Daily Mass Project – Christmas Day and the Feast of St. John the Evangelist

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Our Lady of Good Counsel – Plymouth, MI – Christmas Day Mass – 12pm

Presider: A visiting priest who probably has a lovely name but I never asked so I don’t know. #HugeFail

Gospel: MT 1:18-25

Homily Reflection: Father reflected on how it must have been an exciting time for all the holy people back when Gabriel went to Mary. As they await her answer. And then the unbelievable JOY that took place at the moment of her fiat.  As Mary goes in haste to visit Elizabeth, what does she do but brings Jesus to Elizabeth. Fast forward to the Wedding at Cana. Mary takes the waiters to Jesus. It’s what Mary does – she brings people to Jesus. When talking about the angels going to the shepherds, Fr. said that God “unleashed the angels.” They are glorifying God now at this moment.

He then mentioned to reflect on Joseph and Mary’s journey in these last days, finding no room to have their baby. They are tired and in desperate need. Maybe that’s how we’re feeling right now? Just glad that Christmas has arrived and tired instead of feeling that joy that we should be feeling. God says to let it go and rejoice! Joseph and Mary are at peace as they look at their child and don’t think about that tiresome journey it took to get there. Lastly, he said to go back in Scripture and place yourself at the scene of the nativity. “Open up your heart and soul like never before & invite Him in. Today, we celebrate His birth now and forever.”

Holy Moments: It’s Christmas Day at my home parish – The whole day was a holy moment.


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Our Lady of the Rosary – Detroit, MI – Friday December 27th – 5:30pm – Feast of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist

A true Daily Mass – A random Friday evening with about 7 of my closest friends. 😉

Presider: Fr. Marko Djonovic, Founder and Director of Better Way Detroit – a ministry that provides dignity to the homeless by offering work for pay to help beautify the city of Detroit.

Initial thoughts: I visited Holy Rosary about 8 months ago. (or maybe a year ago by now, I can’t recall). It didn’t have a crucifix and it didn’t have pews – so they’ve made vast improvement since the last time I was there.

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Homily reflection: Short and sweet. Father reminded us that John is the disciple that Jesus loved, that stayed with Jesus at the foot of the cross. He didn’t waiver in his trust and love for Jesus and that’s what God is asking us to do. To stay close and trust and love our Lord. To stand with Mary at his feet and imitate St. John in his spiritual companionship.

Holy moments: Seeing a few familiar faces in the pews. Mass was followed by adoration and confession. Not a bad way to spend a Friday night!

St. John the Evangelist, pray for us!


Up next week – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God at my friend’s house – Yes, we had a private mass at her house in her chapel and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Daily Mass Project Returns – 2nd & 3rd Week of Advent

Merry Christmas to you all. It’s been almost two months since my last post and as I’ve mentioned before, I despise it when people have blogs and only blog literally a few times a year. Irks me to no end.

I have gone back and forth about completely deleting the site. But then something happens and I’m back to blogging on a temporary basis.

I have also expressed a few times that nothing made me happier than to do The Daily Mass Project almost 3 years ago now. 85 parishes in a year and a half and it was absolutely the most fun, most fulfilling project I have done. And it’s STILL on the bucket list to convert all the blog entries into a PDF or ebook or an actual book. Someday…

It was something that gave this site some purpose and I know a few friends had asked if I would ever start it up again here in Detroit. There’s really no way it can happen on a regular basis, BUT, I am going to try to blog about the masses I do make it to that aren’t at my home parish of OLGC. And it turns out, with Advent and Christmas and New Years, I have already attended a handful that could use a little blog.

So for the next few weeks, I hope you enjoy this temporary resurrection of the DMP.


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St. John Neumann – Canton, MI – Second Sunday of Advent – December 8th 2019, 6pm

Celebrant: Fr. Mark Livingston, Pastor

I first visited SJN almost a year ago and wrote about that mass here.

This time, since it was a Sunday mass and not a daily, the experience was much different.

1st Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10

2nd Reading: Romans 15:4-9

Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12

Initial thoughts:  It struck me as a parish that’s very similar to OLGC (where I belong) in that there are projector screens that advertise upcoming events and such. There are cards in each pew that encourage you to take notes during the homily, and the cantor announced at the beginning to “greet your neighbor and ask if they have a prayer request.”

Well, I introduced myself to my pew neighbors and asked the people behind me if they have any prayer intentions and they both said, “No. But thanks for asking!” I couldn’t help but laugh a little because I was kind of hoping THEY would ask me what MY prayer intentions were. And I had a big one so I thought well, God knows my heart so I’ll just keep this intention to myself.

So this was the first mass I was using my new Every Sacred Sunday journal and it has been well worth the money. There’s space to take notes for the homily but there’s also space to write prayers of thanksgiving and another space for your prayer intentions. There’s also room to do some Lectio Divina with all of the readings too. So for any hubbies out there looking for a belated Christmas gift for your wives….Just sayin!

