Be A Saint and Sleep in on Saturdays – Daily Mass Project Detroit

Be a Saint

Having the day off because of a holy day of obligation definitely has its perks. Besides getting a ton of stuff done during the week when places are open, I found a 12pm mass at nearby St. Colette. All Saints Day is such a great feast day – It’s a reminder of what we are all called to be. And while it’s not easy, we can find little moments of opportunity to be “saint-like” with those we interact with on a daily basis. Enjoy!


Saint Colette – Livonia – Solemnity of all Saints – 12pm

Celebrant: Fr. Mike Loyson

Initial Thoughts: Got there early enough to snap the photos (above) as well as take a look around. They had photos of their dearly departed parishioners lining the window sills in anticipation of All Souls Day (the following day). There was also a large white banner with the names of all the parishioners who had passed away since last November.

I also loved the side chapels (altars? or side chapels? Someone tell me exactly what these are called because I feel like I should know by now). Mass started with the commentator asking everyone to stand and introduce themselves. I’m ridiculously used to this by now and I love it, although if you had asked me that a few years ago I probably wold have rolled my eyes. I was pretty anti-social when it came to mass. Thank God I changed my attitude about that.

The only “downside” is that the mass didn’t conclude with the prayer to St. Michael. So I ended up praying it to myself afterwards.

Homily Reflection: Echoing some of the thoughts I shared above, Fr.Mike mentioned that we need to “storm the heavens.” We are saints in the making. But how do we get to heaven? By putting on the attitude of Christ. Taking all of the beatitudes (todays Gospel reading) such as humility, meekness, peacemaker, etc. and living as Christ calls us to. He ended by saying, “We’ll meet up with the Saints in heaven, and what a party that will be!”

Holy Moments: The Adopt-a-Seminarian table caught my eye. They had a basket of prayers cards with all the seminarians and their names/years on them to take. I may have taken more than 10. But I couldn’t help myself! These boys need our prayers! (I mentioned this quite a bit in my last blog but always worth repeating.)

Final Thoughts: So how many versions of the Gloria are there exactly!? I have to laugh at myself as I try desperately to  figure out the tone and tempo of any given parishes’ version of this.  I feel like as much as I try to get it all in, I end up just singing in a monotone for fear I sing “Have mercy on us” in a high pitch or I come in too soon, throwing myself all off. It’s comical. But can we just have one version maybe? I thought Catholic meant “universal.” 😉


Thursday November 2nd – Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day) – St. Joseph Oratory – 7pm – Requiem High Mass

It’s really difficult for me to describe a Latin mass. As I attempted to blog about it before (here) words aren’t sufficient. It’s not really the kind of thing to Blog about, to be honest. It’s an experience. I want to make it a point to attend these once a month.


Sleep in On Saturdays

So guess what? I found out I have an option for Saturday daily masses if I happen to oversleep (totally did this past weekend). A 12:30pm Mass in Detroit at Old St. Mary’s. I cannot even begin to tell you how thrilled I was to find this out. No more waking up at 7:30am on a Saturday to roll out of bed and get to an 8am mass. I mean, Saturdays were MADE for sleep…didn’t God say that in Genesis somewhere?

Saturday – November 4th – Feast of St. Charles Borromeo – Old St Mary’s – Greektown – 12:30pm

 

Initial Reaction: Wow.

I really have no other words to describe what you feel or think when you first walk in. And of course, the pictures don’t do it justice. I could have spent the entire day there just sitting and looking and praying and staring and basking in the glow. 🙂

Homily Reflection: I think I know more about St. Charles than ever thought possible. It was great! Very thorough job by the presider. I couldn’t help but think of all my friends and family who belong to St. Charles at home in Cleveland. So I said a special prayer for them during communion. Fr. mentioned that St. Charles was “totally giving of himself, helping people, exhorting people.” His whole entire mind and heart was dedicated to doing the will of Jesus. He died while tending to people in Milan during an outbreak of a plague. As for the Gospel, St. Charles was also like the good shepherd that Jesus says He is. Like a good shepherd, when the sheep get out of line or wander off, the shepherd is there to get them back in line. Those among us who have no faith in the Lord, non-religious people or non-Christians, these are the people who need to hear the voice of the good shepherd. And St. Charles was a great example of that. We need to do the same if we want to be saints.

Holy Moments: I got here early enough to pray Morning and Daytime prayer and to do some Lectio Divina with the Gospel. Leaving at least an hour beforehand when it’s quiet and the only sounds are the people making their way into the creaky pews is soooo good for the soul. It’s great to prepare for mass like this. I highly recommend trying to get to mass as early as you can to really enjoy these moments of silence. (I’m sure those with small children will dismiss this as ridiculous advice, to which I would just say – 20 minutes of quiet time before you get ready to LEAVE for mass is also a great way to start the day. We all need moments of silence. Get it any way you can!)


So the bummer of the week is that the Church Tour of Old St. Mary’s, Sweetest Heart of Mary and Sacred Heart Major Seminary was canceled. But, the good news is that I’ll be attending the Beatification of Blessed Solanus Casey at Ford Field on November 18th. Along with thousands of other Catholics in Detroit. That’s probably going to out-blog anything I could have written about the Church tour. In the meantime, as my buddy Patrick Coffin likes to say, “Be a Saint! What else is there?”

