All the Alleluia’s – Daily Mass Project Holy Week Edition

I may have set the bar a tad too high this past week. I had all the intentions of attending 5 different parishes during the week but it just. didn’t. happen. But instead of sitting here feeling pity for myself, I am REJOICING (see what I did there?) in the fact that I DID attend some beautiful services this past week. The message was clear: It’s about HIM, not a project. So I took the pressure off myself and tried my best to be in the moment of Holy Week as best as I could. Enjoy!

IMG_6835

St. Joan of Arc – Chagrin Falls – Monday April 10th 8am

Celebrant: Fr. Gary J. Malin, Pastor

Gospel: JN 12:1-11

Holy Moments: Heard a different Penitential Act than the usual “I confess…” In fact, this was the third or fourth time hearing this version and I finally understand what everyone is saying:

Priest: Have mercy on us, O Lord.

People: For we have sinned against you.

Priest: Show us, O Lord, your mercy.

People: And grant us your salvation.

I get the feeling this is an older version because I have been hearing it at more traditional parishes, although I could be wrong? I’m sure one of my super Catholic readers will comment and tell me for sure.

Homily Reflection: The Gospel was about Mary who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive oil. Judas makes the comment that it could have been sold and given to the poor. Fr. Gary mentioned that anointing takes a special place in our Church. We anoint the sick, the newly baptised, the confirmed, and use the oil during ordination of holy orders. Our oils are called “chrism” which is named after Christ. This week begins Holy Week. It’s not called Holy just because we label it that way. It’s holy because it’s who we are called to be. More like Christ. We are reminded, especially because of the Coptic Christians recently martyred in Egypt, of this call to holiness. Their blood splattered on the walls reminds us of the one who’s blood was splattered for us.

Bonus Material: Upon leaving the Church, my eye caught this:

IMG_6880

Anything TOB catches my eye so I was pretty jazzed this morning to see this. (For information on how to subscribe to Catholic Update, visit their website: http://www.liguori.org/god-s-gift-to-us.html


Church of the Holy Angels – Good Friday and the Easter Vigil

17880644_1655585814468718_4817170848378858008_o

In case it’s not obvious from the forthcoming bragging, this is MY parish that I’ve belonged to since moving back to Cleveland in the fall of 2009.  I officially joined in the summer of 2010 and continue to tell everyone I know, that “Yes I do in fact belong to a parish 25 miles from my house. Why? Ummm….because it’s awesome!? That’s why.”

How about that Paschal Candle? Is that not beautiful? Our TEENS make that candle. TEENS! How awesome to attend mass and every time you see the candle you can say, “I helped MAKE that!”

Friday Morning Prayer – I couldn’t make it to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday night so after beating myself up for missing it, I made sure to attend Friday mornings prayer service. This was just Morning prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours but it was so nice to say the prayers of the Church in an actual group instead of by myself as I so often do. We sang a few verses of Were you there, when they crucified my Lord, which ALWAYS makes me tear up. How can you sing that and not get the least bit emotional?

Good Friday – Communion Service – The one day of the year when we don’t celebrate mass.

goodfridayservice3

What a service! The homily was beyond fantastic and I told my buddy Deacon (soon to be priest) Anthony that he knocked it out of the park. I will just share a few lines from it:

His Love for YOU is just as real & passionate today as it was at that moment of His Ultimate Final Sacrifice.

Know, there is NOTHING we can do that will sway Christ’s Love for us.

Jesus wants us to know that This Act of Love Was Personal

When we kiss and touch the cross in just a moment, we are venerating the place & time when Jesus took His final vows to lay down His life for us and love us until the end of time. Let’s take a moment together to gaze upon the cross. To see Love in it, and not stop looking UNTIL ALL we see is Love…then Keep Looking.

There was also stellar chanting by Dcn. Anthony as the cross was processed in. It was probably one of the best services I’ve ever attended at my parish. I just felt such respect and awe and wonder at what Jesus has done on the cross for all of us. I finally had that Holy moment of holy week that I think I was waiting for. Prior to it I think I was just so focused on tasks that needed to be done and appointments that needed to be kept and the overall business of life that somehow made me forget what I should have been focused on.