Homily Reflection: Fr. Mark emphasized 3 aspects of who we are in regards to the readings: Baptized, Chosen and Temples of the Holy Spirit.

Baptism: Individually and collectively we members of the Body of Christ and John the Baptist baptism was about emptying ourselves. Jesus’ baptism is about emptying completely and being filled up with Him.

As far as being Chosen, all of us have been chosen by God. All are called, but maybe some unbaptized people haven’t placed themselves up for adoption. (I loved that point!)

We know we are all filled with the Holy Spirit and all of the gifts and graces that the Lord has given us. But why? So we can live the life for heaven and be with Him forever. God doesn’t want us to live a quasi-happy life. We are to live the life of heaven, NOW.  Sometimes we don’t feel like we’re living heaven now. So that’s when we need to ask for healing and come back to the Sacraments. To repent and ask the Lord to stir a flame in us. Father then mentioned that he pictures us all with tongues of fire above our heads and to pray to give us MORE of that. “Make the temple shine! Stir a flame in me! Re-inkindle all your gifts in me and help me to live in your light and truth.”

Holy Moments: Right before the Eucharistic preface, Father Mark asked us to focus on what was about to happen; to place all of our petitions and prayers right there at the altar to be transformed and to focus on what God is trying to say to us. I think it may have been one of the best masses as far as keeping my attention fixated on every word he spoke. I think it also helps sometimes, when we are at mass that isn’t our “normal” parish. I find it easier to drift in daydream land when I’m in a familiar place.

He also mentioned in the homily (or at some point because I wrote it down) to picture Jesus before us and ask Him to speak a word of love to us after we receive Holy Communion. I’ll keep mine to myself but let’s just say, that’s now my new favorite post-communion prayer.

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So someone needs to ask Fr. Mark or someone at SJN what the meaning is behind this stained glass window. Inquiring minds want to know. My money is on that it’s an homage to the working class and that’s St. Joseph the Worker. Right? Maybe?


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St. Frances Cabrini – Allen Park, MI – Third (Gaudete) Sunday of Advent – 8am

Celebrant: Fr. Steve Mateja assisted by Fr. Luis Flores, Permanent Deacon

1st Reading: Isaiah 35:1-6A, 10

2nd Reading: James 5:7-10

Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11

Initial thoughts: I’ve been here before but not for an 8am mass. The set up is a little odd with rows of pews on all sides facing the sanctuary. And apparently no one likes to sit in the first few rows of any Catholic Church because they were bare up until 10 minutes to 8. And even then just a handful of folks sat in them.  I love the silence of an 8am mass. Literally counted 2 children in attendance. Awesome.

Homily Reflection: (Given by Deacon Luis) I was hoping for a homily given by Fr. Steve since he’s being sent to a parish in Macomb County in town called Armada. I’m told that’s very far away. And looking at Google maps right now, it is confirmed: It’s super far away. So since we wouldn’t be seeing him until a long-distance Daily Mass Project in the spring perhaps, this was my chance to hear him preach. Alas, it was not to be. But, the Deacon gave a nice homily and had I known I’d be blogging about it, I would have taken better notes. Overall, the theme was rejoicing and joy, considering it was Gaudete Sunday. He says (and I’m just guessing that he’s right) that the word “rejoice” appears in the bible over 300 times. He also mentioned the difference between being happy and being joyful. Happiness is the feeling we get whereas joy is based on faith, and faith is a gift from God. Joy comes from the heart and God won’t take that away from us. God has this amazing love for us that should compel us to pray everyday, “Lord, use me in whatever way is needed.”

Holy Moment: Not so much a holy moment as much as just funny that during the sign of peace, I was SO FAR AWAY from people, these pews are ridiculously long and people are SO spread out, that no one made their way over to me to give the sign of peace, we all just sorta gave that look that says, “Oh hey, peace be with you, I’m sure you’re a great person but you are just so darn far away and I just don’t feel like making the effort to take the 10 steps to walk over to shake your hand and you may be sick anyways and I don’t want to catch whatever it is you have so peace be with you okay?” 🙂

I just happened to read one of Fr. Steve’s last bulletin entries a few days before and in it he said that upon his arrival there a year ago, he had asked everyone to pray one Hail Mary a day for him specifically. I guess a lot of the parishioners kept that promise. And so now I am trying to say one Hail Mary for Fr. Steve, especially during this time of transition.

You should all be praying for our priests, by the way. And if you aren’t, get on it. They need them and WE need them.

Here’s a great one from the CLE diocese that’s a prayer for priests and seminarians:

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St. John Vianney, patron of priests and seminarians, pray for us!


