This week: St. Gabriel in Mentor, St. Joe’s in Strongsville, and St. Clare in Lyndhurst.
Parish #3 – St. Gabriel – Mentor – Sunday January 8th – Feast of the Epiphany 5pm
1st Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6
2nd Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
Gospel: Matthew 2: 1-12
Celebrant: Fr. Michael Denk
Assisted by: Deacon Bob Gurczik
Number of Attendees for a 5pm Sunday mass: Outstanding!
Immediately I feel like this parish is incredibly welcoming. Maybe it just appears to be larger than it is but all I know is I have never seen a 5pm mass on a Sunday so packed! It was awesome to witness. Everyone seemed pretty joyful and happy to be there. As soon as I sat down I noticed the choir was made up of a variety of people as well as a few young girls who happily announced where we could find the songs in the hymnal. I didn’t even care that the little girl pronounced Epiphany as “Effany.” Adorable!
Homily Reflection: Fr. Denk has his own website, The Prodigal Father, and he puts his homilies online. So I can “cheat” on this one and copy and paste my favorite part, which was this: Have you had some kind of experience in your life that makes you want to yearn for more? If you have, are you still seeking? Are you still seeking with all of your heart? Because, ultimately, if we are not thrill seekers or Christ seekers, we are going to lead very boring monotonous lives. If we are Christ seekers, we are going to discover the more and more we experience Him, the more and more we are going to long for Him.
If I’m not a Christ-seeker, I sure don’t know what the heck I am! Because I think even a blind person could see that I’m seeking Christ everyday. And my life ain’t boring, that’s for sure. It’s truly amazing and I do wish everyone had this longing to seek Him out.
Holy Moments: I recognized one of the Eucharistic Ministers as a young man who was on the team for a TEC Retreat I made exactly a year ago. Totally random and a complete God-incidence. Also, after every 5pm mass on Sundays, St. Gabriel has Eucharistic Adoration for an hour and 45 minutes followed by Night Prayer and Benediction. It became obvious not everyone knew this was happening, either because they didn’t read the bulletin or just never come to this particular mass. So you could see some confused looks on people’s faces. I am a relative newbie to Adoration (just about a year steady) so I’m happy to see parishes making a point to do this after mass/weekly for people to have some alone time with Jesus.
Our Father Orans Posture: I saw MANY Orans poses and MANY people holding hands. Looks like I’m in the minority once again as a “hands folded” poser.
Parish #4 – St. Joseph – Stronsgville – Monday January 9th – Baptism of the Lord – 6:30pm mass – Chapel
1st Reading: Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7
Celebrant: Fr. Anthony Suso
Assisted by: Deacon Robert Lester
I LOVE chapel masses! It makes me think of when my Mom took me to daily mass as a toddler at St. Anthony’s in Parma, before they built the church that is there now. But it’s also nice to be in a small setting with just a couple dozen people.
Homily Reflection: Deacon Robert had the homily and mentioned there are actually 3 Epiphanies: The Epiphany Feast on Sunday of the Magi, the Baptism of the Lord that we celebrate today, and the third is Jesus’ first miracle of changing the water into wine at the Wedding at Cana. He also mentioned to use not just our words but our actions; that our actions are what matter most in trying to build up the kingdom of God. And that how we act is of paramount importance as Christians.
Holy Moments: There was a program for this mass! That’s always a nice touch. But then I realized they chant/sing the Entrance and Communion Antiphons. A very nice added touch, because usually, we just speak these, we don’t sing them. But these folks did a great job. Their chapel also serves as a perpetual adoration chapel, so I went there first for some adoring time beforehand. At 6pm people started to file in and before I knew it, I was praying a rosary with them! A pleasant surprise.
Parish #5 – St. Clare – Lyndhurst – Wednesday January 11th – 8:30am – School Mass
1st Reading:Hebrews 2: 14-18
Gospel: Mark 1:29-39
Celebrant: Fr. Stanley Klasinski
Opening Song: Glory And Praise to Our God
Preparation Song: We Three Kings
Communion Song: Rain Down Your Love on Your People
Closing Song: Christ Be Our Light
What’s better than a Chapel Mass? A School Mass! I pull in to the parking lot with 5 minutes to spare but little did I know they began this mass about 5 minutes early, so I walked in to a bunch of kids singing “Glory and Praise to Our God.” I’m telling ya, if you need a pick-me-up, go find a school mass. The kids will just melt your heart.
These kids, from Corpus Christi Academy, were on such great behavior. And the girls in the choir singing perfectly in tune, especially this adorable blondie enunciating every word. She was very dynamic and quite the singer.
Homily Reflection: The gospel included the line about Jesus going off by himself to pray. So the priest emphasized a prayer life with the children. But he also mentioned how priests pray the Liturgy of the Hours. I have been praying the LOH consistently for about 3 months now and it is awesome and wonderful and literally sets the tone for my day. It’s best to start your day with prayer than by checking your phone to go on social media, check email, or text someone. That stuff can wait!
Holy Moments: I stayed in the church after mass and as the children were exiting, I made my way over to a kneeler in front of statues of the Blessed Mother and Joseph. All of a sudden the kids who were leaving the church became completely quiet. I think their teacher must have pointed to me as if to say “She’s praying, be quiet,” because I could hear a pin drop. I came to find out after I started to write this blog, that they have a chapel with adoration next door. Duh! I didn’t even bother to ask. Definitely could have used some quiet time but all in all it was a great mass and a great start to the day.
Up Next: Heading all the way out to Medina – An early Saturday morning mass at St. Francis Xavier, a weekday mass in the chapel at Holy Martyrs, and a Sunday mass at beautiful and historic St. Martin of Tours in Valley City.