Easter Vigil

Speaking of awe and wonder, there’s nothing like the Mother of All Vigils, is there? I only recall attending a few Easter Vigil services as a kid. I’m sure our parents didn’t think we could handle such a long service without being bored or acting out. So I only vividly recall one where people were submerged in the baptismal font at my childhood parish. I don’t think I quite understood that an adult could be baptized. I remember thinking, “But aren’t all babies baptized? Did their parents just forget to take them?” I was clearly very naive to the real world.

The Holiest of Holy Moments: The entire liturgy is a holy moment! The music, the candlelight, the readings and the outstanding job by all the lectors. There’s so much I could write about but for me, personally, my favorite part was seeing someone I got to know become initiated in the Church.

I volunteered as a Catechist for our RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation for Children) program where we had one lovely little girl named Aurora. She was an absolute delight to teach. I only had a few lessons with her but each time she was engaged and eager to learn and had quite the entertaining remarks to make which threw me for a loop at times. She made things interesting, as any 9 year old would. 🙂  It felt good to see someone enter into the Church and to know that in some very small way, I helped.

IMG_6881


Although I had high hopes of attending more than just two Churches during this past Holy Week, I know it’s not about how many places I get to. It’s pretty obvious that unless I clone myself, there’s not way I can possibly get to all of the churches by January. But that’s alright. I’m still amazed at the amount of comments and messages I get from all of you saying how much you enjoy following along. That’s motivating in itself for me to keep it going as long as I am able.

*A few folks have asked if they could donate money to the DMP to help me finish this, and while I am totally humbled and thankful for the requests, I don’t see how I can possibly accept money for doing this. If you’d like to make a donation, I would request you make it to The Prodigal Father. I love volunteering for Fr. Denk’s ministry and I’d feel better if any extra money you have could go towards his efforts. Simply put “Michelle from the Daily Mass Project sent me!” or something to that effect in the “Message” window so he knows who sent you. He has a lot to offer in return for your donation whereas I don’t have anything to offer except my thanks and prayers of gratitude. 🙂

Next blog post: Church of the Resurrection in Solon, St. Mathias in Broadview Heights and St. Albert the Great in North Royalton.

Daily Mass Project: West Side Welcoming

I made the trip to the far west side for one of my many jobs and was really excited to add a few more churches to the DMP. In addition to the parishes listed below, I also attended Adoration at St. Anthony of Padua in Lorain and Benediction/Adoration as well as Evening Prayer at St. Peter’s in North Ridgeville.


back_windowSt.Thomas the Apostle  Sunday March 19th 11am

Celebrant: Fr. Stephen Shields

Gospel: The woman at the well, my all time favorite Gospel story. John 4: 5-42

That window! Gorgeous and ginormous. Even though it had the numbers for a larger daily mass, (maybe 70 people) it made for a more intimate Sunday mass. St Thomas is part of a cluster parish including St. Teresa of Avila and St. Anthony of Padua. We recited the parish prayer at the beginning and the prayer to St Michael at the end.  No kneelers but since it’s carpeted, everyone kneels regardless.

Homily Reflection: On Ash Wednesday, we say, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” The Samaritan woman had repented after meeting with Jesus at the well. As she left him to go tell others about him (I’ve heard it said she was the first evangelist) she was starting to believe in the Gospel. During this time in Lent, are we starting to believe? Or do we still need to repent?

Holy Moments: Since there isn’t really a gathering space, Father waved hello to many of us before he processed in. As he preached his homily, he walked up and down the aisles and shook hands with all of the kids who were there. And as he processed out with the servers, he motioned for a few of the kids to join him as well. They all genuflected and walked out holding hands. Very sweet and tender moment!

IMG_6802
Some other beautiful things to look at in this parish…

IMG_6748

St. Jude – Elyria – Monday March 20th – 7am – Chapel

The Feast of St. Joseph

Initial thoughts: As I was driving to mass, I noticed how the sun hadn’t come up yet so it was really dark. I was actually feeling a little sick that morning and thought of skipping it and trying to find an evening mass instead. But I thought I should just tough it out and go. Because any time I think, “Well maybe I just won’t go,” I always notice that there’s a REASON I am there. And this time was no different as you’ll see.