Next week: I visit 3 familiar parishes in Cleveland – Church of the Holy Angels in Bainbridge, St. Albert the Great in North Royalton and St. Charles Borromeo in Parma.

Close Encounters, Last Chance Mass and a Lesson on the Basilians

St. John Neumann – Canton, MI – January 2nd

Celebrant: Fr. Manny Chircop, CSB (Congregation of St. Basil) – Appropriate he was the celebrant on this, the feast day of St. Basil “and some other guy.” 🙂

Initial Thoughts: I saw the words “Established 1978” on the wall as I walked in to the gathering space. But as I walked into the worship space I thought, “No. There is no way this place looked like THIS in 78.” Turns out, SJN did indeed have a reconstruction revamp about a year ago. I would be curious as to what it looked like prior to this, but needless to say, it looks very up-to-date and modern. Lots of natural light.

Homily Reflection: Fr. Manny apologized for going “off script” but he couldn’t let this feast day go by without a word about the Basilian Fathers, which is his order. So the homily was about his experience with this order and how he came to join them. In a nutshell, he was a teacher at an inner city school, they were looking for a place to have a retreat, found a retreat center in Pontiac, Michigan run by Basilians, he was so impressed with how they ran the retreat that he joined the retreat house and then later, joined the order.

He was most impressed with how the Basilians tried to blend in with most of the laity. They didn’t wear a collar nor any outstanding garb that would make them stand out as Fathers. They didn’t push their values on anyone. They didn’t want anyone thinking that they were better than anyone else.

Fr. relayed this back to the Gospel by saying that John the Baptist could have taken on a high and mighty role/attitude – But he was not there for himself – he was there for the people, as if to say, “No, don’t pay attention to me, pay attention to the one who is to come.” Fr. concluded by asking us to pray for this group of men, the Basilians, to remain humble and simple, to educate and to teach in school and in all walks of life and to continue to inspire young men to their order.

Holy Moments: Fr. asked before the end of mass if there were any birthdays or anniversaries that day. A woman behind me, named Sarah, was pointed out and so the whole congregation sang Happy Birthday to her. A sweet idea!


26231970_928056427362721_5702370253614707561_oEncounter Ministries Conference – Christ The King- Ann Arbor – January 4th, 5th and 6th

Forgive the longevity of this experience but I promise this is the shortest I could make it:

I’m not even sure where to begin but I will just say this was my very first experience at Christ The King, which is a charismatic parish in Ann Arbor. Encounter Ministries is described as a ministry that “exists to train and equip disciples to manifest the love and power of the Holy Spirit in their own sphere of influence.”

I heard about this particular conference on social media and at the urging of a friend, and after seeing my pastor, Fr. John Riccardo as well as Dr. Mary Healy listed as keynote speakers, I registered. I didn’t even do any research on Encounter Ministries prior to registering, except for watching this YouTube video of Fr. Mathias a couple of days prior.

The first night of the conference was Thursday night. I saw a ton of people from my own parish of OLGC but I actually ran into a young adult friend from Cleveland, who was there with many of her classmates from the University of Akron. After speaking with her for several minutes, I found a seat next to my good friend Karen. I told her this was my first time at something like this and she remarked that I was “going to be fully immersed in the Holy Spirit,” or something to that effect. I was really excited and just prayed for continued receptivity to whatever I was going to experience.

 

Fr. Mathias began the evening by speaking on sort of an “Intro to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit” but also spoke about his own journey and how he felt called to a healing ministry. He made several references to Scripture from the book of Acts but wanted to focus more on getting the message that this is for everyone, not just for extroverts or missionaries. Everyone needs the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. He asked us to think about the apostles BEFORE and then AFTER Pentecost = Before, they were afraid, they hid and they denied. But AFTER, they couldn’t shut up! Without Pentecost, there’s no power and there’s no evangelization. The same is true today.

And so that’s what he called us to – a New Pentecost for a New Evangelization, a renewed desire for prayer, for praise, to read Scripture, to share the gospel, more victory over sin, a desire for community and most of all – JOY.

There was a lot more that was said but those are as far as my notes got me. He then asked us to bow our heads and he was going to baptize us in the Holy Spirit. I’m still a little confused as to this whole thing but all I know is I almost immediately started crying as soon as he asked us to bow our heads. It came out of nowhere. But then it wasn’t so much sadness as much as it was repentance, or at least a feeling of repentance. Fr. was speaking words into the mic but I can’t recall all the phrases he was saying, I just remember feeling a sense of tingling and warmth coming over me.

