Holidays, Mass, and Memories

The holidays are here and that means it’s time for me to write about my most favorite subject ever – My mama! ūüôā

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So holidays for my Mom and my family were simply the best. My Mom could be described as “Festive to the Extreme.” To give you an idea, she decorated our house for Fourth of July and Memorial Day and Labor Day with little flags everywhere. I mean, lets face it, most people will celebrate by enjoying the day off work but my Mom would get out her flags and put them in the potted plants outside and in the yard, she’d get on her Flag sweatshirt and grab her Flag Tote bag and would just LIVE for stuff like that.

Christmas was always a bit over the top, and Mom just made it really special. Her last Christmas was no exception. In fact, we considered it a miracle (and looking back, I think Mom just WILLED herself to get enough of her strength back) to be released from the hospital in time to celebrate Christmas.

One of my last memories of that final Christmas was walking down the stairs to the kitchen and stopping on the landing halfway, to just take in the smell of baked cookies and her famous sweet bread baking in the oven and thinking, “This is the last time this house will smell like this. It won’t be the same anymore. I’ll never hear her fiddling in the kitchen, I’ll never hear her playing her favorite Christmas CD’s, I’ll never see her smiling to present her bread.” And I don’t remember crying or anything, but I remember just inhaling that smell before I walked all the way downstairs into the kitchen. And just saying to myself,

“Damn. That was it. This won’t ever¬†be this¬†again.”

And you know what? That first Christmas was really rough. I won’t say it was awful but it was really hard. We tried to decorate the house like she would have but I had zero desire to even put up the tree or anything.

One day in the fall of the year that she passed, I think around Thanksgiving, I just decided to pick up her digital camera and see what was on it.

And the first picture I see is of the interior of our house…at Christmas…the year before. And then another. And another. And another. She took about 20 photos of the entire house with the Christmas decorations because she knew we wouldn’t know how to decorate quite like her. It was basically a Tutorial of How To Do Christmas Like Mom.

I pretty much lost it and called my sister to tell her about Mom’s picture-by-picture guide and she came over and we began to unpack the boxes and started to decorate the house.

And we found a note in one of them. I can’t recall what it said, but something like “Take care of each other.” Mom wrote it apparently when she was feeling well, in remission. We thought “How neat! Mom left us notes!”

We kinda forgot about it until Christmas time and started to unpack those decorations and found..you guessed it – more notes! (I wrote about this whole thing in greater detail in a blog post here). <—Get the Kleenex ready if you start to read that one.

My point with today’s post was to give some sort of solidarity to those who are about to experience their “first” holiday post-loss of a loved one. The first holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, Mothers Day/Fathers Day, etc are not really…enjoyable.

I mean, let’s just be real¬† – they suck.

I hate that word, but it’s just so true. You’re always thinking about THEIR last holiday and how they looked, what they said, what they wore, what they made, where you went with them. And it’s just not the same. Nothing is ever the same.

And people will always try their hardest to make you feel better by saying, “Their memory lives on forever.”

Gag me.

That’s straight out of a Hallmark Channel Movie! So lame. Yeah yeah, their memory lives on. In our minds. Yes.

But that’s not good enough – we want our loved ones here in the flesh. I want to be able to hug my Mom right now, ya know? I can’t hug a memory. (I had the BEST dream about her the other day where I DID hug her and it was so great!)

I want to smell that bread again (IT’S THAT GOOD okay? Trust me, everyone RAVED about my Mom’s sweet bread. Thank God my sister bakes it now and it’s just as good although she’ll read this and say “No, it’s not as good as Mom’s. No one made it like Mom.”)

I want to hear her play her favorite Christmas music and hear her wrapping gifts and complaining that she had to scour the internet looking for that one obscure rare gift my brother always asked for every year, and couldn’t find (but she always found it! Sometimes at the last minute, but she did.)

I want to see her, in her recliner, reading her little devotional books, ask her how she’s feeling, and hear her voice and talk to her.