Time Well Spent on Priesthood Sunday

Aerial of St Albert The Great-11

I just spent a very short weekend at home in CLE to celebrate my Dad’s 75th birthday. This morning, I found myself at our neighborhood parish of St. Albert the Great for 9:30am mass which was not in my “plan” at all. I actually thought I’d attend 5pm mass here in Plymouth but something, or someone, nudged me to go to Albert’s this morning.

I do tend to feel better when I go to a morning mass on Sundays. I don’t know what it is about evening masses that make me feel all “off.” I think it’s like how I felt growing up: If I was up late on a Sunday night, it felt weird because I knew I had to be up early for school the next day. And no one wants to think about school on a Sunday night. That’s the worst. feeling. ever. (Did I get all my homework done? What if there’s a Math test tomorrow? Please let there be a snow day!)

So as I walked in, I actually took a bulletin and sat down, which I don’t normally do. I find reading the bulletin distracting for me but something compelled me to reach for one.

As I knelt in the pew, I actually started to pray a slightly different prayer than I normally do. I felt compelled to write it down afterwards:

“Help me to remember that everyone is here is loved by You. Help me remember they are created in your image and likeness and that they are created to love and to be loved. I need to remember that and I pray that they know it too.”

The reason I am sharing is because this is very closely related to the Gospel this Sunday, which was from Matthew when Jesus answers the Pharisees’ question about which commandment is the greatest: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” And then Jesus says the 2nd is like this one: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

So that was my first sign that perhaps I had actually been “quiet” enough this weekend to allow the Holy Spirit to help me remember the message of this Sunday’s readings before I even had time to open the missal, hence the prayer.

I decided to open the bulletin to read it, which again, something I rarely do, when I saw the note from the pastor that a seminarian friend of mine named Joe was invited to be the guest speaker before mass. He was going to talk because this was Priesthood Sunday and he was going to share his story of his vocation.

He spoke before mass started (Excellent idea, by the way, most people are attentive before mass begins than after it’s over, in my opinion). He gave such a wonderful testimonial of his journey to the seminary. It was also very timely for me as Joe emphasized to everyone there, not just young men, but for everyone to discern their vocation. So this isn’t just for religious or priests, it’s also for marriage.

“We need more vocations in our Church,” he said. And he’s so right! We don’t just need more priests and religious sisters but we also need more marriages. More joy-filled marriages! And I would add, more vocations from women to consecrated virginity but that’s very rare that Joe would even mention it. But it just struck me as being so timely that I was there to hear a talk on vocations, as I have been discerning consecrated virginity for a couple years now.

Joe asked for prayers as he is halfway through the seminary along with 79 other men  in Cleveland. 80 seminarians is huge! And I must say I’m pretty proud of the Cleveland Diocese for being in the top 3 or 5 (not sure exactly?) of number of men in the seminary. Now that I’m in Detroit, I feel like I need to pray even harder for these young men here at Sacred Heart. And we need to pray overall for an increase in vocations. The priests in my own life have been instrumental in my spiritual journey. So please thank your priest/pastor next time you see them.  Thank a religious sister too, while you’re at it. They need our prayers but they also need to be thanked. They sacrifice a lot and I don’t think many of us truly give them the acknowledgement they deserve. And of course, thank God for them most of all.


Speaking of great priests, Fr. Joe Kim celebrated this mass and had a really great homily. He’s a sweetheart of a priest. I was blessed to attend his first ever mass (a daily mass) at St. Albert’s when he started a year (or has it been 2?) ago. He’s from Korea so he has a very noticeable accent but it really doesn’t deter him from delivering a heartfelt and sincere message.

He asked us to think about how much do we love God and how much do we love our neighbor?

He said when we love something, like our favorite sports team, we usually have a lot of gear/apparel like hats and jackets and t-shirts with their logo on it. But how much do we love God that we are willing to accessorize for Him to show others that we are Christian? Maybe we wear a crucifix or a cross, or maybe we have a rosary or a statue of Mary in our yard. But is that enough?

What about time? Mass on Sunday is 1 hour. But if we love our football team we’re probably watching all day on Sunday, and then again on Monday and Thursday night.

What else do we love? Fr. mentioned how much he loves ice cream. The man confessed to having it 4 times a day! I don’t know if he was exaggerating to prove a point but it was hilarious to think about this priest indulging in ice cream for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a dessert at night time. He also said he loves sleep. And working out. So the point was all this other stuff that we love adds up.

And soon we realize, “Where and how much time in the day am I spending loving God and my neighbor?”

He offered just a small piece of advice: Spend small amounts of time in prayer frequently instead of trying to pray for a long time at one point during the day. For example, saying a prayer in the morning when you wake up, before meals, and before you go to sleep at night. It’s easy and simple and most of all, attainable. Then (and he didn’t say this but I would suggest) that you can add in more prayer times as you get into a routine. Even praying in the car during your commute is preferable.

