#1 – Saint John of the Cross – Euclid – Thursday January 5 6:30pm
1st Reading: 1 John 3:11-21
Gospel: John 1:43-51
Celebrant: Fr. Salvatore Ruggeri, Pastor
Estimated Number of Attendees: 10
So this mass started it all. I was sitting completely alone in this church when I got the idea to start this project. For some reason, I remembered my friend Mike telling me years ago that he has a life goal of visiting every single baseball stadium in America. He’s clearly a huge baseball fan and I remember thinking how his idea was so interesting to me. What a bucket list item! And then the next thing I know, an idea popped in my head: Why not visit every single parish in the Cleveland diocese as your goal? And so here we are!
Homily Reflection: As Fr. Ruggeri gave his homily, he repeated the following phrase: “Come and see.” What I heard was a repeated invitation to experience all that God has to offer us. Come and see the Word made Flesh. Come and see what God does to those who follow Him. Come and see what He has done and what He continues to do in all of us who open the door to His invitation.
During the 1st reading, I was struck by the line, “Do not be amazed if the world hates you.” This particular week I had read and shared an article which said that Christianity is the most persecuted faith in the world. And that a record amount of 90,000 people were killed because of their faith in 2016 alone. 90,000! I was sitting there thinking how fortunate I am to live in a country where I am free to worship, without fear of being killed. I may get strange looks, I may be called names, and I definitely think I know a few people who hate me because of my faith and strong pro-life convictions. But that’s all the more reason to carry on and persevere.
Holy Moments: As I went up to receive Eucharist, I was given a BIG piece of the BIG host. Not too surprising given the amount of people, but still special. Fr. also led us in singing opening and closing hymns. This isn’t unusual for a weekday mass but when there are only 10 people, I consider it gutsy. He had a beautiful singing voice which drowned out any tone deaf singers, which I was grateful for. He also chanted and had us sing the responses, which, for me, helps me to slow down and take in all that’s happening instead of rushing through.
Our Father Orans Posture: Mixed. This is completely for comic relief because what I find so amusing is that we all seem to have our typical posture during the Our Father. And ever since they suggested we take the Orans posture, I see NO one being consistent with this. I was told it should be whatever the community does. So as a community, we should be consistent. But I’m one of the stubborn hands-folded people. (I know, you hate me now). But I simply refuse to take the Orans posture. I just don’t feel it. So whenever it’s time to say the Our Father, I always take a quick look around to see what everyone else is doing and I have yet to attend a mass where everyone is the same. Who knows, maybe at the end of this project I’ll be an Orans-er.
#2 -Sts Robert and Williams – Euclid – Friday January 6 12:00pm
1st Reading: 1 John 5:5-13
Gospel: Mark 1:7-11
Celebrant: Fr. Scott Goodfellow
Assisted by: Transitional Deacon Eric Garris
Initial thoughts: Beautiful stained glass in the middle of the church. And do feel lucky that I get to see churches decorated with Christmas still before they take them all down. In the back of the church are various statues of Mary and St. Anne, St. Jude, and St. Therese among others. At the front of the church they have statues of St. Robert and St. William. I’m sure there were more but I didn’t have time to do a complete re-con. 🙂 They have a quaint Perpetual Adoration Chapel which I DID spend quite a bit of time in. What’s really different is that the monstrance is located behind glass. And so when someone leaves and there’s no one in the chapel to stay, you just draw little curtains over the glass to keep Him covered up.
As I looked around at the people for mass, I recognized 2 of the local leaders from the pro-life group 40 Days for Life in attendance. I had no idea this was their parish so it’s always kind of fun to see people you never expected to. I was also excited to hear Deacon Eric proclaim the Gospel. He’ll be ordained a priest in May this year. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know quite a few seminarians and priests. This isn’t an easy life these men sign up for and I think we all need to recognize that they all need our prayers because it’s very counter-cultural to discern these vocations. So pray for our priests, and especially those that are still discerning this vocation. We need more good priests!
Homily Reflection: Fr. Scott spoke about faith in his homily. Faith is about knowing and seeing. Faith allows us to know Him and see Him everyday in our lives and in each moment and each person we encounter. He asked us, “How do we make faith real? And he answered the question by responding that we live “incarnately.” Thats not a real word but, I believe he meant we live as the Incarnation, as the Word was made flesh. We make faith real as baptized Catholics by living the Incarnation, recognizing that Jesus comes in the flesh to live in us and with us.
Holy Moments: No singing or chanting but bonus points for chimes during the consecration. And great conversation after the mass with my 40 Days for Life pals as well as Fr. Scott as he begins his Theology of the Body class with his 8th graders.
2 parishes down, 183 to go!
Up next week: I’m all over the place! I take advantage of a snow-free Sunday and make the trek to St. Gabriel in Mentor; St. Joe’s in Strongsville sings the Antiphons in tune, and a children’s mass in St. Clare in Lyndhurst. Read all about it here.