A short time later we were instructed to have the person next to us pray over us. So that meant Karen laid hands on me and prayed over me. I felt that same warmth and although I didn’t shed tears, I felt like God was trying to say something. I even felt, at one point, like I was weightless, almost like I could float away any minute. VERY strange but a GOOD strange. Luckily, Karen seems to have some gifts that the Lord has blessed her with and said that she felt the Lord asking me to praise him out loud (more). I don’t really praise God as much as I thank God out loud. But I thought, if this is what the Lord is asking me to do, then I’ll be obedient to that. So if that was the only message I was to receive the entire Encounter conference, I was content with that. I mean, God has given me the gift of gab. He wants me to speak His name more? I can definitely do that. 😉

Friday night was Fr. John’s turn to give his talk. I would categorize it as a call to back to reality.  It was a nice balance, I think. He started out discussing the famous Rublev icon of The Trinity, which he’s given a homily on before, here (around the 5:30 mark) . He then discussed Matthew 9:35-38. Jesus has compassion – meaning internal turmoil. Why this response? Because we are like sheep without a shepherd – meaning we are torn, weary, ripped apart, mangled, helpless, tossed aside, thrown down. Before he discussed what Jesus did, he mentioned exactly what Jesus doesn’t do:

He doesn’t throw his hands up in frustration

He doesn’t yearn for the good old days

He doesn’t vent on social media

He doesn’t condemn those who are lost

He doesn’t act – He tells the disciples to pray for HIM to act and to reclaim His creation. But only if we’ll be the kinds of laborers He has in mind.

After a brief reflection on St. Francis of Assisi, Fr. John then went into details of why some people are not healed. Why do some people suffer? Why does the Lord allow this to go on? In his opinion, (and I concur) he said that perhaps God wants to conform us to His Son, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. If we all long for an encounter of His love, then how far do we go? How much do we look like Jesus? Do we have the Sacred Heart of Jesus? And what does that look like? Fr. remarked that to have the heart of Jesus means you are present, you are attentive to the needs of others, you express care and concern for the other. He asked us to pray to God and show us: “How far is my heart from Jesus?”

Saturday, Dr. Mary Healy spoke before the vigil mass. Her talk was AMAZING.  She spoke about so many things but my favorite part, aside from an unexpected reference to the movie The Bourne Identity, was her explanation of the Prodigal Son. She talked about the older son/brother and how we as a Church can sometimes have that same attitude towards others, especially those who are new. How can we help the lost if this is our mentality? And here was the kicker question: “What if the prodigal son would have ran into the older brother and NOT the Father as he came home?” What if that’s what it’s like when someone approaches US? Are we like the Father or are we like the older brother? Wow. Convicted much?  I could sit and marinate on that for hours.

Fr. Ed, the pastor of Christ the King, gave a great homily on Saturday but for some reason, I didn’t take notes. You would think, my first charismatic mass but no notes. Not one! Big time fail on my part.

After mass was dinner in which I made a fool of myself gushing over Dr. Healy for the second time so that was nice and embarrassing for me. After dinner, was the big Worship session followed by testimonials from 3 different people.

All of their experiences were different but the underlying theme was “I wasn’t so sure about this. I had my misgivings/doubts, but I knew God wanted me to use this gift.”  I had no reason to doubt their personal experiences of healing others. But a very small part of me, thought “This is good for them, but I’m not so sure that’s my gift.”  I would LOVE to be able to pray over someone and heal them but is this really a gift that God grants to all of us? Even if we ask for it? Something to think about…

To conclude, if Fr. Mathias desired for all of us there to have a personal Pentecost so we can have the courage to share our experiences with others, then I would say that desire was met in me: I experienced a personal Pentecost of the Father affirming me in my identity of being a beloved daughter, I’m using the gifts He has given me, especially with regards to teaching, and He is pleased with what I’ve done so far. He wants me to openly praise Him more often, to remember that all that happens is because He wants union, and that all the work He has done in my life is due to my obedience to His will, not my own. All glory to Him! 


St. John’s Chapel – 7pm – Sunday January 14th

Celebrant: Fr. Walt

Initial Thoughts: This chapel is part of a large retreat center and banquet hall, hence the long and narrowness (is that a word?) of the layout. I’ve grown accustomed to sitting across from one another since this is the same set up as the chapel at Domino’s Farms. I walked in 30 minutes early so was able to get the pictures, although there are better ones on their website .

Something I noticed right away was there was no crucifix, but I happened to be sitting across from the 12th Station of the Cross, so I gazed on that for awhile. I was trying to figure out who exactly comes to this last chance mass (which, I found out is NOT the last chance mass in the area – apparently there’s a 9pm in the area). But it was a pretty packed chapel with various types – singles, couples, families, older. A true variety pack.

Homily Reflection: A month from today we’ll be in Lent! Today’s readings remind us to be be still and allow ourselves time to get away from the noise. Not just the audible noise but the noise we see, like social media feeds and Instagram photos and news headlines on the tv and internet. Samuel, in the first reading, quieted his heart so God could speak to Him and that’s what we are called to do during this Ordinary Time.