He also suggested spending time in the adoration chapel. He said, and I strongly agree, that the St. Albert’s adoration chapel is probably the most beautiful one in the diocese. I spent many many hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament there and it’s just so needed because it’s peaceful and quiet and, you know, Jesus is there.

 

Today, in our noisy, loud world, we are in desperate need of silence. It’s perpetual, which I REALLY miss here in Detroit. There’s not one perpetual (24-7/365) chapel in this diocese. 😦 However, there IS one in Ann Arbor, which is the Lansing Diocese and it’s right where I work so I’m very lucky. (And if there is a Perpetual Adoration chapel in Detroit, someone let me know!)

I wanted to share a photo of our seminarians in Cleveland and here in Detroit but could only find the one of my CLE boys.

22496046_1728254587481432_3093663035181723372_o

The best thing I ever heard from someone was to take these posters and bring them with you to a chapel to pray individually for these young men. I think it helps to have names and faces as you say a Hail Mary or an Our Father for them. And then, God-willing, one day you may meet them in person and say, “Ahh! Joe! I prayed for you when you were just a seminarian. Congratulations on being ordained a Priest!”


Just so people don’t think I’m giving my hometown of Cleveland all the praise, here’s a very recent article from Sacred Heart Major Seminary on how they are having one of their best years for enrollment. So Thanks be to God for them too! 🙂

 

 

 

Daily Mass Project: Long Overdue

I feel like I’m turning in a homework assignment two months late just to receive a passing grade.  I have zero excuses for not blogging about these masses earlier. Although moving to a different city and getting a new job are two pretty good reasons.


St. Priscilla – Livonia, MI- August 10

IMG-8077

Celebrant: Fr. Theo D’Cunha, Pastor

Feast Day: St. Lawrence

Homily Reflection: Fr. Theo told an incredible story of St. Lawrence’s influence in his native country of India (Fr’s native country, not St. Lawrence, duh). Apparently, Fr. grew up near St. Lawrence shrine and everyone would go to this church on his feast day and it’s been said that numerous favors have been granted and prayers answered by the faithful. I took this from Wikipedia: “St. Lawrence of Attur is known for his astonishing power of intercession with God. Over the past years the patronage of St. Lawrence over Attur has been remarkable. Not only the residents of Karkala and the pilgrims flocking there in great numbers, but also devotees who invoke St. Lawrence of Attur without visiting the shrine have experienced his powerful intercession. The number of pilgrims to the place throughout the year and specially those during the feast days in the month of January is an evident proof that St. Lawrence does not disappoint those who come to him in faith and devotion.” 

Holy Moment: Just one. I won’t say it was really a holy moment as much as it was kind of an awkward moment and one I want to ask any Extradordinary Ministers to clarify for me: The EM holding the Blood said to me, “This is the Precious Blood of Jesus.” To which I WANTED to reply, “And this is not the time for improv.” What happened to just the universal standard, “The blood of Christ.” I get thrown off if it’s something else. My only “complaint.”


St. Hugo of the Hills – Bloomfield Hills, MI – August 26

1

Celebrant: Fr. George

Initial Thoughts: I’m the youngest one by far. But that’s also because I’m 20 minutes early and there are a large number of senior citizens filing in. I see the tabernacle is in some corner with stained glass around it. Kind of like an atrium. It’s a little confusing but, hey, at least I can see it. The pipes of the organ are STUNNING. Who looks at the pipe organ pipes and describes them as stunning? I wish I would have gotten a closer picture of them but as you can see from the pics below, they are not your standard silver pipes. I’d love to know more about the design on them if anyone knows.

Before mass begins, the commentator recognized the name of everyone involved with the liturgy – the names of the lectors, the servers, the cantor and the EM’s.

Homily Reflection: All the homilies are online, so I was able to listen to it again and compare it with my notes. I really liked how Fr. George mentions the humanness of Peter. He’s the only one who answers correctly, “Who do you say that I am?” yet he denies knowing Jesus 3 times. A few lines that stuck out: “Peter wants a Messiah that will conquer the world without getting his hands dirty. His expectations are not in sync with Jesus. Have we ever been there in our failings?”  Jesus doesn’t reject Peter and He doesn’t reject us.

Holy Moments: My favorite part was the blessing/renewal of vows for Delores and Raymond (Pictured below) of 50 years of marriage. I was tearing up and I have no idea who these people were. It was just so special to witness it.

I wore my “Let God Plan Parenthood” t-shirt to this mass. One woman comes up to me and tells me “You are so bold for wearing that, You go girl!” I’m bold for wearing a pro-life shirt to a Catholic Church? Nope, I’m actually a coward for wearing it at Church knowing the chances of encountering someone who disagrees with it won’t confront me. But I was gracious for the compliment.

 

Afterwards, I went around and took pictures of the place and literally walked outside and wondered “What’s that other church-looking building?” Duh, it’s the Chapel. I had this entire chapel all to myself for an hour.


