Daily Mass Project: Most Holy Redeemer – Detroit and St. John the Baptist – Ypsi

Most Holy Redeemer – Young Catholic Professionals Series – Jan. 31st

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Seriously? How beautiful is this?!

But wait…there’s more. Here’s mosaics featuring St. Joseph.

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And then a side chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe:

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And one to The Sacred Heart Of Jesus:

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But my favorite has to be….

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I think I could sit and stare at this for hours. And I would have if we didn’t have the speaker series, which was the entire reason I came to this Church. (I wish I would have made it for mass but it was in Spanish anyways. Perhaps one day soon I will visit for an English one!)

The speaker for this Young Catholic Professionals event was Dan Weingartz, President of Weingartz Supply Co., an outdoor power equipment company based here in Detroit.

The purpose of YCP Detroit Executive Speaker Series is for executives to share their professional and faith journeys with young professionals in their 20’s and 30’s, challenging them to ‘Work in Witness for Christ!’  As for Weingartz, he had a great witness to share. He mentioned how we all need good authentic friendships. And we need that close friend that isn’t afraid to tell us when we’re veering off the path. Do we have a friend like that? ARE we that friend to others? He discussed family and his young adult years and his growth in his relationship with Christ. But then he started talking about work and his job and “the grind.” And then he started to say something that really sparked my interest:

His company was one of the organizations that fought the HHS mandate and named as a plaintiff in the case. And who was the public interest law firm that he worked with? The one I work for! How’s that for a God moment? Here I am, the public relations coordinator for this law firm, and here is one of our former clients giving us praise for the hard work our lawyers did to fight for him.

Here’s a short synopsis of his testimony in PDF form, and here is video of Dan’s testimony. The part that mentions our law firm and the HHS mandate case starts around the 16:00 mark.

I would encourage all young (and older!) Catholic professionals to attend one of these events in your city if you have a chapter. It’s a great way just to hang out with others in the faith and possibly build yourself a little community of friends, if you’re lacking in that area.


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St. John the Baptist – Ypsilanti – Sunday 4:30pm – February 18

Celebrant: Visiting priest – Msgr Patrick Marron

Initial thoughts: When you walk in and see a giant photo of your favorite Pope at the entrance to the sanctuary, pretty sure you’re in a good place. IMG-8844

And: “That’s one giant baptismal font.”

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This is the entrance when you first come in, but when mass starts, you are instructed to enter on the side. There are ramps so you don’t just walk right into/onto what I would call “sacred ground.”  I was just a bit surprised that this was the entrance. But then, when you come in from the back…

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I need to come up with a better word than “stunning.” But really…This is quite beautiful and for me, very unexpected.

I got there 30 minutes early, which is why you don’t see anyone in the pews in these pictures. The musicians were rehearsing and I have to say, they sounded so good in the rehearsal, that I actually became excited to hear them during the mass!

This church is considered to be the hub, I believe, for Catholics on Campus serving the the Eastern Michigan University and Washtenaw (I still can’t pronounce that word right) Community College. So there were many “Catholics on Campus” flyers in the gathering space on bulletin boards and whatnot. As people came in, you could see this was geared toward the college aged demo. However, there were still plenty of families and people my age there as well.

Homily Reflection: Monsignor Marron spoke on the gospel of Matthew 25; “Whatever you did for the least of these, you clothed me when I was naked, you fed me when I was hungry,” etc.

The Monsignor was there to discuss/promote his mission – Food for the Poor, a Christian non-profit organization that serves 17 countries. He was a very good speaker, a wonderful and moving story-teller, calling us to see Jesus present in the poor.

Some of the points that resonated: “All of us have a right to live. We also have a right to continue living until a natural end. But there are basic necessities that will help us do that and we all have a right to these: Food, clean water, housing, medical attention when needed, an education (to get a job) and clothing.

How do we put Matthew 25 into practice? By continuing the ministry of Jesus. What we do for them, we do for Him. What we DON’T do for them, we DON’T do for Him.”

You know how sometimes a talk/lecture/homily from someone can make you feel like you’re the worst person in the world? Or you feel anger because you think you’re being judged? Fr. Marron didn’t make me feel that way. He made me feel like it was my duty to help the least of these, (it is!) but he didn’t make me feel like I should do it out of guilt. I should do it because Jesus says to. Because we are called to. And I found myself delighted and happy to help someone. And that’s what it should feel like when we give alms, right? Not like it’s a drag or we’re giving something up. It should feel freeing! The more you give, the more you feel detached from these things. It sounds so counter-intuitive but I assure you, the less you have, the more free you are.

Holy Moments: The music. Oh my gosh the music!!! I can’t get over how captivating and sweet-sounding these three young people sounded. The music they created with the keyboard, a guitar and cello and their pitch perfect voices was just so fantastic. I should have recorded some of it on my phone. They should put out an album. Seriously. I would bet they’re music majors too. So shout out to whoever you are, you were so talented. Thank you for your gift of song/music!

By the way, have you thanked YOUR music minister lately? You really should. 🙂

Until next time…Happy Lent!

St. Andrew in Saline, Patrick Coffin, and The Rose Mass for the Unborn

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Saint Andrew the Apostle – Saline, MI – Wednesday – 7pm – January 17th

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Celebrant: Fr. Francis

Initial Thoughts: I walked in just as some sort of youth group was concluding with what seemed like 2nd or 3rd graders sitting and listening to a catechist tell them, “We need to be quiet because people are coming in for Reconciliation and Confession.” Very sweet (and humorous) to see about 50 kids turn around and stare at me as I was the only one there.