Homily Reflection: The priest mentioned how St. Joseph was declared to be the Defender of the Family and someone we can pray to as the spiritual father of Jesus. Whenever I hear defending the family, for me personally, I always think of how the family and marriage is under attack right now. I also think of the unborn being attacked physically thru abortion. So I must admit, my mind did tend to wander into that realm as Father preached. But I do recall the end as he said we must be obedient to God as Jesus was obedient to his parents before he began his ministry.

As I did more research on St. Joseph I found this prayer from JP2 in Redemportis Custos

“Most beloved father, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin…graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness…and just as once you saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend God’s holy Church from the snares of her enemies and from all adversity.”

IMG_6749

As I was admiring this beautiful replica of the Pieta there, a man came up to me and hugged me out of the blue! He was hugging everyone goodbye as they left. What a sweet man! He then proceeded to tell me all about their stained glass here. He introduced himself as we walked out by saying his name was Henry, “Henry the hugger,” he said. after I got done talking and hugging Henry, I felt so much better! As we walked out to our cars, I noticed how the sun had come out and it was a beautiful spring day. Very much divine timing. Probably one of the best ways to start a Monday morning.


IMG_6755

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary-Lorain  Wed- March 22nd – 6:30pm

Celebrant: Fr. Robert Glepko

Gospel: Matthew 5:17-19

Initial thoughts: Just pulling up to this Church from the street, you notice how it stands out. I am not that familair with Lorain in general so driving through it I wasn’t sure what to expect. But as I turned the corner and drove down the street and saw the Church, it’s such a stark contrast to the other buildings around it. It felt like I was just in a completely different world.

Homily Reflection: The priest noted that as we gathered, we had heard on the news about the London terrorist attack. Interestingly enough, it was the feast day of Nicholas Owen, an England born saint. He became a carpenter/builder and served the Jesuit priests in England for two decades by constructing hiding places for them in mansions throughout the country, called priest holes. He is believed to have saved the lives of many priests during the 16th century.

Holy Moments:  The mass itself was largely attended for a daily mass. I realized later it was probably because they were going to do Stations of the Cross right after mass, which unfortunately, I couldn’t attend. For this mass, not only did they have a Deacon assisting, they had 4 adult servers (1 was lector and I believe the other was EM).

My favorite part of this church has to be the giant crown of thorns hanging from the ceiling. I tried to get a picture of it as best I could – IMG_6756

It’s somewhat hard to tell from this picture but I promise you it’s there. For more pictures of this gorgeous 120+ year old church, go to their website photo gallery. 


For those that have been following along, you may recall I went out to Valley City to visit the historic St. Martin of Tours.  I heard, what I referred to at the time, as one of the best homilies given by the priest there, Fr. Dunphy. I was told from one of the parishioners that I should make a point to come out on St. Patricks Day to hear Father sing. I made a note in my calendar that I would do this.

I went on Facebook for just a few minutes a couple weeks ago and saw that Fr. Dunphy passed away on March 11th at the age of 86. What a tremendous loss for the community of Valley City and the parish of St. Martin. 

I thought it was incredibly fitting that he was buried just a day before St. Patricks Day. And I feel so very blessed that I was able to hear this man preach and be at St Martin’s when I normally would never have been there if it hadn’t been for this project God put on my heart. May he rest in peace.

fr-thomas-r-dunphy_cropped_300-300x299

 

 

 

Week 6 Daily Mass Project

Before we get to the DMP, I have to share just a few thoughts about this past weekend:

I had the honor of being chosen among 24 other women to be flown to D.C. to be trained in all forms of media as a Spokeswoman on the issues of marriage, dating, sex, religious freedom, abortion and contraception, all courtesy of a grass roots movement called Women Speak for Themselves.  It was incredible and I’ll spend another blog post discussing all that took place. In the meantime, a shortened (much better) version of my previous post about the Women’s March/Planned Parenthood has been published by WSFT.  A huge honor. I do hope to blog for them again soon!

Meanwhile, I took the DMP “on the road” and found an adorable church called Holy Rosary. According to their website, they are the only national Italian parish in Washington, D.C. The Italian side of me was beaming with pride as I walked in to this little historic church…


Holy Rosary Church – Washington D.C. – 1st Sunday of Lent

Celebrant: Fr. Ezio Marchetto (How’s that for an Italian name?)