St. Isabel – Sanibel Island, Florida – September 2nd

saintisabel

You can’t let vacation stop you from receiving Jesus, right? There’s one (literally) Catholic Church on Sanibel Island and this is it.

 

Celebrant: Fr. Joseph Gates

Initial Thoughts: The music minister HAD to be a classically trained pianist. He was playing beautifully as people filed in. Magnificent!

A baptismal font in the shape of a shell is something you don’t see everyday but I think it’s so Florida. The outside with the palm trees and the water and the statue of our lady was definitely different. Would be interesting to see if other Florida churches are designed in the same way or if this is just unique to this area.

Homily Reflection: Probably one of the best homilies I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. Fr. Joseph gave what he called almost like a Good Friday homily. He mentioned St. Peter, he mentioned Jeremiah and St. Paul and Adam and Eve and Mary and John and he even threw Our Lady of Czestochowa in there in reference to this incredible image on the cover of their bulletin: sanibelbulletin I was dizzy with information. This priest was fantastic and I wish I could tell you just one line from his homily that struck me but honestly you just had to be there. 🙂


Old St. Pat’s – Ann Arbor, MI September 5th 7pm

Some historical background: Old St. Patrick is the oldest English-speaking Catholic church in the state of Michigan. Although the parish may have actually begun around 1829, the earliest records refer to its first building. In the spring of 1831 the parishioners erected a log church on a small plot of land where the rectory currently stands. In its more than 175 years of existence, the parish has had 31 pastors, at least two names, and has come under the jurisdiction of three different dioceses: Cincinnati, Detroit, and Lansing. 

Celebrant: Fr. Tom Wasilewski

Initial Thoughts: Working in Ann Arbor for a couple months now, I am still amazed at the amount of dirt roads that are in Michigan and especially AA. There’s literally no reason to wash your car, it’s just going to get dirty the next time you drive. What does that have to do with this post? Nothing, I just wanted to mention it. Oh! But actually this church is located off a dirt road. So yes, I did have a point after all.

To make things just a tad awkward, the church was in the middle of some renovations so when you enter, you actually enter by going through a door which takes you right to the sanctuary. So for those who are late, the entire congregation sees you. 🙂 I was way early, thank goodness.

Homily Reflection: The lord will come like a thief in the night. We all have a day of a judgment and we don’t know when that is. This is a warning not to be complacent. We may not have all the time in the world to convert, to improve ourselves. He ended with a quote from St. Teresa of Calcutta that reiterated how we don’t (and shouldn’t try to) belong to the world. “I belong to Jesus. He must have the right to use me without consulting me.”

Holy Moments: They actually use their altar rail and so I received on the tongue at the rail. As I’ve mentioned previously, I love to receive this way. It’s incredibly reverent and humbling. Something I need to be reminded of often.


Holy Family – Novi – Monday October 9th-9am

Celebrant: Fr. Bob LaCroix, Pastor

Initial Thoughts: I heard they have renovated the main worship space and wanted to get pictures of it but because it was a daily mass, I couldn’t quite get the best pics (we were in the chapel). But you can see renovation pics on their website.

I love little chapel masses. Very quaint. And I was super excited to get to a daily mass because I had the morning off to get to an appointment by 10am less than 10 minutes away. Daily masses never take longe than 30 minutes.  Or so I thought. 🙂

We sang an entrance hymn which was handed out to all of us beforehand: IMG-8516

We then sang the Responsorial Psalm which I wasn’t expecting but the cantor/lector had a great voice. However, and this is kind of funny and not meant to be a criticism because this has happened a few times to me as well. But when she sang the Responsorial Psalm for us, she actually left out a couple words (I think O, Lord or something). So we responded back an incorrect reply. But then, after singing the first verses, those of us who were probably following along in the Magnificat or a missal, proceeded to respond back the CORRECT response, completely confusing those who were trying to follow what she initially sang. Then, she must have noticed her error and sang back the correct response but those who were NOT following along were still singing her initial response without the O, Lord. So it’s safe to say, all 4 responses were totally different, ha! It’s all good though, God was being praised, I’m sure He didn’t mind.

Homily Reflection: The first reading was about Jonah and the whale and spending 3 days in the whales belly. When Jesus refers to Jonah, He’s making 3 points that can be applied to our lives:

1. Don’t run from God.

2. You can’t even if you try!

3. It’s never too late to call on the Lord’s mercy.

Not-So-Holy-Moments: As much as I loved all the singing, I had to leave after communion, which I don’t think I’ve done in years. I feel like the bad Catholic if I ever do. But I couldn’t be late for my appointment. The entire mass took a good 50 minutes, and we should never be in a rush to receive Eucharist but unfortunately, I found myself a little distracted because I could sense it was running late.

There was another distraction and this one is actually becoming quite common and probably something that should be addressed by…someone. Talking during mass. But no, not talking to your neighbor, or your kids. No, I mean talking out loud during the Eucharistic Prayer. Speaking the actual words that the Priest (and ONLY the Priest) is supposed to say.

The woman next to me, God Bless her, was whispering loud enough for me to hear, most, if not all, of the Eucharistic prayer.
This is something only the priest says. He has his part, we have our part. But apparently that was not what this woman learned and I, being the easily distracted creature I am, could not focus.