Homily Reflection: Fr. made a great humorous comment about the 1st reading which ends with these words:

Then David ran and stood over him;
with the Philistine’s own sword which he drew from its sheath
he dispatched him and cut off his head.

To which the lector then says: “The Word of the Lord” and we respond “Thanks be to God.” 

…he cut off his head – Thanks be to God! What a thing to say!

He had a few more things to say about 1st and 2nd Samuel being about this desire for God – this passion that the people at that time had to say “I’ve come to do your will.” Fr. remarked that maybe we’ve lost that passion today. Most of all, the people wanted to be faithful. And he concluded by challenging us to reclaim that desire to be a faithful people.

Holy Moments: Confession before mass was a wonderful gift, but I actually enjoyed the quiet in between the time that confession ended and mass began. They played some Gregorian chants and dimmed the lights while people went to Reconciliation. I took the time pray but I also looked around at the folks waiting in line. You had a Mom with her kids and having them line up and sit as quietly as they could as she ushered them in to go to the priest. Then she took her turn. There was the young man who sat and waited with his head and his hands. I prayed hard for him. There was the older man who seemed to be at peace and joyful as he exited the confessional. It just made me feel so blessed to be Catholic and to have access to this Sacrament, where we hear Jesus say, “You are forgiven.”

And this actually serves as a great transition to my next Chuch on the list…St. John Vianney.


St. John Vianney – Shelby Township, MI – January 21 – Patrick Coffin

Celebrant: No one, (duh) since it wasn’t a mass but I’m checking this one off the list for the Daily Mass Project since I made the 53 minute trip, in the dark, in the fog, just to see one of my favorite speakers, Patrick Coffin.

His talk entitled, “Ignite!” was about an hour long and was meant to inform and educate those of us in the Catholic church on how we are called to be disciples, that we are meant to live lives of holiness, and that we need to work on spreading this Good News. But, too often we are “lukewarm” about the faith and therefore, a ton of people are leaving it! Not good. But the Good News is that Jesus did indeed instruct us, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have the gifts necessary to speak the truth in love to those who are open to hearing it. We aren’t going to convert anyone. But we can begin to help them see that there is a God who loves them, who created them, and wants them to be happy. In fact, it’s a great summary of Unleash the Gospel from Archbishop Vigneron, which you can read here.

You can listen to the talk here.

Some of my favorite talking points from Patrick:

“We [Catholics] have access to the God of the Universe as present in the tabernacle as He will be at the end of history when He returns. As present in the tabernacle as He was when He walked on this earth, when the most beautiful Jewish woman in the world said Yes to an angel’s marriage proposal at the Annunciation. We have this amazing gift.”

” The last words of Blessed Solanus Casey before he died are the words that we should be saying everyday. That should be our prayer. “Lord I give you my soul!”

“You can’t give what you don’t have. If you don’t have this indispensable amount of understanding about who Jesus is, you’re not going to be an effective disciple. It doesn’t mean you have to read big fat books, it doesn’t mean you have to be Thomas Aquinas. It just means you have to be willing to say Yes to what the Holy Spirit wants to do in and through your life.”

“Nothing here below lasts forever. So we have to be careful about whom and what we hitch our horse to. We have to belong first and foremost to Jesus Christ.”

There was a time for Q&A afterwards which brought up a number of different topics like  how to handle family members with SSA, to how to bring back lapsed Catholics to the Church, and the difference between being repentant and being forgiven through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. <—-this was my favorite part because it prompted Patrick to speak these words which I love to reflect on:

“When we confess our sins, we are obeying what Christ wants for us and what we’re made to do. We want to confess our sins. We’re just chicken to. We’ve done things we can’t undo. We’ve hurt people…We need a Savior. We need someone to take those sins away. To delete them.”

“Our Lord knows us quite well. He knows what we need and we need to hear the words: “I absolve you.” And that I is not Fr. Smith or Bishop so and so, that’s Christ Himself. “I absolve you from your sins.” There’s no more beautiful words. That’s the most exquisite form of I love you, “I absolve you from your sins.”

Indeed. The most exquisite form of I love you. Indeed it is.


The Rose Mass for the Pre-born – OLGC- January 24th

IMG-1774Most folks know me as unapologetically pro-life, no exceptions. And this Rose Mass has always intrigued me. I had heard about it over a year ago, hoping to do something very similar at my church in Cleveland. Well, God had some pretty big plans in mind because not only did I get to witness this mass this year, I was an active participant. Click here to watch it (already queued up for you to watch the “Rose Walk.”) IMG-8804It was such an honor to be asked to read the reflections for each year abortion has been legal in this country. As I read each reflection, a walker came up to the sanctuary and placed a rose in an empty crib. Walkers choose the year for a number of reasons – it could be the year they were born, it could be the year they were married, for some, it’s the year their aborted child would have been born. We never know the reasons they choose the year, but it’s not necessary to know. What’s important to see and to hear the impact legalized abortion has had on all of us. IMG-8789(1)It was quite emotional towards the end, as it’s tradition to have a pregnant woman walk up for the final year. I couldn’t help but choke up as I read the final words as 45 people stood at the front of the worship space next to a crib with all 45 roses placed in it. Representing the 60 million unborn babies that didn’t get chance to live. It should cause us all to stop and think of how we can be a voice for the unborn.

 

In the words of Fr. Prentice, who was the celebrant for this mass, “Let us ask the intercession of Our Lady to put an end to abortion. This must stop.”

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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!