highest weekly mass attendance in the country next to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. We have one English and one Spanish Vigil mass, and on Sunday, we have two English and four Spanish masses. At the 3p mass, they have a mariachi band that plays. Virtually all of the programs are for Spanish-speaking members. There are many social services that are available for Spanish-speaking members, such as tax assistance, tutoring, and special dancing and choral groups. There is an English speaking choir that sings at the Noon mass, and for the first time, an English study group is going to be forming in January, and I am very excited about that.

I had a commenter ask why I like the Cathedral as opposed to the other places I have tried going to church. Well, first of all, the Cathedral has the big benefit of being the closest Catholic church near me. Parking is a nightmare, but my husband drops me off and picks me up, which is not a huge inconvenience because it's so close to our loft. Secondly, the church is fairly moderate. It's not too liberal, like the guitar masses at Holy Family of Nazereth. I wish it rang bells when the sacrament was served, like St. Thomas Aquinas does.

Other than St. Jude, there haven't been any churches I've just flat out disliked. Each had their benefit. Holy Trinity has an excellent choir. St. Thomas Aquinas has a very orthodox view and lots of programs for English-speakers. It's just so far away - 15-20 minutes through busy city streets is a very annoying drive for me.

I absolutely loved going to the Tridentine Masses. But the problem is that it is a VERY tiny chapel, and I always felt like I was taking up space there that was best suited for someone more devoted to the traditional liturgy.

The homilies at the Cathedral are also pretty good - not too "God is Love" fluff, actual thought-out homilies. The Deacons and the priests both put a lot of preparation into their weekly thoughts. I miss Father Ramone's sermons. We have a Dominican priest at the Cathedral now, though, which I really like. I like the way that Dominicans preach, and it makes me happy to have one in my parish.

The Cathedral has many different advantages over St. Jude. First, it has a choir at the Noon mass, and music is a big part of how the Mass takes me out of the mundane world and brings me into a more spiritual realm. The priest at St. Jude tells jokes, which to me is an insult to the Liturgy of the Word. There's a difference between having a line in a homily that induces a snicker and putting in a "So two priests are walking on a golf field" joke. From what I understand, it's very popular for many of the parishioners, but I find it's not my taste.

One thing I like about the Cathedral over St. Jude is that at the Cathedral I can receive both the body and blood of Christ. St. Jude stopped serving both species when the Dominicans left.

I think what it boils down to is that after much thought and much prayer, I kept being pointed to the Cathedral over and over. I don't know why I'm supposed to be there yet, but I know that the Cathedral is where I am supposed to be. It's hard to describe - kind of a gut feeling about the whole thing. I know that's where I'm supposed to be, so I don't fight it.

I do know that if St. Jude ever gets a new priest, and I still live downtown, and if he's halfway decent, I will most probably switch to going to St. Jude. But I just find the new priest intolerable with his jokes.

Monday, December 11

St. Jude Chapel makes me sad

Have you ever seen a boyfriend/girlfriend/close friend that you used to be really tight with, but have been apart from for quite some time? There is still a sense of intimacy, of familiarity, but there's just something that really reminds you "you can't go home again."

I went to St. Jude chapel today. Being there makes me so deeply sad. There are parts of me that still love so much about that chapel. I have a very special bond with that chapel - it's the chapel where I solidified my love for the Catholic church. I spent many intimate hours with Christ there, worshiping him at the tabernacle as I prayed or meditated or worshiped during Mass. Going there always makes me feel comfortable and safe. For a bit.

And then the priest walks in. He walked in today at 12p, no vestments (the mass starts at 12:10p). The "lighting" of the second Advent candle was comprised of the priest sticking a velcro candle flame onto a banner hanging from the front of the altar. While they have managed to get a new cantor, no one sang. No one at all.

The priest has yet to stop his amazingly annoying habit of saying a joke before his homily. Here's how his homily started out: A man finds out that he has leukemia. He decides to fulfill his life's dream and become a painter in the short while he has left on this earth. He gives his paintings to a gallery to sell. He calls the gallery a little later in the week, and asks if the paintings sold. The gallery owner says, I have some good news and some bad news. The painter asks to hear the good news first. The gallery owner said that someone looked at the paintings and asked if they would be worth more when the painter died, I said yes, and he bought every one of your paintings. And the bad news, asked the painter? The gallery owner said, the man was your doctor. Now, it was supposed to be a joke, I'm sure, but out of the pews came this huge "Awwwww ...." It was hilarious!

At any rate, it breaks my heart. It used to taste like spiritual Steak to me, and now it tastes like cold Chicken McNuggets.

I have found that I do enjoy going to the Cathedral. I've been going there for months now. I've made a few friends. Now that I'm a member of the congregation, however, some of the flaws are more apparent. But I still go, as I feel like it's where I need to be spiritually.