Gospel: MT 4:1-11

Homily Reflection: I know I took notes on the homily on a small pad of paper. But unfortunately I’m pretty sure I left the pad in the hotel lobby or in my hotel room. So some random person somewhere in D.C. is probably attempting to read my chicken scratch about the 3 temptations of the devil to Jesus in the desert. Oops.

Holy Moments: Be still my heart, I loved it all! From the bilingual bulletin, to the Italian missal, to the teenage lector with the most adorable accent I’ve ever heard, I didn’t ever want to leave. You could tell just by walking in that this place was rich with history. Even though it’s not very large, it had all the aspects of a Catholic mass: chimes, communion plates, a pipe organ, 2 side altars and one of those winding staircases for the pulpit and of course, a Facebook page. Check out this beautiful song being sung for the victims of the earthquake that hit Italy last year.

My favorite part was going to leave the church and coming eye to eye with this beautiful sculpture of Our Lady and Jesus in her arms. IMG_6643

I finally Googled “Stabat Mater Dolorosa” and figured out that it means: “the sorrowful mother stood.” The Stabat Mater is an ancient hymn sung at the liturgy on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

 


St. Clement – Lakewood – 5:15PM – 3/6/17

feature11-960x350

Celebrant: Fr. Joe Workman

Gospel: MT 25:31-46

Homily Reflection: The priest told us about an encounter he witnessed at a recent funeral: The man who died was a Navy veteran. (Any time a veteran passes, representatives from the branch come and perform a flag ceremony and usually play taps a recorded version, usually not live.  It’s really beautiful and moving if you have ever witnessed one.) At the cemetery, the priest saw a few of the friends of the deceased man walk over to the 3 sailors who had performed the flag ceremony and thanked them one by one for coming to the funeral. The priest thought this was a small but very powerful example of the gestures we can perform everyday to make someone’s day a little better. The Gospel mentioned “when I was naked you clothed me, when I was hungry you fed me, etc” and the lesson for us is simply gratitude. The little extra things we do, like a smile and a thank you to someone at the grocery store or saying thank you for good customer service, can go a long way to being a loving neighbor.

Holy Moments: The Preface/Eucharistic Prayer were really beautiful and different. If you go to mass during Lent (I would HOPE you do/are) be sure to listen to the prayers said at the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It’s the most sacred part of the mass and the words the priest says really strike your heart. I don’t know if this was his exact prayer but here’s an example from what’s called Preface IV of Lent. For reference, this is after “It is truly right and just…”

For through bodily fasting you restraint our faults, raise up our minds, and bestow both virtue and its rewards, through Christ our Lord. Through him the Angels praise your majesty, Dominions adore and Powers tremble before you. Heaven and the Virtues of heaven and the blessed Seraphim worship together in exultation.


St. John Neumann – Strongsville – 3/8/17 –Chapel Mass*

Celebrant: Fr. Robert Kraig, Pastor

Gospel: LK 11:29-32

Homily Reflection: The people ask Jesus for a sign, but he’s not in the sign-making business. During Lent, the best sign we can look to is the crucifix. If all we do during Lent is sit at the foot of the cross and look to Jesus, we’ll know that we are valued and loved.

Holy Awkward Moment: So here’s a question for you: When the priest sits down after the opening prayer and it’s time for the 1st reading and he just sits there in silence and no one comes up to read…What do you do?

I lector at my own parish quite often and I was going to go up there but thought I’d better not. But then I thought, “Maybe this is why I’m here tonight?? God wants me to lector?!?” After the longest 45 seconds of my life, a man came up from the back and read. I was so relieved but also really confused. I kept thinking, “Is this typical protocol? Does the priest expect volunteers?” I think I have to go back just to see if it happens again.

Real Holy Moment: A little girl of about 5 years old was in the front row with (assuming) her parents had to sweetest voice. It’s always nice to hear the one YOUNG voice belt out the Our Father or the responsorial psalm amid the adult voices. It really feels like a community at that point because we’re all different. I even had a couple people behind me that spoke a different language. Just reiterates the point that we’re all part of the One Body of Christ.

*The only downside, so far, with the DMP is that many of these masses are held in chapels and not the main worship space. So I don’t get to see the architecture and design of them unless the lights just happen to be on and I can see in. The DMP may have to be the S(unday) Mass Project in coming years.


Next week: Although no plans are solid (are they ever?) chances are I’m going west for masses in North Ridgeville, Avon, Elyria and Sheffield Lake. Expect a post about my friend Fr. Michael Denk and his mission talk at St. Raphael in Bay Village as well. 

