Our Lady Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral
A couple weeks ago I attended my 5th Theology of the Body Course called TOB and Art: The Way of Beauty. It took place at a beautiful retreat center in Malvern Pennsylvania. One of messages of the entire week was simply to receive. Receive the Gift of Beauty from God.
Easier said than done for most of us. This requires us to be still. Be silent. And look. Look up! Look up from our phones, our work, our computers. And just look around and take in all of this creation that God has given us.
We don’t do this very often do we? We’re too busy being human DOERS instead of human BEINGS.
Our instructor for the week, Bill Donaghy, mentioned many of us suffer from “MMC.”
Martha, Martha Complex. We’re all trying to busy ourselves instead of being like Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus instead of being like Martha, who busied herself serving and being a hostess.
In light of wanting to be more like Mary and less like Martha, I tried to just receive more than reflect on the masses this week. Lots of pictures (although ONCE AGAIN, parish websites are in desperate need of photos of their art and design! I’m lookin at you St Mary’s in Hudson.)
So this week’s DMP’s are much shorter than in prior posts.
First up, I have to share the beauty of the Malvern Retreat House. Over 200 acres of statues, stations of the cross, mini shrines, a grotto, and a gorgeous chapel. I got as many pictures of the bronze Stations of the Cross sculptures that captivated me. Then there were Mosaic Stations of the Cross and the Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe. And on and on it went.
Celebrant: Fr. Patrick Anderson – Parochial Vicar
Initial Thoughts: Music! At a daily mass! Shocker! I mean like an actual pianist. I didn’t write down the names of the hymns we sang (my bad) but I do recall very good singing voices. And for a daily mass, it was really well attended. Probably close to 50-60 people. Maybe more.
Homily Reflection: Father discussed what was said the day before to a group of graduating high school seniors from the Youth Ministers around the area. One YM gave the advice of having the students imagine they are going on a mission. Because they are! As they go to college, it is their mission to find Christ.
Another YM said: “Abide in Me,” referring to Jesus’ words. A good reminder if we don’t abide in Christ, we can’t bear fruit. We have to remain rooted, as Paul and Barnabas did as they preached and healed people. They also were attacked and persecuted. But they were on a mission! And as long as they remained rooted in Christ, they could go on.
Father Patricks final point resonated with me the most. He said when we justify our actions, when we talk to ourselves, we no longer remain in Him. (I talk to myself a lot so maybe this was the Holy Spirit speaking directly to me). Father ended by repeating the opening prayer: “O God, restorer and lover of innocence, direct the hearts of your servants towards yourself, that those you have set free from the darkness of unbelief may never stray from the light of your truth.” Restore in us that desire to remain in Him. Return to innocence, confidence and trust in the Lord.
Holy Moments: I had the privilege of witnessing my friend Father Anthony Simone’s first mass as a priest at this church just 4 days later. That entire mass was my holiest moment!
Holy Moments and Initial Reactions: One of the most crowded chapel masses I’ve ever attended. I think it’s safe to say there were close to 80 people packed into this chapel. They also have a perpetual adoration chapel that I went into afterwards.
What I noticed the most is that it clearly lives up to its name as there were at least 3 sets of families with small children in attendance. And what looked to be like a brother and sister pair of altar servers. Complete silence before the mass started which was nice considering there was no tabernacle. It’s always good when people still respect the fact that it’s a chapel even if He isn’t present. Wish I could have gotten more pictures of the chapel with the lights on.
Celebrant: Fr. Thomas Winkel, Senior Parochial Vicar
Initial Thoughts: I walked into the adoration chapel first and see a married couple sitting there whom I have met through being an EWTN Media Missionary. Complete coincidence! We actually prayed together before they had to leave which was a very sweet holy moment as I mentioned I could use some prayers for an upcoming job interview.
Homily Reflection: FINALLY, after doing this DMP for almost 6 months, I attended a mass with a friend! Half the reason I wanted to do the DMP was to either meet up with a friend or relative at a mass or bring someone with me and so finally, my super Catholic friend Jim joined me for this one.
Father Winkel came out with a vestment on that had the initials/abbreviation “IHS.” As he processed in and approached the altar, I had the thought of, “How come I don’t know what IHS means? This seems like something I should know.” And wouldn’t you know it, he mentioned what it means in his homily. It’s actually an abbreviation of the name IHΣΟΥΣ which means “Jesus.” So it shouldn’t be a surprise but the REASON he gave for mentioning it and for wearing the vestment was because that was the feast day of St. Bernardine of Siena. St. Bernardine gave mission talks and preached devotion to the Name of Jesus every place he went. And apparently, Saint Bernardine designed the IHS emblem. (Unless I totally heard wrong but I thought that’s what he said).
Holy Moments: I was distracted a few times just by the enormous mosaic/art on the wall of the sanctuary. (Once again, the distracted by the beauty!) I didn’t get a picture but on the left and right sides of the sanctuary were the words of the Hail Mary inscribed into wooden beams. The mass ended with a novena to the Infant Jesus found at the back of the missal. (Pictured above).
Overall it’s clearly a very prayerful parish. But my favorite part was just walking around the outside and taking photos, especially of the statue of Jesus and Mary as well as the “For You I Died” crucifixion which is just outside the school.
If this week’s DMP had a message, it would be similar to that of the TOB retreat:
Stop, look up, and receive God’s masterpiece. There’s beauty in His creation all around us. We need to take the time to bask in the beauty.