In the Gospel, we hear Jesus’ very first words he spoke. He asked a question: “What are you looking for?” Well, what are WE looking for? Jesus tells the apostles, “Come and see.” He extends the invitation into His life. They could hear and see clearly because they were receptive, and that’s what we are called to be as well.

Holy Moments: The cantor and the music minister on the piano were both outstanding! I don’t know if it’s because this place has awesome acoustics or what, but both were really pleasing to listen to. You know how you can tell someone is smiling as they are singing? I think she was that way, especially for the final song.

If I ever want to end my weekend on a high note, especially in the evening, I’m coming back to St. John’s, most definitely.

Until next time…


Daily Mass Project Wrap Up 2017

The final tally is 82 parishes/masses that I made it to in 2017. 58 of those were in the Diocese of Cleveland, the rest were in Detroit and then a few in cities that I was visiting including East Lansing, Notre Dame, Elkhart, Sanibel, D.C., and Toledo. Of course, I went to daily mass more than 82 times in the year, but only blogged about 82 of the experiences.

In talking to some friends just yesterday about the DMP, they remarked that it was amazing that I could remember details about each one. They asked how was I able to retain all of that information. I responded that it helped that I wrote it all down. But the best memories I didn’t really need to write down, but I’m glad I did! From meeting Henry the hugger at St. Jude’s in Elyria, to crashing a wedding with my friend Kristen at Sweetest Heart of Mary, to finding out that I heard one of the last homilies given by Fr. Dunphy at St. Martin of Tours, and witnessing my friend’s Fr. Jim and Fr. Anthony say their first masses as newly ordained priests, this was quite the year and quite the project. And it’s one I’m happy to continue for as long as I’m able.

I took it upon myself to make a little Wrap-Up/Best of the Best post. I’m sure those who have visited other parishes will have a different opinion on my “awards” and to those people I will say, “My blog, my rules.”  🙂

Top 3 Holy Moments:

1. Receiving a traveler’s blessing from Fr. Jim Cosgrove – St. Christopher – Rocky River

On the day I was leaving to move to Plymouth, my dear friend Fr. Jim gave me a blessing in front of the whole congregation.

2. Two 7th grade girls singing Pie Jesu –  Sacred Heart – Wadsworth –

Thankfully I was able to record a good portion of it. I get the goosebumps listening to it. These young girls did so well. I would bet they will grow up to be gifted cantors.

3. St Hugo of the Hills – Bloomfield Hills, MI– Witnessing the Renewal of Vows of Dolores and Raymond, two people I’ve never met. But what a beautiful witness of 50 years of marriage!

Best Singing/Hymn:

St. Bartholomew – Middleburgh Heights – “How Great Thou Art”

All 4 stanzas and every single one sung with the same enthusiasm as the first. And this is coming from not only the choir, but the congregation. No one left early. My all-time favorite singing moment.

Best “Flatware:”

Holy Martyrs – Medina

I don’t know if anyone ever notices the chalice and the ciborium but I’m telling you, if you would have seen these at Holy Martyrs, you’d be impressed. You’ll have to take my word for it.

The Breathtaker:

Sweetest Heart Of Mary – Detroit

Best Homily Reflection:

St. Martin of Tours – Fr. Thomas Dunphy

Best Exterior Design:

Cathedral of the Holy Rosary – Toledo

Best Interior Design:

Category – Chapel – Holy Angels – Bainbridge

Category – Worship Space – St. Michael – Independence

Category – Stations of the Cross (Indoors) – St. Martin of Tours – Valley City

Category – Stations of the Cross (Outdoors) – Malvern Retreat Center – Malvern, PA

Category – Baptismal Font – Resurrection – Solon

Category – Best Use of Stained Glass – Assumption – Broadview Heights

Category – Best Stained Glass DesignSt. Sebastian – Akron

Category – Best Use of a Small Space – St. Patrick- (Bridge Ave) – Cleveland

Category – Best Sanctuary – Communion of Saints – University Heights

Category – Most “Awe”-some Crucifix – St. Albert the Great – North Royalton

Best Small Town Feel:

St Thomas the Apostle – Sheffield Lake

The Church I Wish Was In My Backyard:

St. Martin of Tours – Valley City

The Once-In-A-Lifetime Mass:

Ford Field – Beatification of Solanus Casey

The One Where I Felt Closest to God:

All.


There you have it! DMP 2017 wrapped up and now we are on to 2018.

I’ll be attending the churches of all churches as I travel to the Holy Land for EASTER. It’s going to be life-changing, no doubt.

As for the future, I’m so excited to continue on this little project of mine here in Detroit. But CLE will always be my home. I do plan on making frequent visits back so I can check a few more parishes off the list.

Happy 2018!