Last week we celebrated All Saints Day and All Souls Day. All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation but All Souls Day is not. I feel like they both should be obligatory.¬† All Saints Day mass was exactly what I needed. The incense, the chanting, the lighting…it was incredible. All Souls Day had the same feel and although it’s a solemn mass and lots of tears are shed, the homily filled me with hope.

I LOVE going to the mass and feeling my Mom there with me.

After all, mass itself is heaven on earth. It’s where we encounter Jesus and it’s where we pray to the Saints and to Mary and it’s where I feel closest to my Mom and all of my relatives and friends who have passed on. They are where I want to be someday (hopefully not soon) but I know it’s where I’ll see her again and hear her laugh and see her smile and give her the biggest hug ever!

And when I’m on my knees in prayer after the Sanctus (the Holy Holy Holy…) I really try to envision all of the saints right there and my Mom too, hovered around the altar, kneeling with us before God on His throne.

I know it can be a chore and really tough to picture this when you’re at mass where there’s crying babies, fidgeting kids, people’s cell phones going off (come on people, it’s been 10 years can we please learn how to turn them off!?) or an off-key singer in the choir or just distracted by your random thoughts, but if you shut your eyes and just listen to the priest, you CAN do this.

Even if it’s just 10 seconds of being truly present at mass, it’s a game-changer. It may be the most peaceful moment you’ll have that day. And if you keep experiencing that peace, I would be willing to bet you’ll want to keep coming back to get those peaceful experiences again.

My prayers are with all of my friends and family members who are experiencing their “first” holidays without your favorite person in your life there with you this year. But you’ll see them again.¬†And it won’t be from a memory.

It’ll be real.¬†

Can’t wait to see you again, Mom! Save a slice of that bread for me will ya? ūüėČ

Random Acts of Worship – Daily Mass Project

 

Church of the Resurrection  РSolon РWednesday April 19th Р8:30am

Ever walk into a church and just STARE? That’s what you do when you walk into Resurrection. First of all, it’s circular, which could possibly drive you nuts if you’re not used to it. “Where do I look? Where do I sit so I can see everyone? Will my back be to the ambo? This is awkward!” But once you get past that, you realize it’s SO gorgeous and there’s so much to look at. In fact, there’s so much to look at that I’m refraining from blogging about this one until I go to an actual¬†mass. This was just a communion service (and a very good one) but it is WAY too beautiful to NOT attend a Sunday service. I plan on going back next month. In the meantime, check out their website for stunning photos and a virtual tour.


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St. Matthias – Broadview Heights – Sunday – April 23rd – 9am – 2nd Sunday of Easter Divine Mercy Sunday

Gospel: JN 20:19-31

Celebrant: Fr. Ray Sutter

Initial Reaction:¬†I feel like I may get chastised for this but I have just a small criticism: Sometimes I feel like reverence goes out the window when the church is set up like a hall or if it’s just a smaller church or whatnot. It just seemed like I walked in to a bingo hall at first. The music minister/organist was announcing the songs and why he chose them and what to expect and people were still chatting. And pretty loudly. I thought that was a little disrespectful, but perhaps they are just used to that and it’s not a big deal to them. Clearly, this is a close-knit community where everyone knows each other.¬†But I guess I’m a little “old-school” and I would prefer if people would chat in the gathering space and silence themselves once they actually walk into the worship space.

Homily Reflection:¬†The homily was given by Deacon Tom Litwinowicz; He said he felt he HAD to give the homily today of all days because the Gospel was about his namesake. Personally, I love the doubting Thomas gospel because it seems like the most realistic reaction. If it was today, I’m sure there would be people who would say, “Unless their video of this Jesus walking around, I won’t believe.” The Deacon mentioned how he’s analytical and likes to dig deep to ask questions to find out if something is true or not. He looks for the proof until he finds it. He talked about how Thomas didn’t quite “get it.” Thomas needed physical proof, he wouldn’t take the apostles’ word for it. He needed to SEE Jesus in the flesh. Now, after Jesus appears to him and has him touch his wounds, Thomas finally believes and grasps the concept beyond the physical and into the DIVINE. And what about us? Do we accept Jesus without seeing?