 

 

Week 5 CLE Daily Mass Project

This weeks theme should be entitled “All About Genesis.” The weeks 1st readings are all from Genesis and the story of creation. Finally, now that I have a thorough understanding of Theology of the Body, I can actually apply what I’ve learned to these readings and get much more out of it.

Speaking of TOB, this past week I presented, along with our transitional Deacon, a Theology of the Body/Chastity talk to our 8th Grade PSR students. Happy to report it went over very well! And the fact that we spoke for an hour and a half to 13/14 year olds and kept their attention is a feat in itself. They had excellent and thoughtful questions after it ranging from gender issues to gay marriage to co-habitation and vocations. Very smart kids these days!

Back to the Daily Mass Project…

This week: St Paschal Baylon in Highland Heights, St. Noel in Willoughby Hills, and St. Francis of Assisi in Gates Mills. Read on!


img_0383St. St. Pashcal Baylon – Thursday  February 8th – 9am

Celebrant: Fr. John Thomas Lane, Pastor

1st Reading: GN 2:18-25

Gospel: MK 7:24-30

Homily Reflections: My favorite line in all of scripture is in the first reading one that Fr. focused on during the homily:

“When he brought her to the man, the man said:
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called ‘woman,’
for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”

I just adore this passage. I told the 8th graders: “Adam looks at her with awe and wonder and exclaims those words, At last! He can see that they were made for one another. That their parts…fit.” If that’s not the most simplest definition of how and why we were made male and female, I don’t know what is.

Father also spoke about the mutual support a husband and wife give one another in partnership. He mentioned the healing power of the Eucharist and how we are all called to receive this healing as we receive the body and blood of Christ in communion.

Holy Moments: The older man sitting behind me received a hug from a woman before mass. She said she was sorry for the loss of a woman named Trudy. I assume it was his wife but didn’t want to be nosy. I thought of him during the homily and wondered if he was thinking of this Trudy woman while Fr. spoke about Eve and the creation of woman, and the spousal relationship. I thought the next best thing I could do was to just pray for Trudy’s soul when the priest mentioned all the faithful departed. I always tend to picture all my relatives who have died and their faces quickly pass through my mind as he says those words. But if I don’t have a face to go with the name, in this case, I just focus on the name itself. So Trudy, whoever she is, got some extra prayers this day.


7-20-06-393

St. Noel –  Friday February 10th – 12:00pm – Chapel Mass

img_6558
What you see as you walk into the chapel..
img_6559
The chapel itself.

I just had to take pictures of this place. Such a unique and interesting design!

Celebrant: Fr. George Smiga, Pastor

1st Reading: Genesis 3:1-8

Gospel: Mark 7:31-37

Homily Reflection: Short and sweet. Glad to hear the priest focused so much on the 1st reading about the serpent and evil entering the world. He made a point to mention that God is not responsible for evil. He has made a good world. The presence of evil is a mystery. But we know in the kingdom of heaven, evil will be destroyed. As we are here on earth, we must oppose evil in all its forms and trust in God’s promise of eternal life and and end to all evil.

Holy Moments: The entire mass was a holy moment – From the time I walked in to this little “cave-like” chapel, I felt like this was a special place. I watched an older man escort his handicapped wife to the front row of chairs. I watched two women in the corner whisper the rosary before the mass began. And as the Eucharistic prayer began, the priest invited us all to gather around the altar. Since it was such a small chapel, we could do this easily. I had the vantage point of being behind and over the left shoulder of the priest as he began the liturgy. Probably not a position I would ever be in ever again. And when it came time for the Our Father, we joined hands. Something I’ve grown to actually like instead of shy away from.

 


11904724_1022030927808132_7009978189862862595_nSt. Francis of Assisi – Saturday February 11th – 8:15AM

Celebrant: Fr. Steve Flynn, Pastor

1st Reading: Genesis 3:9-24

Gospel: Mark 8:1-10

Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes

Homily Reflection: Theme was “Grasping vs Receiving.” Couldn’t help but smile as again, this was something we discussed with the 8th graders when teaching them about Lust Vs. Love. Lust always grasps. But Love Gifts, Love Receives.  Fr. asked us to think about the  posture of Adam and Even in the garden. What did they do? They stole what was not theirs. Since today was an optional memorial for Our Lady, Father reflected on her as being the model of receptivity. She openly received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

While we’ll never be exactly like Mary, we can still rest assured that whenever we grasp, (sin) God doesn’t give up on us. Father concluded with a prayer to Jesus we can say when we are in “grasping” mode: “Help me to receive what you desire to give me.”