Daily Mass Project: MisADVENTures

Saint Columbkille – Parma, OH – Saturday 12/9

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I don’t think it would be fair to do a tried and true Daily Mass Project blog post on dear St. Columbkille because I took zero notes on the day I attended. I have fond memories of this parish growing up. I seem to remember attending an evening mass or two here or maybe we went when our parents just wanted to go someplace different than our home parish? I just know I would stare at that back wall behind the hanging crucifix. I couldn’t find a picture of the interior but you can tell from the outside photo here…

colum2…that the roof slopes. I would just look up and be mesmerized by it. It was unlike anything I had seen.

I also remember thinking it was a little strange to see the Gospel writers names unevenly placed on the wall. And “Matt??” Really?

Other than that, the last time I went to mass here was when I graduated high school in 1996. And it has stayed pretty much the exact same. 🙂

One nagging question remains:  Just who the heck was St. Columbkille anyways? What kind of a name is that?

His name, Google tells me, was Columb. He was born in Ireland. And he was a gifted poet and musician. After he became a monk…

…he had founded no less than 27 Irish monasteries, including those at Derry, Durrow, and Kells, as well as some 40 churches. His work for the Church gained him the addition of “kille” to his name. Columb means “dove” in Gaelic and kille is “church”, so he came to be known as the “church’s dove.”

The more you know…


Saint Michael – Independence, OH- 4th Sunday of Advent

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It’s probably not fair to attend churches during Advent because I really want to crown this one as my favorite in Cleveland that I went to this year. It’s just the perfect size: Not too small, not too big, just the right amount of decor, the stained glass is in these muted colors and not super “rainbow bright,” (just checking to see if my buddy Dennis is reading this). The stations of the cross were simple but really beautiful…IMG-8689

The only thing I noticed is that for a church that is named St. Michael, I didn’t see any actual statue of St. Michael. Unless I am missing it?? I did see this icon:

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But I’m partial to statues. 🙂  He may have been in a Stained Glass window that I didn’t see. I was particularly in love with this one:

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Celebrant: Fr. Peter Colletti

Initial Thoughts: Besides what I just said, I was greeted by this super friendly priest who as he walked up and down the aisle before mass; Overall it has a family and warm vibe from the get-go. I suppose it could have just been because of the occasion but I got the sense it’s always like this.

The bulletin was the hymnal and the missal! Innovative! And no worries about people scrambling to find the page numbers for songs. IMG-8696

And the tabernacle…Assuming those angels are always there? Beautiful! IMG-8698

Homily Reflection: Despite having almost no voice to speak (not a good thing for a pastor to have the flu/get sick for Christmas!) Fr. gave a great summary of the first reading from 2 Samuel about King David and building a house for God. I gotta say, I probably would have zoned out but this is the number one reason people should read the readings a week ahead of time before going to mass: I had listened to Bishop Robert Barron’s podcast for this Sunday and heard his explanation of this 1st reading. It really helps because he puts it in plain language. If I hadn’t, I think I would have tuned out this first part of his homily because let’s be honest – We hear the first reading and if we have no clue what it means, we will lose interest within seconds (at least I do, especially if I haven’t read them ahead of time).

Long story short: David tells God “I’ll build you a house” and God is like, “You’re gonna make a house for ME? No. I’m going to make a house for YOU!” No one outdoes God on His gifts to us.

Fr. Peter then went on to talk about the Annunciation (the Gospel) and how he used to picture Mary “bowing” to the Angel Gabriel. But as he came to understand the Annunciation, he now believes Gabriel bowed to Our Lady.  He brought God’s proposal to her. “Can you imagine God proposing to a human being,” he asked.

He continued:

“The angel is here today and through Mary’s intercession we have a few more hours until Christmas. God bows before you and me, mere sinners, and asks “What about you?” Will you let religion go beyond something mechanical and allow yourself to be taken by God? He offers Himself to us as His very food. He waits…and Mary prays.”

And he concluded his homily leading us in a Hail Mary.


Saint Kenneth – Plymouth, MI – Tuesday – 12/26 – Feast of St. Stephen

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Celebrant: Fr. Tom Belczak

Initial Thoughts: A whole church to myself? Don’t mind if I do!

I arrived 45 minutes before mass started. Got some of these great pictures and proceeded to sit down and have some alone time with Jesus.

After awhile, a woman slid down the pew behind me and asked if I was new to the parish. “Nope, I just go to OLGC and live down the street and thought I’d give St. Kenneth a little visit today.”

She informed me that they say the rosary before mass and it looks like it’s just her and I so would I mind praying with her? Came to find out her name is Betty and she was SUCH a God-send. Of course, everyone has a story. I loved meeting her and talking to her after mass. Turns out she attends OLGC a couple times a week so she and I will see each other again.

We began the mass with the devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help; again, something I had never heard of until I moved here and started at OLGC. Parishioners at OLGC do this every Saturday morning after mass. Fr. Tom mentioned this in the homily…

Homily Reflection: Jesus isn’t just a baby; there will be suffering and trials and separations of families over the Lord.