A peek into my mind at the time: “Oh no no no no. NO PLEASE STOP PLEASE STOP PLEASE STOP WHISPERING THE PRAYER. Okay maybe she was just whispering the preface. I’m sure she won’t whisper the prayer, I mean how can she possibly know which one he’s going to use, and oh yeah she’s saying it all, every single word. But not the prayer of consecration, Please lord tell her not to whisper the consecration and OH DEAR LORD SHE JUST SAID DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME…I’m going to lose it. I’m going to lose it and I’m trying to be a good Christian here, I’m really trying, I need to be charitable in my thoughts and actions but GOD SHE’S DISTRACTING ME! I should say something to her. Right? If I was doing something wrong I’d want someone to tell me. But when? How? Should I say something at the sign of peace? How would that go?

Peace be with you and please stop whispering loudly you’re very distracting and I’m losing my mind.

Peace be with you and your tongue, can you maybe take it down a notch?

May the peace of Christ be with you and can we chat after mass?”

Needless to say, because I had to leave early, I didn’t get a chance to say anything. And honestly, I am not the type to do so. I am gutless when it comes to correcting people, especially total strangers. I simply prayed that someone will eventually inform her about the mass, about the role of the congregation and the priest, simply so she can understand and appreciate our parts more fully.

And then I chastised myself for being so distracted during the most important part of the mass. I should be able to tune everyone out. If it had been a crying baby next to me would I have been that distracted? I should be able to focus solely on my own unworthiness at what I’m about to receive and forget the issues my pew neighbor is having at the moment, right? Sigh…


In two weeks I’ll be going on a Church Tour through the Archdiocese of Detroit to see Sweetest Heart of Mary, Sacred Heat Major Seminary, St. Joseph Oratory, and Old St. Mary’s in Greektown. The tour ends with a Vigil Mass with Archbishop Vigneron at Sweetest Heart of Mary.  I’m SUPER excited about this and cannot wait to blog and share pictures of this most blessed event.

 

 

 

Daily Mass Project – Goodbye CLE, Hello DET

I haven’t even been in Michigan a month and it’s already been quite the whirlwind. I’ve attended mass everyday since I’ve been here, which is such a gift. It’s also *easy* to attend everyday since I work for a company that has daily mass available 3 times a day in our chapel.  I’m still wishing I could have finished my “project” in Cleveland before moving but physically it was impossible. Altogether I think the final tally was around 65 parishes visited in CLE alone. I’ve already picked up here in Detroit where I left off in Cleveland, and will continue to try and promote daily mass as something to be shared and attended as often as possible to the people here in DET.  Our bishop, Allen Vigneron, recently wrote a pastoral letter called Unleash the Gospel. Upon reading it, I felt further “affirmed” in my calling to move to his great city. I hope other dioceses follow in this Archbishop’s footsteps and start to create “joyful missionary disciples.”

Saint Christopher – Rocky River – Thursday July 27th

I spent my final Daily Mass Project in Cleveland by attending St. Chris in Rocky River where my buddy, the newly ordained, Fr. Jim Cosgrove, has been assigned. He just happened to be presiding at the 11am mass on the day I was moving to Plymouth Michigan so he asked me if I would like a traveler’s blessing during the intercessions. How can anyone pass up a blessing?

So besides a beautiful homily reflecting about answering God’s call, he actually starting talking about me! I’ve never been the subject of someone’s homily. 🙂 After a few words about me moving to “enemy territory” in Ann Arbor, he had such sweet words to say about my passion for Theology of the Body and how I’ve literally answered God’s call to move here. If I wasn’t turning three shades of red as people turned around to look at me, I probably would have started tearing up. He brought me forward to the front of the church during the intercessions and had me face the congregation as close to 100 of these total strangers raised their hand to pray over me. I have NEVER felt such peace from being prayed over before.

Afterwards I had several people there come up to me to ask me where exactly I was moving to, (Plymouth) who will I be working for (Thomas More Law Center) and which parish would I be joining (Our Lady of Good Counsel). As I started to tell them about the DMP and how I was trying to get pictures of their beautiful church, one by one they said none of them actually belonged to St. Christopher! It was pretty funny – they were only there because it’s the only parish in the vicinity with an 11am daily mass. So its very well attended.

Clearly that’s Fr. Jim in the photo above. I just adore him and he’s SUCH a gifted homilist (is that a real word?) and priest. It’s so obvious that he’s going to thrive there. Love you Fr. Jim! Thank you again for the prayer – it worked perfectly! 🙂

Sidenote: I see on their website that they have a video of the art and architecture of St. Christopher. Check it out! Turns out another buddy of mine, Joshua, edited the video. Nice work Josh!


Ste. Anne de Detroit – 2nd Oldest Church in America!

The Young Catholic Professionals of Detroit kicked off their first event in the parking lot of this church in Detroit. After some mingling and drinks, they opened the church up to us all for a mini-tour. I thought it was definitely Gods timing that this was the first church I visited after I moved up here. I had no idea it was the 2nd oldest in our country.