Holy Moments: The priest said that in lieu of reciting the Creed, he was going to do what he did on Easter and have us renew our baptismal promises. So he recited the questions having us answer in the affirmative. I liked that!

After the proclamation of the Gospel, no one sat down right away. We waited for the Deacon to place the book in front of the ambo. I also noticed the lectors stood at the ambo for a beat or two before sitting down.

All the music was well done! At some points during the songs, some people had their arms raised. So maybe a little charismatic movement has made its way in. Love it!

During the Eucharistic prayer/consecration, the woman in front of me knelt (no kneelers) so I knelt too. As far as I could tell, we were the only ones. I don’t kneel to show how super pious I am. I kneel because I feel it’s the right thing to do. Plus it’s not comfortable. And I don’t think it should be. It’s a small sacrifice to make to remind us…well, it reminds ME, of¬†His suffering. Maybe I shouldn’t have because this church didn’t have kneelers but it was carpeted. So it’s not like it was kneeling on nails.

I took a seat in the last row but they have the communion procession start at the BACK. The last shall be first and the first shall be last? I was first. That’s almost as good as getting a piece of the big host! ūüėČ


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St. Albert the Great – Divine Mercy Chaplet – April 23rd – Divine Mercy Sunday

This wasn’t a mass, it was a Divine Mercy Chaplet service. So this includes¬†Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a reading, a brief homily and then we pray the chaplet by chanting/singing. I LOVE to pray the chaplet this way. (Click here to hear what I mean)

I attended this last year and was so moved by the Cantor and her singing that I had to come back again. It’s one thing to just pray the chaplet alone, but it’s quite another to sing it in a group. Just beautiful as always.

I first learned the chaplet on the night my mom passed away. ¬†We recited it at her bedside as she lay there taking her final breaths, so this has always had a special meaning for me. Speaking of which…this brings me to the last parish, my parents own parish of:

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Church of the Assumption – Broadview Heights – Monday – April 24th – 8:30am

Gospel: JN 3:1-8

Celebrant: Fr. Justin Dyrwal, O.S.B.

Initial Reactions:¬†¬†I have good memories of attending church with Mom here, who would often say to me when we went together, “I like going to Assumption because I feel close to MY Mom.” ¬†Well, the feeling is mutual. I even sit in her usual spot whenever I go.

And since I just wrote about divine mercy, it seems only fitting to say that Fr. Justin was the one to teach me the chaplet. The first time I heard it was when he came to the house he prayed the chaplet over her. I hadn’t really heard of it before this.

Homily Reflection:¬†Nicodemus is “on the fence.” ¬†He approaches Jesus in the night because he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s a disciple. Nicodemus wants it “both ways.” But Jesus says we must be born again. And Nicodemus doesn’t understand what this means. Jesus means for us to literally change our lives. To live differently. And what about us? We may miss God’s voice telling us to turn around and change our lives because we are too busy living on the fence, listening to the world instead of focusing on heaven. What does the Resurrection mean? It means Transformation. How does the Resurrection change our lives? Am I avoiding change? Am I going where God wants me to go? Imagine the wondrous things that can happen when we allow the Risen Lord in.

Holy Moments: I really wanted to share a picture of their stained glass window of Mary all lit up at night. I ASSUMED (see what I did there?) that they would have one on their website but no. Short of going there at night and taking a photo myself (which I will probably do because I’m THAT crazy person), I found this sub-par blurry photo. ¬†It doesn’t do it justice but it’ll do for now.

UPDATE: I did in fact go to the parish at night, in the rain, and took this picture after the rain ceased. And I have emailed it to the parish permitting them to use it if they wish.

