Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Midnight Mass

So I attended midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at Our Lady of Czestochowa (in Turners Falls) without chickening out. It was pretty, and smelled nice, though they might have given a page number now and again so I could see where we were in the liturgy. I was sitting in the back with all the other folks who don't take communion. There were quite a few people there, though, and most of them did go up for communion... and not all of them were in the senior set. The homily was of an interesting nature. He started out with a very gentle critique of the Bishop's method for bringing people back in to the fold, and then began to talk about the reasons which one might want to either return to Catholicism, (or perhaps convert?). As a way of beginning, he talked about the big bang--undoubtedly an unusual topic for a Christmas sermon. I guess the point was that there is an unknown at the time of the big bang--the "nothing" from which something is created. It is like Catholics (and Jews) to accept science and incorporate it into religious meaning, so for this I am appreciative, and it is one of the many similarities I find between the two religions.

He also spoke (though less eloquently than Gerry, the Vicar of Dibley!) about the enduring power of the story of Jesus, of Christhood, and the spread of the gospel over the last 2000ish years. It's been said better, but anyway. It was a nice, inclusive service, and there was some Polish in there, naturally, but the congregation is far from homogenous. There are African-American, Hispanic and other European-American parishioners there. I managed to sing along when I could, especially for Kyrie, which I like.

Swiss Guard at the Vatican, 2007 (mew)


Kate said...

'It was pretty, and smelled nice.'

Far more gracious than some of the members of our church who acted as though the incense were poisonous gas.

I'm glad you went, and thank you for writing about it. I'm surprised they didn't have special programmes/pew sheets for Christmas Eve so that page numbers would be an issue (we have the same problem in the Episcopal Church - you need about 10 different books to follow what's going on).

I'd love (once I'm ordained) for you to come visit my church. Hearing a visitor's perspective - particularly such an observant, articulate one - is so interesting and helpful.

Of course, I'd love you just to come to Scotland for fun, too!

Miriam said...

Far more gracious than some of the members of our church who acted as though the incense were poisonous gas.
Ha! This is too funny.

There was a special missal, but my row didn't have any, and I didn't want to bother the people in front for one. There was also a regular missal and one in Polish, and some other things too.

I would love to visit your church! And also Scotland--I really liked it the first time around. Maybe I will finally get to Aberdeenshire this time. I'd also like to visit the Orkney Islands.

Kate said...

Ok - come to Scotland and we'll go to Orkney. I've been here for nearly 8 years and still haven't gone.

Come in the summer and we can go camping!