There’s a lot more to say about this place, obviously, but in the meantime, visit their website to learn all about it!


St. Joseph Oratory – Detroit – High Mass – Friday August 4th 7pm

Well now THIS was an experience! I attended my  first High Mass at this newly established parish.

If I could sum up the entire experience in one word it would definitely be reverent. Even though the entire mass is in Latin and you may not understand exactly what is being said, you are still witnessing something extra-ordinary. When there was chanting going on, I would look around at the statues or the stained glass or the side altar. There was so much beauty all around. It didn’t even matte that it was in a different language. If anything, that made it all the more lovely.

We didn’t find out until afterwards, but the priest (actually the Rector and I think you refer to them as Canons) who celebrated this mass was just ordained and this was his very first mass after being installed as Pastor of St. Joseph Oratory.

As my friend Kristen described it, “It was like a dance! A beautiful dance.”  You would watch him and the servers (Pretty sure they are called Deacons) assist him and he went from one side of the sanctuary to the other, as he chanted one part and spoke another part. All the while, you couldn’t help but get this sense that something other-worldly was taking place.

This being my first mass like this I assumed I would have to receive on the tongue at the communion rail. Thankfully a friend of mine whispered to me to *not say Amen after he presented me with the Body of Christ. You simply open your mouth to receive without saying anything. (Good to know!)

I went back to the pew after communion and just reflected on what had just happened to me. Technically, this was no different than any other time I received the Eucharist, right? And yet, it WAS different. I felt this incredible sense of awe and reverence and wonder at the entire thing. I attribute this to several parts of the experience but two in particular: 1. Being on my knees and looking up. That’s a humbling posture to take and it’s what we are SUPPOSED to do, right? Especially to show reverence for God. 2. The bells rang during the consecration. The CHURCH bells, not just the chimes that the servers typically ring. It sounds like no big deal typing it out now, but that’s the most important part of the mass. I almost started crying. I have started crying or tearing up at some masses I’ve attended and it’s usually at the part where I realize I am truly unworthy to receive Jesus. And whether it was the bells or the chanting or the statues or the overall beauty of this place, I left there thinking about how many times I’ve “casually” received communion, without even really thinking about the GIFT that I have just received. I’m sure this has happened plenty of times to me. I don’t know if attending Latin Mass repeatedly will “fix” it, but I do know I have since prayed that I never become complacent in my adoration for Christ.


Next up: The DMP continues in DET.  Our Lady of Victory in Northville, St. Priscilla’s in Livonia and a few homily reflections from our priests at my new home parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel.

Daily Mass Project – Northfield, Macedonia, Akron and Hinkley

Saint Barnabas – Northfield – Thursday July 20th

 

Celebrant: Fr. Ralph Wiatrowski, Pastor

Initial Thoughts: Got there early enough to walk the grounds outside the church to take in all the awesome statues and statute of Our Lady of Fatima as well as the outdoor Stations of the Cross. I even managed to get a little lost, trying to find my way IN to the church. I think I tried every door before I realized if I just went in the FRONT door, that leads to, duh, the church. A very blonde moment for me.

The worship space is all carpet with no kneelers but really large pews. It reminded me of my grade school parish of St. Anthony’s in that sense – very wide. I probably should have taken a seat closer to the sanctuary. I felt like I was in the “cheap” seats at a stadium sitting towards the back.

Homily Reflection: Fr. briefly mentioned St. Apollinaris, who was martyred in the 1st century and who we celebrated (commemorated?) this day. Apparently he was a bishop ordained by St. Peter himself. He had the gift of healing, which caused a fair amount of jealousy among other priests and leaders at the time. But the people listened to him and started to believe in Jesus because of him.

The 1st reading was about the burning bush. Fr. mentioned God’s response of “I AM WHO AM” is almost un-translatable in to English. It means God is omnipresent, all powerful. He’s the one who cares about us and hopefully, we care about Him in the same way.

The Gospel was the popular “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” from Matthew. When we listen to God, this His burden DOES become easy, because it’s what we are supposed to do. Our part is to do our best by hearing His word and putting it into practice and to cooperate with God in order to do His will.

Holy Moments: The walk outside beforehand was really a great way to silence my mind beforehand. I highly suggest, even if there is nowhere to walk outside your church before mass begins, to at least drive without the radio on and try to quiet your mind before entering the worship space. It really helps to focus on what is being proclaimed as well as to enter in to exactly what it is you’re about to receive. (Spoiler alert: Jesus). 🙂


Saint Sebastian – Akron – Saturday July 22nd

 

Celebrant: Fr. Anthony Simone

Initial Thoughts: WOW. I would never have guessed from the outside what this church looks like on the inside. Spectacular! The stained glass, the side altars and statues, the mosaic on the wall of the sanctuary. It was actually a gloomy rainy day when I walked in so to walk in from the downpour to this, was really beautiful.