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Not so great looking photo
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MUCH BETTER PHOTO (courtesy of moi)

For those keeping track, this brings me to 41 parishes attended this year so far. Considering there are 185 parishes in the diocese, the dream of attending all of them before January 1st next year is fading. Like with all goals, you gotta know when to admit you may have been a bit over zealous and scale it back. So I’m re-setting the goal to attend 100 by January. A nice even number and completely doable.

Again, I feel strange for even mentioning it but for those that wish to donate to the Daily Mass Project, please send a donation to Father Michael Denk of The Prodigal Father instead. Include somewhere in the notes section that you’re donating because of this or mention the blog or my name (Michelle) and he’ll see that it gets noted. I would always welcome a “Donation” of your prayers more than anything else.

Thank you again!

Daily Mass Project: 3 Counties in 3 Days

I was all over the place this past week, attending mass in Berea, Brunswick and Norton.

And yes, that’s 3 different counties 3 days in a row. ¬†Just a day in the life…

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Saint Adalbert – Berea – Tuesday March 14th – 6:30pm

Celebrant: Fr Barry Gearing

Gospel: Matthew 23:1-12

Homily Reflection:¬†I heard three distinct messages from Father’s homily: “Get outside your own head during Lent.” Ask yourself “Are you looking out for yourself or others?” And lastly, “We need to be the selfless servants that God calls all of us to be.” ¬†How much of what I do this Lent is about ME and how much of it is about serving others? Is HE at the center of my life? Or am I making this all about ME and MY issues, MY fasting, MY prayer life and no one else?

Holy Moments: I’m so glad to hear the prayer of St. Michael recited at the end of mass. This is a tradition that not many churches do today. And it’s really a shame because we are in a spiritual battle. And we absolutely need to call on St. Michael to defend us.

I also remembered a line from Morning Prayer in the breviary that seemed appropriate to mention, especially in light of this battle: “Lord, watch over your Church, and guide it with your unfailing love. Protect us from what could harm us and lead us to what will save us.”

Ran into some friends after mass that I just love.¬†Another great community there in Berea. Fr. Barry is a fellow Theology of the Body teacher¬†so I’m very grateful the students at the¬†Academy of St. Adalbert¬†are receiving this crucial teaching.

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Saint Colette – Brunswick – Wednesday March 15th – 11am

Celebrant: Fr. William Krizner, my high school chaplain!

Gospel: Matthew 20:17-28

Homily Reflection: Jesus predicts what is going to happen in today’s Gospel: He tells us he will be raised on the 3rd day. The all important feast we celebrate NOW, at this moment in mass, is the Resurrection.¬†Come Holy Week, we remember Jesus’ passion, death and burial. But right now, actually, we remember and celebrate His resurrection.

His homily reminded me of Bishop Robert Barron and one of his video’s about Easter.¬†He says: “We are an Easter people.” If we don’t believe in the Resurrection we’re basically saying that Jesus was just a prophet. This is why we profess in the creed, “I believe in the resurrection of the body.” What is Christianity without Easter? I picture us celebrating Christmas and then…nothing. We’d be talking about this guy who lived 2,000 years ago, who was crucified, died and was buried. And that would be the end of the story! And not a very good one.

Holy Moments:¬†In my search for images to attach to the blog, I went on St. Colette’s website and noticed in the Staff page the most awesome thing I’ve seen on a parish website. No I’m not going to tell you, you’ll just have to click here to see (be sure to scroll down). Notice what every staff member is pictured next to? ¬†I think that’s¬†spectacular. It shows what Church¬†is all about. (Hint:It’s about JESUS.)

I did introduce myself to Fr. Krizner after mass telling him he wouldn’t remember me from (gulp!) 20 years ago. He was as friendly and kind as I remember. I¬†wasn’t involved in my high school ministry at all. I don’t really remember too much about religion in high school either. I remember bits and pieces of what we learned but unfortunately, I just didn’t pay attention as a teenager to that sort of thing. Completely opposite of how I am now, clearly. I didn’t get too much time to chat with Fr. so I am going to have to make it a point to go back again for another mass.