Next Week: A mass for my Mom at St. Charles Borromeo, I visit my old grade school St Anthony of Padua in Parma, and Adoration at St. Anselm in Chesterland.
1st Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6
2nd Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
Gospel: Matthew 2: 1-12
Celebrant: Fr. Michael Denk
Assisted by: Deacon Bob Gurczik
Number of Attendees for a 5pm Sunday mass: Outstanding!
Immediately I feel like this parish is incredibly welcoming. Maybe it just appears to be larger than it is but all I know is I have never seen a 5pm mass on a Sunday so packed! It was awesome to witness. Everyone seemed pretty joyful and happy to be there. As soon as I sat down I noticed the choir was made up of a variety of people as well as a few young girls who happily announced where we could find the songs in the hymnal. I didn’t even care that the little girl pronounced Epiphany as “Effany.” Adorable!
Homily Reflection: Fr. Denk has his own website, The Prodigal Father, and he puts his homilies online. So I can “cheat” on this one and copy and paste my favorite part, which was this: Have you had some kind of experience in your life that makes you want to yearn for more? If you have, are you still seeking? Are you still seeking with all of your heart? Because, ultimately, if we are not thrill seekers or Christ seekers, we are going to lead very boring monotonous lives. If we are Christ seekers, we are going to discover the more and more we experience Him, the more and more we are going to long for Him.
If I’m not a Christ-seeker, I sure don’t know what the heck I am! Because I think even a blind person could see that I’m seeking Christ everyday. And my life ain’t boring, that’s for sure. It’s truly amazing and I do wish everyone had this longing to seek Him out.
Holy Moments: I recognized one of the Eucharistic Ministers as a young man who was on the team for a TEC Retreat I made exactly a year ago. Totally random and a complete God-incidence. Also, after every 5pm mass on Sundays, St. Gabriel has Eucharistic Adoration for an hour and 45 minutes followed by Night Prayer and Benediction. It became obvious not everyone knew this was happening, either because they didn’t read the bulletin or just never come to this particular mass. So you could see some confused looks on people’s faces. I am a relative newbie to Adoration (just about a year steady) so I’m happy to see parishes making a point to do this after mass/weekly for people to have some alone time with Jesus.
Our Father Orans Posture: I saw MANY Orans poses and MANY people holding hands. Looks like I’m in the minority once again as a “hands folded” poser.
1st Reading: Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7
Celebrant: Fr. Anthony Suso
Assisted by: Deacon Robert Lester
I LOVE chapel masses! It makes me think of when my Mom took me to daily mass as a toddler at St. Anthony’s in Parma, before they built the church that is there now. But it’s also nice to be in a small setting with just a couple dozen people.
Homily Reflection: Deacon Robert had the homily and mentioned there are actually 3 Epiphanies: The Epiphany Feast on Sunday of the Magi, the Baptism of the Lord that we celebrate today, and the third is Jesus’ first miracle of changing the water into wine at the Wedding at Cana. He also mentioned to use not just our words but our actions; that our actions are what matter most in trying to build up the kingdom of God. And that how we act is of paramount importance as Christians.
Holy Moments: There was a program for this mass! That’s always a nice touch. But then I realized they chant/sing the Entrance and Communion Antiphons. A very nice added touch, because usually, we just speak these, we don’t sing them. But these folks did a great job. Their chapel also serves as a perpetual adoration chapel, so I went there first for some adoring time beforehand. At 6pm people started to file in and before I knew it, I was praying a rosary with them! A pleasant surprise.
1st Reading:Hebrews 2: 14-18
Gospel: Mark 1:29-39
Celebrant: Fr. Stanley Klasinski
Opening Song: Glory And Praise to Our God
Preparation Song: We Three Kings
Communion Song: Rain Down Your Love on Your People
Closing Song: Christ Be Our Light
What’s better than a Chapel Mass? A School Mass! I pull in to the parking lot with 5 minutes to spare but little did I know they began this mass about 5 minutes early, so I walked in to a bunch of kids singing “Glory and Praise to Our God.” I’m telling ya, if you need a pick-me-up, go find a school mass. The kids will just melt your heart.
These kids, from Corpus Christi Academy, were on such great behavior. And the girls in the choir singing perfectly in tune, especially this adorable blondie enunciating every word. She was very dynamic and quite the singer.
Homily Reflection: The gospel included the line about Jesus going off by himself to pray. So the priest emphasized a prayer life with the children. But he also mentioned how priests pray the Liturgy of the Hours. I have been praying the LOH consistently for about 3 months now and it is awesome and wonderful and literally sets the tone for my day. It’s best to start your day with prayer than by checking your phone to go on social media, check email, or text someone. That stuff can wait!
Holy Moments: I stayed in the church after mass and as the children were exiting, I made my way over to a kneeler in front of statues of the Blessed Mother and Joseph. All of a sudden the kids who were leaving the church became completely quiet. I think their teacher must have pointed to me as if to say “She’s praying, be quiet,” because I could hear a pin drop. I came to find out after I started to write this blog, that they have a chapel with adoration next door. Duh! I didn’t even bother to ask. Definitely could have used some quiet time but all in all it was a great mass and a great start to the day.
Up Next: Heading all the way out to Medina – An early Saturday morning mass at St. Francis Xavier, a weekday mass in the chapel at Holy Martyrs, and a Sunday mass at beautiful and historic St. Martin of Tours in Valley City.
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.
In the meantime, I’m giving myself some rules. Feel free to apply these to yourself if you care to join in:
*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.