Holy Moments: Got a piece of the big host. Second time in one week. I think that means I’m pretty special.

Or just pretty crazy about Jesus.


Next week hasn’t been planned yet – Might be time for a quick breather and blog about the March for Life in D.C. Stay tuned!

Week 3 Daily Mass Project

This week took me to Medina and Valley City to visit Holy Martyrs, St. Francis Xavier and St. Martin of Tours. Enjoy!


holy-martyrs-church-medinajpg-bb2f7159550ca2abHoly Martyrs Friday January 13th 8:00AM – Chapel Mass

Celebrant: Pastor, Rev. Steve Dohner

Number of Attendees: 10 including me.

Gospel: Mark 2: 1-12

Homily Reflection: Father emphasized that we are all the friends in the Gospel, the friends who lower down the paralytic to be healed. But we are also the paralytic, in need of healing.

Holy Moments:  The chalice. Sounds strange but I couldn’t stop looking at it. It was this beautiful gold embossed (am I using that word right? Whatever) with wheat imagery all around it. Like the wheat was wrapped around it. I want to go back there just to ask if I can get a photo of it.

At the end of the mass, one of the women turned around and as she was leaving she said, “Thank you for visiting with us today.”  It’s nice to be noticed. Which was pretty easy since there were so few of us.

Our Father Orans Posture: Neither hands clasped Nor Orans posture – These folks went old school and we all HELD HANDS! I couldn’t help but laugh a little as I thought about sharing it on the blog.  I’m sure some people would rather not touch one another, similar to the sign of peace where people literally make the peace sign and don’t shake hands. But I would almost prefer it to the Orans Posture.


sfxcampusSt. Francis Xavier – Medina – Saturday January 14th 8:30am Mass

Celebrant: Rev. Tony Sejba

Gospel: Mark 2:13-17

Initial Thoughts: As I put in “St. Francis Xavier Medina” into Google Maps on my phone, it actually directed me to their old church on Liberty Street. So someone may want to inform Google Maps to fix that. Luckily, Medina isn’t too big so it was pretty easy to find the current St. Francis Xavier Church off of Washington.

Homily Reflection: Fr. Sejba started out by mentioning an unfortunate event that happened with our local Catholic Charities and a woman who had stolen almost 2 million dollars from it. Not a common way to begin a homily. He related it to the Gospel, which was about how Jesus came for the sinners. Specifically for those of us who are broken and in need of mercy. Especially those who are in need of forgiveness. No matter how many times someone may hurt us, no matter who causes us pain, we have to learn to forgive them, because God forgives us. How can we ask God to forgive us for the wrongs we have done and not expect the same in return? Fr. also mentioned the police officer in NYC, Steve McDonald, who passed away and was known for forgiving the man who shot him and caused his paralysis. What a story! I’m so glad I was there to hear him mention this story because it truly is a great example of forgiveness.

Holy Moments: We sung Marian hymns to open and close the mass and I noticed the prayers also mentioned Mary. I was confused because I knew it wasn’t a Marian feast day so after consulting with my super smart priest, I learned that every Saturday in Ordinary Time the priest has the option to do a memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since I rarely attend daily mass on Saturdays, I had no idea. Learn something new everyday!


martin6St. Martin of Tours – Valley City – Sunday  January 15th – 10:30am mass

Celebrant: Pastor, Rev. Thomas Dunphy

Gospel: John 1:29-34

Initial thoughts: One of my favorites so far. Immediately upon arriving I was met with a lovely woman who upon giving me a missal/hymnal, and I informed her I was a first timer to her parish. She was incredibly welcoming and told me to go visit the historic church first, which serves as their chapel for daily masses, weddings and funerals.

Here’s just a few pics I took while in there, but you would be wise to go visit it sometime.