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Saint Andrew the Apostle – Norton – Friday March 17th – 8am

Celebrant: Fr. James Maloney

Gospel: Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

Homily Reflection: Father did an awesome job of bringing together the First reading about Joseph being sold into slavery with the Gospel of the parable of the vineyard and the tenants. He even managed to speak about St. Patrick at the end to bring it all together. And wouldn’t you like to know exactly what he said? Me too! Except while I’m at mass, I tend to try to listen more than I write. So…my scribbled notes don’t have much to add except Father’s final line: “Be open to what God is planning in your life. May His will, not yours, be done, as we pray in the Our Father.”¬†

Holy Moment: After communion there was a longer than usual break before the closing prayer. ¬†Usually daily masses seem to be sped up because clearly they are shorter. During this mass, it felt like time stood still. And it was completely silent even though there were easily 30 of us there. And then I noticed an incredible sense of peace in my heart. I was completely content. I just contemplated what communion is: Receiving the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ. Even someone with the tiniest amount of faith has to admit that that’s¬†incredible and beautiful. And I just sat there in awe.

And here’s one of the prayers from Morning Prayer that again, seemed to echo this same feeling: “Give the fullness of peace now to your faithful people. May peace rule us in this life and possess us in eternal life. You are about to fill us with the best of wheat; grant that what we see dimly now as in a mirror, we may come to perceive clearly in the brightness of your truth.”

Moments like that, I wish everyone was Catholic. ¬†I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to have the flexibility and the freedom to do this project. I just wish I could take everyone I know with me…literally, like pack everyone I know into my little Honda and bring them to every mass I go,¬†so they too can meet all these interesting people in the pews, and hear the homilies and see the beauty of our rituals and¬†the sacraments.

And that shouldn’t be surprising. After all, we experience heaven on earth when we’re at mass. Why wouldn’t I want to bring everyone with me to heaven?


Next week: Sunday mass at St. Thomas the Apostle in Sheffield Lake, an Adoration experiences in Wadsworth and Lorain unlike any other and daily masses in Avon Lake and Elyria. Phew!

Week 1 Daily Mass Project

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#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.

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#2 -Sts Robert and Williams – Euclid – Friday January 6 12:00pm

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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. ūüôā 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The CLE Daily Mass Project

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St. John the Evangelist Cathedral, Cleveland. Photo courtesy of Photography By Francis 

Ahh daily mass. What a gift! There’s something really unique and interesting about this brief encounter with Christ. This 30 minute mass has been instrumental in bringing me back to the Church.¬†

It may seem difficult to take part in a daily mass due to a busy schedule, but the good news is that is indeed possible. It requires something we don’t like to mention and that’s sacrifice, usually in the form of sleep. Living in a large diocese as Cleveland, I have noticed there’s quite a few parishes that offer daily mass in the evening after work. And they offer it usually early in the morning before work. So most people can attend daily mass if they adjust their schedules.¬†

I’ve also recently discovered that I know quite a few lapsed and Christmas/Easter Catholics. Reflecting on this I thought:¬†¬†“What¬†would be a good way to grow in my faith, but also¬†help lead these people back home to the Catholic Church?”

Well, I had an Epiphany during mass (shocker!) and here it is:

I want to attend 1 daily mass at each parish in the Cleveland Diocese, all 185, within the year. And I want to bring people WITH me. That would be the ultimate goal: To help those Christmas/Easter Catholics rediscover their Catholic roots and hopefully bring them back to the Church full-time.


I initially referred to it as a¬†Challenge (because it will be) but I also thought of the word Project, due to the goal of getting others involved. Kind of like a team effort.¬†I’ll then write a short¬†blog about what I experience¬†at each parish¬†I visit. But I want to make it clear that it won’t be a Critique¬†or¬†Review as if I’m going to a restaurant and reporting on the food by rating it on a point system.

