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Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Monday, February 19, 2007

Contrasting Parishes

First, an apology for the lull in blogging. Things have been hectic and crazy in general.

When we started our search for a new parish, we picked a few ones to try first based on geographic location and reputation. We then decided to try them out one week at a time.

The first parish we will not name, other than to say that it was geographically the closest of our primary candidates. We went there last weekend. We had heard many great things about it. They had a great mass schedule. We once attended a wedding there. It seemed perfect.

"Seemed," unfortunately, was the operative term. We liked the fact that the 4:00 Saturday mass was packed. We liked that priest. That was about all we liked.

First off, there is no organ. There is a keyboard attached to speakers. The sound system was completely without any low-end tones (which we found amusing, considering that when our friends were married there, the bass was turned up so high that we thought a Star Destroyer was landing behind the church). The choice of music was abysmal. As ES1 described it, it was entirely hippie-dippie folk-style music. How precisely are you supposed to glorify the awesomeness of the Almighty with music that makes The Mammas and the Pappas sound like Wagner?

This may have had something to do with why nobody was singing. We heard approximately a dozen or so people singing, out of the 200 or so present. Everyone joined in the prayers, but they were not so much praying as mumbling in unison. During the sign of peace, people seemed genuinely surprised that we were actually shaking their hands.

The bottom line was that everybody there was simply going through the motions. The entire mass felt cold and lifeless. People were only there because they knew that people expected them to be there. The priest, who we liked, felt like someone with a lot of energy, who was tired of trying to drag the dead weight of people who really don't care. We couldn't get out of there fast enough.

This weekend, we went to St. Benedict's. By coincidence, it was the first mass for their new pastor. It's a gorgeous church with a real organ. It felt warm and inviting the moment we entered.

There was a real cantor. Everyone was actually singing. The prayers were so enunciated, and so in unison, that we half expected them to end with "Resistance is Futile." People acted like they actually wanted to be there!

It reminded of us a St. Rose mass in the days of Fr. Tony, before he was sent to New Orleans. We come from a parish with legitimately faithful people who live in a close knit community. With St. Benedict's, we have found another parish like that. After another mass or two, we will be officially joining the parish, and I will be sending back my St. Rose Usher pin.


Blogger Kristen said...

Finding a church that fits is always a good thing s:)

Speaking of hippy-dippy, if you're not already familiar with it you might want to look into this book. Since I brought it up, I should go re-read my copy...

3:28 PM  

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