The current “newer” church  (below) is just as beautiful but has a great blend of old/traditional mixed with modern. The choir members wore traditional choir robes. The stations of the cross were just as stunning as the ones in the historic church. There was a good blend of families mixed with older folks and even a few singles such as myself.new_church_inside_400

Initial thoughts: Fr. Dunphy was just terrific. He spoke very eloquently but casually.  Kind. Gentle. Heartfelt and sincere. His microphone wasn’t quite working so he went to fix it, accidentally turning it off after turning it on, and finally getting it to work. He looked over at the Deacon and said, “Where were you on that one? You’re supposed to be assisting me!” which got a lot of laughs from the folks in the pews. You could tell right away this was a close-knit community.

The whole homily had to be one of the best homilies I had heard in a long time. He spoke directly to the people, as if he was looking directly into their hearts. He was speaking to them as a friend. It was truly beautiful. I do think it had to be a 20 minute homily but I hung on every word. There was a time when he asked the congregation a question: “Were you baptized in the Holy Spirit?” to which everyone said Yes. He then asked, “How?” and pointed right to a young man by name in the front pew who proudly answered: “Because Jesus Christ is Lord.”

The initial message was simply: You need to get Jesus into your life. Jesus sent you here today. Simply ask Him: “Jesus, I want you to come into my life today.”

Holy Moments:  I suppose the best moments were spent in the historic church and praying and just taking it all in. I had time to reflect on this project of mine and what it means and how grateful I am to be able to do it.


Heading to the D.C. March for Life this week but the Daily Mass Project continues. Expect a nice long post about the March; it’ll be my first one and I’m very much looking forward to writing about the experience, especially in comparison to the so-called “Women’s March” on Washington last weekend.

As for the DMP in the coming weeks: I keep it local and head to St. Albert the Great and St. Charles. And I finally make good on my promise to bring someone with me to a mass. Also reflections from masses at St Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Avon and St. Mary’s in Elyria.

As always, thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Week 1 Daily Mass Project

gpp-0034

#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.

iojvck1437681770


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

dsc_0163

1st Reading: 1 John 5:5-13

Gospel: Mark 1:7-11

Celebrant: Fr. Scott Goodfellow

Assisted by: Transitional Deacon Eric Garris

Initial thoughts: Beautiful stained glass in the middle of the church. And do feel lucky that I get to see churches decorated with Christmas still before they take them all down. In the back of the church are various statues of Mary and St. Anne, St. Jude, and St. Therese among others. At the front of the church they have statues of St. Robert and St. William. I’m sure there were more but I didn’t have time to do a complete re-con. 🙂 They have a quaint Perpetual Adoration Chapel which I DID spend quite a bit of time in. What’s really different is that the monstrance is located behind glass. And so when someone leaves and there’s no one in the chapel to stay, you just draw little curtains over the glass to keep Him covered up.

As I looked around at the people for mass, I recognized 2 of the local leaders from the pro-life group 40 Days for Life in attendance. I had no idea this was their parish so it’s always kind of fun to see people you never expected to. I was also excited to hear Deacon Eric proclaim the Gospel. He’ll be ordained a priest in May this year. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know quite a few seminarians and priests. This isn’t an easy life these men sign up for and I think we all need to recognize that they all need our prayers because it’s very counter-cultural to discern these vocations. So pray for our priests, and especially those that are still discerning this vocation. We need more good priests!

Homily Reflection: Fr. Scott spoke about faith in his homily. Faith is about knowing and seeing. Faith allows us to know Him and see Him everyday in our lives and in each moment and each person we encounter.  He asked us, “How do we make faith real? And he answered the question by responding that we live “incarnately.” Thats not a real word but, I believe he meant we live as the Incarnation, as the Word was made flesh. We make faith real as baptized Catholics by living the Incarnation, recognizing that Jesus comes in the flesh to live in us and with us.

Holy Moments: No singing or chanting but bonus points for chimes during the consecration. And great conversation after the mass with my 40 Days for Life pals as well as Fr. Scott as he begins his Theology of the Body class with his 8th graders.

2 parishes down, 183 to go!

Up next week: I’m all over the place! I take advantage of a snow-free Sunday and make the trek to St. Gabriel in Mentor; St. Joe’s in Strongsville sings the Antiphons in tune, and a children’s mass in St. Clare in Lyndhurst. Read all about it here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The CLE Daily Mass Project

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist - Cleveland, Ohio
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.