Homily Reflection: Fr. Anthony is a buddy of mine and I was determined to travel to Akron to hear him celebrate mass. He mentioned the band U2 and the song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” as a way to convey the message of the Gospel. Mary Magdalene was desperately waiting and searching for Jesus at the tomb and when she saw Him she wanted to stay with Him and cling to Him. But He says to stop clinging, because He has yet to ascend. And that’s how it is with us; we are on a journey SEEKING and searching for Jesus. Faith is a journey, NOT a goal.

The Song of Songs from the 1st reading expresses this desire –

On my bed I sought him  whom my heart loves – I sought him but did not find him…I will seek Him whom my heart loves.

If we seek Him at all, He will find us to remind us that He loves us first and to go deeper. Enjoy this moment but don’t stay. Enjoy this moment but keep following me. There’s always MORE!

Holy Moments: The entrance hymn was one of my favorites, “You Are Mine.” And the Responsorial Psalm was my favorite, #63. And hearing my good friend up there preaching = priceless.


Fox 8 Studios – TV Mass

Celebrant: Rev. Robert Marva, OFM Cap.,Pastor of St. Agnes Our Lady of Fatima

Okay so, this really doesn’t count as a DMP, but it’s a legit mass! My nephew was selected to be a server for the TV masses that will air on August 27th and September 3rd here in Cleveland. It was definitely unique to hear a mass and receive communion in a tv studio. IMG_7866

IMG_7443.JPG


Our Lady of Guadalupe – Macedonia – Monday July 24th

Celebrant: Rev. Kevin C. Shemuga; assisted by Deacon Dave Govern

Initial Thoughts: I think there’s always something special about a Marian parish. Maybe it’s because I now belong to one in my new home of Michigan, but upon walking up to the doors, I was just taken in by the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and even the glass doors! I myself knew nothing about this apparition until just 2 years ago when I took a Theology of the Body class. I had zero knowledge about the tilma or the story behind it. I felt a little silly for not knowing anything about it but I suppose, if you aren’t exposed to it, how can you know?

Homily Reflection: The Gospel was about the Pharisees asking Jesus for a sign. Jesus says “The Son of man will be in the heart of the earth…” Father reflected that Jesus entered into all of our hearts by embracing the cross. He entered deeply into the sin of our lives. We too must choose to embrace our cross. Then Fr. said something that I didn’t quite write down verbatim but it was in reference to St. Teresa of Calcutta and what she did very well:  “The most splendid skill of the human being is to enter into the compassion and hearts of others.” No one stands above the rest. We’re all supposed to be here for each other. That’s our call, to listen and to be merciful.

Holy Moments: The music. I am always surprised when a daily mass has music accompaniment. I didn’t write down the opening and closing hymns but I just remember the organist/music minister was on point. During the consecration, the “chimes” were manufactured by the organ but I didn’t even mind. It’s really nice just to hear the chimes during that part of the mass. Even if it’s “fake.”


Our Lady of Grace – Church and Shrine- Hinkley (Photos Only)

I pass by this Church and Shrine about 2 times a week and never thought to stop by until recently. I wasn’t able to attend a mass but did manage to walk the Stations of the Cross and pray at the Shrine.

 


Next post: A traveler’s blessing during mass from my friend Fr. Jim at St. Christopher’s in Rocky River for my final DMP in Cleveland; my first High Mass experience at St. Joseph Oratory (Detroit), and a tour of the 2nd oldest church in America of St. Anne’s (Detroit).

Daily Mass Project – How Great Thou Art!

 St. Bartholomew – Middleburgh Heights – Sunday – July 9th

Initial Thoughts: Allow me to share my most favorite part of this church, even before walking in:  IMG_7656

After walking in to the worship space, I immediately thought of Sacred Heart of Jesus in Euclid. They are both very similar in the layout and design. The Stations of the Cross are beautiful. At first I thought there was only one color in each but after looking around, you can see all of them have multitudes of color.

Opening Hymn: Canticle of the Sun

Celebrant: Fr. Leonard Bacik, Pastor

Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30; includes the scripture:

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Homily Reflection: During these lazy days of summer, it’s easy to think we don’t have a care in the world. But trouble doesn’t take a vacation and burdens in December are just as heavy as they are in July. Our prayer list can be just as long. Jesus knows all about carrying heavy loads too heavy to lift and anguish that’s too hard to explain. What are the 3 burdens we are carrying now? Which ones would we like to lay down? Father suggested we write down our top 3 burdens, fold that piece of aper and place it in a bible or put it behind a crucifix in our homes and ask Jesus to carry it for us.

Offertory Hymn: Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.

Closing Hymn: Quite possibly the most stirring and beautiful rendition of How Great Thou Art I’ve ever heard. All 4 verses sung by all of us and the choir and it sounded just magnificent.

Holy Moments: During the intercessions, I heard prayers for “those who can’t afford vacations with their families,” and “those who are cynical, depressed, and lost,” and for the soul of a young man of 22 years of age who had died recently from their parish whose name was Marcus.  The hymns chosen to be sung as well as the homily and the beauty of this church really made it one of the more memorable ones for me.