Can you imagine?!

I give this priest 3 out of 4¬†hosts¬†for the Homily but I’m giving 2 hosts for Overall Atmosphere¬†based on that sorry excuse for a nativity scene. And what is up with the design of that tabernacle? ¬†Clearly this church was built in the 60’s, which is probably the same decade these kneelers were installed. Ouch! Will be back again but hoping for a different lector who is a little less monotone and knows how to pronounce “Colossians” correctly.

Yeah that wouldn’t go over too well.¬†

My Six Commandments

In the meantime, I’m giving myself some rules. Feel free to apply these to yourself if you care to join in:

  1. I can attend a church by myself that can count toward the challenge but only¬†if¬†it’s within a 5* mile radius of my work/home. If it’s outside the 5 mile radius then I must provide¬†a legit reason for attending – This includes: A social event nearby within a 1.5 hour timeframe, a baptism/wedding at the church, having an appointment within the area, etc. If I cannot provide a legit reason for going, then I must follow rule #2.
  2. I need to bring someone¬†to mass. In other words, I can’t just drive to Painesville** for mass to check a parish off the list. I must find a friend to meet me/go with me. If I don’t find someone, I can still attend¬†but it won’t count as a part of the project. I still have to go with someone in order for it to count and to reinforce the point which is to bring people (literally) closer to Christ.¬†
  3. I must provide a few words/thoughts on the homily and what message I heard during the mass/what I experienced. I¬†can also write about¬†what the church was like and what the atmosphere was, people I saw, any interesting occurrences that might be noteworthy. Of course, only in a positive light because again, the point is to bring people closer to Jesus and not criticize something such as¬†the vestments the priest wore:¬†“Is that supposed to be Rose for Gaudete Sunday? He looks like human cotton-candy coming down the aisle.”
  4. Reflections will be posted on Wednesdays and will include the previous week’s masses attended.
  5. Sunday mass will count for the project but only if I can never make it to a daily mass with a friend/a daily mass is not offered/I can’t find a willing friend to go with me. Most applicable for parishes that don’t offer mass in English and parishes in the far counties like Wayne** and Ashtabula** as I have zero friends in those counties.¬†
  6. No double dipping. (One mass per day, unless I have a legit reason for going to two. For legit reasons, see rule #1)

*May change to 10 mile radius to expand my territory to make it more do-able.

**Lake, Wayne and Ashtabula Counties will be squeezed into the non-winter months. Because even Jesus wouldn’t live in the snowbelt.

Some Final Thoughts

  • Daily Mass is intimate. That’s the most appealing part of it!¬†But there’s no intimacy if others don’t even know that they can have the same relationship. I don’t seem willing to share the benefits of going to mass with many people besides my fellow Super Catholics. Which is great but I can do better.
  • The most costly part of this will be mileage on my leased car. I’ve had people make jokes that I must drive all over the country considering I’ve put 40K miles on my car in 18 months. But I always respond the same: I’m happy to go where I’m needed and where I’m called. And it’s an honor and privilege to have 3 part-time jobs which take me to all parts of the city. I may as well try and encounter Christ while I’m at it. If the gas/mileage is just too much of a burden at some point, I’ve already have had friends express interest in giving me rides, which helps accomplish the goal.
  • The friend(s) I attend mass with may contribute to the challenge by telling me their responses to #3¬†and #4, which will make the blog post more of a conversation and dialogue than just my own scattered thoughts. It would also be very interesting to hear what someone heard at their own daily mass at a different parish from a different priest.¬†
  • The end goal may be an ebook or something, I haven’t quite figured that part out. I just know that God put this idea on my heart and I’m trying very hard to see it through. If you have your own ideas/feedback about this, I’m all ears! Feel free to comment!

So stay tuned! This Wednesday’s¬†post will include reflections from St. John of the Cross and Sts. Robert and William, both located in Euclid.