The first reading is like a teaser/cliffhanger – Who is this Saul person and why should we care? Well, obviously, we’ll find out later that Saul is Paul after he has his conversion. We know that St. Stephen prayed for his persecutors, and that means Saul was being prayed for in that very moment.

How do we put Jesus’s journey of faith into our lives so that when obstacles come, can we still have the peace of Christ in our lives?

Referring to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Fr. Tom remarked that this was a popular Tuesday night devotional for him growing up. He said it was the only thing that was in English, so they went to it all the time!

But the best explanation of why we would pray this devotional, he said: “You know how when you’re little and you want to do something, you ask Dad and He says no? So what do you? You go and ask Mom for help.”

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us!


I may do a 2017 Daily Mass Project “Wrap-Up” post so stay tuned!

 

Screaming Babies, Losing Breviaries and Bishop Wisdom – Daily Mass Project

Assumption Grotto Church – Detroit, MI- December 8th -Feast of the Immaculate Conception – Tridentine Mass

Founded in 1832, this is the second oldest parish in the city of Detroit.

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Celebrant: Fr. Perrone

Initial Thoughts: Ahhhh I love a good Latin mass. I was recently gifted a chapel veil so I was happy to have an excuse to wear it. I didn’t get any close up shots of the sanctuary or the stained glass but I remember just staring at those two windows up in the front and thinking what vivid colors! They reminded me (and yes this is a silly memory) but they reminded me of Rainbow Brite. And that reminded me of my childhood. And THAT reminded me of being a child at mass. Just made me feel nostalgic for the past. When the mass is being said in a language you don’t understand, there’s probably no better time than to have some of these “holy moments.”

I never tire of the reverence at these masses. It’s such an experience. I wish I could adequately put into words how these masses make me feel but I suppose that’s not really the point. It’s an experience of God that really can’t be articulated.

Homily Reflection: The only part in English. And it was stellar. I don’t know if you can call it a homily as much as you can call it a Exegesis. I was furiously taking notes but re-reading them now, they don’t make sense so I’m not even going to try.

So how about you just take a look at the pictures of their Marian shrine? 🙂

Apparently this is the oldest outdoor Marian shrine in Michigan:


St. Ambrose – Brunswick, OH – 12pm – 2nd Sunday of Advent

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Celebrant: Fr. Adam Zajac

Gospel: Mark 1:1-8

I realize I’ve already blogged about this parish already but this was my first SUNDAY mass.

Quick Notes: Lots of singing at different parts that I wasn’t used to. Of course, I didn’t take any notes on that so now I can’t remember. But I believe they sang “Alleluia” AFTER the Gospel as well as before. And they sang “Lord hear our Prayers” (unless I’m getting my churches confused) after each petition.

Holy Moments: A man and a woman sat down directly behind me in the pews with their two granddaughters. They warned me ahead of time saying: “This is the first time we’ve brought the little ones to mass. So we’ll see how it goes!” The girls were adorable. Probably around ages 18 months and maybe 3. I categorize it as a “Holy Moment” because somehow, God gave me the patience to endure a total meltdown by the smaller girl right at the Eucharistic prayer. I felt worse for the grandparents who did a terrific job but couldn’t possibly have foreseen this little one tripping and falling in the pews (probably got stuck between the kneeler and the pew like so many kids do). They were troopers though. Gratefully, she calmed down by the time communion came around. I always think of how, although we would all admit that we can easily become distracted by “all those crying babies” at Church, the real kudos goes to the parents and grandparents who bring them. I will never give an eyeroll or a nasty look to a parent trying to wrangle their kids at mass. We should be happy and overjoyed to see the pews filled with babies and kids! I’ve grown to enjoy it. (The babies and the kids, not the crying or screaming part). 😉

Homily Reflection:  I wrote down a couple of lines that stuck out to me although you can read his entire homily here.

God is coming into our lives in a new and radical way, in a real and meaningful sense. We must realize that we pushed him out in a real and meaningful sense. Now is the time to acknowledge that we need him. We were made for more than the brokenness of this world.  

Amen Father!


St. Basil – Brecksville, OHClaimed by Love Young Adult Conference – Saturday Morning Mass with Aux. Bishop Roger Gries; Lunch and Adoration with Bishop Nelson Perez – December 17th

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I was honored to be asked to be a part of this Young Adult Conference called Claimed By Love. It was the first YA conference in many years in the Cleveland Diocese and over 130 YA’s ages 18-35 attended. I was asked to be on the vocations panel as a Breakout session. I represented the Single vocation although I did answer questions on my discernment journey of Consecrated Virginity since it’s not well-known vocation. There was also a brother, a seminarian, a married couple and two religious sisters. A great opportunity to hear other vocation stories as well as answer questions from the “kids,” as I call the young adults.

