Saturday, May 14, 2011

Say the Black...

Oh my! I'm trying my best not to get a tension headache after Mass tonight, because the girls were both in fine form and by the end I was on the verge of tears!

And Mass itself was rather interesting. Here's what the conversation Paul and I had after Mass sounded like, to give you an idea of what happened (this is from memory so this is roughly how it went):

Paul: "So what exactly bothered you so much?"
Me: "You didn't see it?"
Paul: "I had my hands full. Mae was being pretty wild in the back."
Me: "There was the ad-libbing. And the redo of the agnus dei because we didn't do it the first time with enough gusto. And then there was the second homily after the consecration. "
Paul: "The second homily bothered me the most."
Me: "Really because it bothered me when he decided to ad lib that entire part after the consecration and it was so flowery... something like... 'Blessed are you Lord God of all creation and all of us who have the opportunity in wonder and splendor to stand here before you today in you amazing presence and gaze with awe on all that you have made...'"
Paul: "He said that?"
Me: "It wasn't that exactly but it was pretty out there. And it was pretty close. I was waiting for him to say "Blessed are you Lord God of all creation who created the unicorns and rainbows showering down around the altar with rainbows shooting out of their...tails..."
Paul: "Unicorns and rainbows. Sounds like you have a blog post."
Me: "I was trying not to think of that during the Mass."
Paul: "Doesn't sound like it worked out too well."
Me: "Apparently not. And then there was the second homily, after the consecration..."

In actuality it wasn't a homily. It was an impromptu lesson on the importance and beauty of the Agnus Dei, which the congregation apparently was not appreciating on an appropriate level. After the lesson we went back and repeated it again, so we could really appreciate it (and with the cantor this takes a while...). Sadie was ready to revolt.

And I was wrong in my conversation with Paul about exactly where the "extra flowery" part was. It was tacked onto the: "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper." So that instead it sounded like:

"This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and blessed are those who are fortunate enough to come before the glory and splendor of his altar and gaze at the wondrous beauty of the sacrifice that the Lamb of God has made for each and every one of us..." (this is just an example of the sort of change that occurred...).

...Which is when the rest of us stood there, not sure what to say in response. Because we hadn't heard anything we really recognized, until he led us in "Lord I am not worthy to receive you..." and we all jumped back in, wondering what was coming next.

What I was really frustrated about though, by the time we got to the car, were the less than friendly looks we got when, while standing at the back of the church, Mae said "Mama" during the announcements.

Mass used to go much more smoothly for us. But, after a few Masses of "looks" when I took a child that made a single peep out of our seats in the front row (during the Children's Mass!), I'm pretty much too terrified to sit up there again (because that was what made Mass go smoothly for us in the past). So things are rocky and I'm grumpy and probably less understanding than I otherwise would be about our very passionate ad libbing priest.

Thankfully I have Paul to remind me that he's older and just seems to be so passionately happy about the Mass that he has to share it.

Still... I can't but help but think... Someday, someday, someday... Someday we will be someplace where there is a priest who Says the Black and Does the Red. Someday... Soon?


  1. Hey, was he a visiting retired priest from NJ called Fr. Carmen? This is the kind of nightmare I've had to sit through twice in the past year. I actually called our parish office on Friday to make sure I didn't accidentally wind up at another one of his Masses. They need to have a retraining camp for priests who make a habit of "enhancing" the liturgy. Say the black, do the red and save the flowery ad libbed stuff for your personal prayer.

  2. Wow. Sorry you had to endure that!! Maybe once you move out of CA, I bet it will get better. The fact that people would actually be that rude over a child being, well, a child is insane. I feel extra fortunate that my priest actually makes it a point to tell the congregation not to be rude about children because as he says, every time you hear a child cry it means the mother chose life. We usually sit in the narthex just to be respectful, and the priest has invited us in saying he can preach over the loudest of children. So, rest assured not every church is rude like that!! Maybe here in the south it is more traditional and conservative. I have found where my in laws live in FL the priest does everything correctly, but gives generic short homilies. I am used to my priest who gives very wise and heart felt homilies. Anyhow, hang in there, try to ignore the judgemental people, apparantly they have issues of their own!!

  3. We had a substitute priest who was like that, especially at daily Masses. The 1st time I heard him, I worked so hard to suppress my giggles. The elderly nuns I was sitting with (4 women in their 80s and 90s) were better at not reacting (no surprise there!) but the one who was next to me gave me a sideways "knowing look" and nudged my elbow with her elbow.

  4. We have the occasional priest that likes to 'personalize' the prayers. Especially during the prayers of the people. It makes for some really loooong services.

    I get so tired of the dirty looks in church. It's so stupid. People complain that there are no young people in church and worry about the future of the church. But they do everything but chase mothers and children out of church. The only way we are going to get kids in church when they are older is introducing them to it as young children. Kids that spent all their time in Sunday school (daycare) aren't going to want to come sit in church when they turn 10. It's the ones raised IN church that will stay IN church.

    I hope you find a great church. I love the one we go to regularly. On days when Ella was little and would have really crazy days and I just wanted to crawl under the pew and never come out, it never failed, one of the older ladies would come over and tell me what a joy it was to have Ella in the congregation. That sure made me feel better.

  5. That is so sad. I'm so sorry you have to endure that. I will pray for that priest. I agree with you: "Say the black, do the red."

  6. Before Ave Maria moved to Florida, it was here in Ann Arbor, and many members went to my parish. There, I guarantee you, it will not be an ad lib mass, and the people and students will be most well aware of what it is and what it means.

    Being part of a mass like that, day in and day out, is a most wonderful thing. You will find it most soul-lifting.

  7. As for the dirty looks... I just smile back at them. You never know what they're thinking... One time I was sure that a family was so disgusted with us. But then one day my husband had the opportunity to talk to them. They are the most lovely family and when my husband humbly apologized for the distractions our children caused, the older gentleman said, "Hey, we've all been there, I had 8 kids and every one of them did what yours do." And he SMILED, something we'd never seen him do. When we get looks, I always like to pray for that person or family, you never know what is going on in their heads. And if it is because of your child who is distracting them, then so be it and just keep on coming. One day, you will be amazed to see your child sitting quietly and find it amusing when other children are acting out. :)


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