St. Stanislaus – Cleveland – Tuesday July 12th 8:30am

 

Initial Thoughts: The pictures don’t do this Shrine justice. I’m so ashamed to admit that it took me this long to finally get to St. Stans. It seemed like almost everyone I told about the DMP would always ask me “Have you been to St. Stanislaus yet?” I knew it was going to be a sight to behold but I really had no idea what I was in for when I walked in.

Celebrant: Fr. Eric Orzech, Pastor

The homily was wonderful and short and sweet and there were only 6 of us in attendance. But what was most interesting was this woman who said her name was “Bets.” (short for Betsy of course). She was awesome. She told my friend Jim and myself all about the church, as much as she could for the short time we were there.

I found out Pope John Paul II visited here in 1969, when he was just Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. He presented the church with a relic of St. Stanislaus, pictured here:IMG_7690

Then, in 2014, Pope John Paul II’s former personal secretary visited and gifted St. Stans with this first class relic of JP2. IMG_7688

It was suggested that instead of rushing around trying to snap pictures, that I give myself a tour when they are open during the weekend using this guide.

Between all the altars and the stained glass and the statues, there’s so much to see; I would want to take my time. So perhaps someday, a self-guided tour is in my future. In the meantime, here’s my favorite part – An Icon of St. John Paul II and St Stanislaus written in Krakow Poland in 2007:IMG_7672


Mary Queen of Peace – Cleveland – Tuesday July 18th – 6pm – Lower Level Chapel

Mary Queen of Peace is the merged parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel and Corpus Christi in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland.

Initial Thoughts: It’s unfortunate I couldn’t make it to a Sunday mass to see the large cathedral-like main worship space because from what I have heard, it’s beautiful. Here’s the outside view:

IMG_7785IMG_7782

But it’s okay because I attended this mass with my second cousin and my Great-Aunt and Uncle. This was ultimately my goal with the DMP – To meet up with people at their own parishes to have mass together. Or to try and find someone to meet up with me. But it’s really difficult to get schedules to match, but this time, it worked out perfect!

Celebrant: Fr. Richard Bona (In Residence)

Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24

Homily Reflection: Sometimes we think we haven’t been blessed enough by God. We tend to focus on what we lack instead of realizing what we have. We think this gospel doesn’t apply to us. We are the ones who have received many gifts and respond to God’s inviting Word to live a holy life and to love him with all our hearts. Because, despite what we think of our gifts or lacktherof, our God is a generous God.

Holy Moments: Simply being with my family that I haven’t had a chance to see lately was the only holy moment I needed. 🙂 What was really cool was seeing this outside on the fence by the school/parking lot: IMG_7800IMG_7798

So you might be thinking, “What’s so interesting about that? What is that?”

Turns out, some years ago (can’t recall exactly when) the church put up these flowers with the names of the families who went there and what year they graduated from the grade school.  Here is the one representing my cousins: IMG_7799

Simple but a great way to “beautify” a fence!!!


St. Brendan – North Olmsted – Wednesday July 19th – 8:30am – Chapel

Celebrant: Fr. Terry Grachanin

Initial Thoughts: I didn’t get any pictures of the chapel but that’s because I was let in to the church/main worship space itself because, hey, “I know a guy.” 🙂  Fr. Terry is a friend from my nephews parish of St Charles and we also attended the Way of Beauty course in Pennsylvania in May. St. Brendan’s is his new assignment and I wanted to be sure to get to a mass he celebrated.  Fr. Terry and the seminarian (Kevin) gave me a brief lesson on all things St. Brendan (Irish, known as “The Navigator” and…some other stuff I can’t remember, ha! Sorry Father! I should have taken notes!) But the BEST tidbit of info? I now know what TINY SAINTS are! How adorable are these things???saint-faustina-tiny-saint-charm-2054612

I’m ordering several for myself. Or if someone is looking for birthday gift for me (September 9th) I’ll take one St. Michael and one St. Mary Magdalene.

1st Reading: Exodus 3:1-6, 9-12

Gospel: Matthew 11:25-27

Homily Reflection: So in the first reading, Moses sees the burning bush and God speaks to him, telling him that he will be the one to rescue the people of Israel out of Egypt. But Moses doesn’t think he is qualified. Fr. Terry mentioned 4 things happen during these “Divine Calls” from God:

  1. You receive the call from God
  2. The response is usually one of lowliness and unworthiness, or incompetence
  3. God gives the person assurance that they can do this
  4. The specific task is performed

The greatest example we have is of course the Annunciation. Mary’s yes changed it all for us. And even though we are no Virgin Mary, we’re no Moses or prophet either, we cannot refuse to answer when God calls us. We may be fearful or have doubts of our abilities, or lack of trust in God that He has a plan for our lives.

Holy Moments: I will interject my own thoughts here and say I recently had a very long struggle with trusting in God’s plan for my own life. And lo and behold, He showed me that I just had to trust and surrender to Him, and it will all work out. And it has!


The next blog post will sort of serve as a “conclusion” to the Cleveland Daily Mass Project, as I have accepted a position in Ann Arbor Michigan. I MAY have to continue the DMP but with 300 parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit, this could be really difficult. 🙂 Pray for me to continue on with this initiative that I have loved so much.