Before all of this, Bishop Gries led us in the Saturday morning mass. Sadly, I didn’t take any notes on his beautiful homily which was a shame because he really had some great reflections on the gospel. (Bad job outta me!)

Fortunately, I did have some great things to write down from a mini-reflection from newly installed Bishop Nelson Perez later on that afternoon during some time of adoration:

He reflected on the 2nd reading for that Sunday which was 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, which says:

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophetic utterances.
Test everything; retain what is good.
Refrain from every kind of evil.

May the God of peace make you perfectly holy
and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will also accomplish it.

Bishop Perez said we could spend an entire day just praying with that reading. He mentioned that no matter what our vocation is, we need to continue to listen to the Lord. To let God do the talking as we listen and wonder “What is God asking of me?” Because it’s not what WE want. It’s what God wants for us. As a baby, one of the first things we learn to say is “I want.” We’re always reaching as babies for what it is we want. But we have to grow out of that as adults. We can’t always say “I want, I want.” Because it might not be what God wants for us.

There was a lot grace poured out at this conference, including a really emotional and powerful testimony from the keynote speaker, Ron Nowak. I would say their first conference was a success and I know they intend to do more in the future. Our Young Adult community in the Catholic Church is very much overlooked, I feel, so it was really great to see them appreciated and to see an event *just* for them.


St Basil the Great – 7:30am – Gaudete Sunday

Nope, that’s not a typo. I went to the same church the following day for the Sunday mass. Honestly I went because I thought (and still believe) I left my breviary there in the pews the day before. Alas, no one turned it in. It was really bothering me because all 4 volumes were gifted to me by my good friend Ivi a year ago and they’ve made such a difference in my prayer life. I like PAPER and BOOKS. Praying with the iBreviary App is just not the same. It’s okay though because the more I thought about it, the more I realized that all my “precious books” are gifts. Everything is on loan. None of it is mine. So, whoever has my Breviary, I pray you find it to be fruitful for you. (I still have the other 3 volumes, so this isn’t the end of the world). But it’s the principle of the thing. I hate losing anything, especially when it was gifted to me.  Moving on…

Celebrant: Fr. Walt Jenne, Pastor

Initial Thoughts:  “Why am I here so early?” I don’t think I’ve ever attended a Sunday mass earlier than 9am in my life.

Two things that were of interest to me: A monthly prayer from Fr. Walt is prayed before each mass. This one was for Family Healing. The rest are listed here:

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And the names of those in the military and those who are sick are on a banner!

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I noticed they weren’t listed in the bulletin which is my personal preference because you can easily pick it up and read the names to pray for them. But, it is pretty special to see a name on the banner in the worship space, especially if it’s someone you know personally.

Before mass we were asked to stand up and greet one another. My pew neighbor was a man by the name of Scott. Super friendly and hospitable. In fact, Fr. Walt noted that many of the parishioners who join St. Basil’s say it’s because they are drawn to the hospitality of its members.

A little bit on that: Yes yes yes! The past two parishes that I’ve joined since my “reversion” I joined in part because they made me feel welcomed and appreciated from the moment I stepped into the door. I can’t tell you how key it is to have greeters at the Church doors. It sounds so minor (we don’t go to Church to be greeted) but it’s just like a company. I’ve had a ton of receptionist jobs where I was told over and over “You are the face of the company. The way you answer the phone or greet the client/customer when they walk in the door sets the tone for the rest of their experience.” When compared to a Church where no one looks you in the eye and there’s zero “warmth,” not even an acknowledgement of your presence, I’m joining the one that acknowledges my dignity as a child of God.

Homily Reflection: “God uses the anointed. God chooses to work thru those who are anointed (we are all baptized, therefore we are anointed) to accomplish great things. But this is totally dependent on what we DO with what we are given.”  Fr. proceeded to tell the story of the barber who cuts the hair of autistic and disable children. His story went viral when the mother of an autistic boy took a photo of him on the floor with her son.

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The barber, Franz Jacob was quoted as saying,  “I’m taking great pride doing this. It’s really an honor.”  Fr Walt said that this is a story of what what we do with the gifts we are given to be instruments of God. 


I have officially lost count of the parishes I made it to in Cleveland. I will attempt to get a final count after next weekend when my final one for the year (in CLE) will be the Spanish mass at Sacred Heart in Lorain. My buddy Fr. Mike is the celebrant and having yet to attend a mass in a language other than English (or Latin) I thought why not!

And finally, a shout out to my buddy Brian in Brecksville who has hit the 100 Churches mark. Well done my friend! Only 85 more to go to hit all of them in Cleveland!

 

 

 

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

Be a Saint

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


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

Celebrant: Fr. Mike Loyson

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Sleep in On Saturdays

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

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

 

Initial Reaction: Wow.

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

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

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


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