Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Mass365: Monday, March 2, 2009 - Marian Chapel, Church of Saint Mary

So Monday morning, eager to get back on the daily Mass "horse" (if I may be slightly profane), I arranged to get up a little earlier than usual. The reason? 6:30 a.m. Mass at the Church of Saint Mary's Marian Chapel. Normally on Mondays and any other day during the week, I attend the noon Mass at Holy Family Cathedral. However, on Monday, I had a conflicting appointment. And since Mondays are typically the day of the week that priests "stand down" from their shepherding duties, there are far fewer masses offered on Monday than any other day of the week. (Indeed, previous Mondays have resulted in my attending Mass in Vietnamese at St. Joseph's Vietnamese Catholic Church -- Monday's "last chance saloon" for daily mass goers.) And so on this particular Monday, I added a new place to my roster of places where I've celebrated Mass: the Marian Chapel at Saint Mary's in Brookside. Actually, I may have been here before. The only time I remember attending a Catholic Mass as a child was with my closest childhood friend, Chris Egan, who lived catty-corner of us in Brookside and whose family were the only Catholics I'd ever encountered. I don't remember much about that event, but I do clearly remember that it was at the Church of Saint Mary -- the parish in which we lived, and in fact I still live -- though we attend the Latin Mass parish of St. Peter today. The Marian Chapel was a pleasant surprise. This was because I was expecting Mass in the main church -- a "church in the round" (read: monstrosity of heretical architectural mania) -- which was newly built about 10 to 15 years ago at Saint Mary's. To tell the truth, I hate the place. Modern. Ugly. Devoid of any focus whatsoever. (See photo above, which although ugly enough, doesn't begin to show just how ugly a place it is. Ahem.) So when I drove up and followed the small crowd of people in the pre-dawn darkness of Monday morning I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were heading NOT into the large new sanctuary where Mass is normally held, but instead into the cozy and old chapel at the South end of the church. Mass there was with a friendly and familiar bunch of people -- people who obviously attend that mass on a very regular basis. (I did note that no one present was devoid of grey hair, also.) Mass was celebrated by Fr. Swift, an elderly priest who nonetheless gave a very cogent homily about Matthew 25 (the Gospel reading from Monday) and how rare it was that he had heard confessions of sins of omission over his long career as a priest and confessor. Apparently people focus a bit too much on the sins they actually commit, versus the sins that they commit by not acting, "Lord, when did I see you hungry and not feed you?") I want to note one rather odd practice that I've never seen anywhere else: when it came time for communion, instead of having both sides of the chapel file up to the center of the ambo to receive our Lord's Body and Blood in the Eucharist, first only the right or "Epistle"* side of the congregation filed up to receive, while the left, or "Gospel"* side, remained seated. Only after all of the epistle side of the church had received did anyone on the Gospel side rise to begin filing up to the altar. Weird. It was a very moving and warm experience, and I look forward to joining these early risers at the 6:30 a.m. Mass at Saint Mary's again sometime soon. FBC *The Epistle and Gospel "sides" of the church refer to the practice under the Tridentine Rite (the old pre-Vatican II Latin Mass) of the priest reading the Epistle from the right, then moving to the left side of the altar to read the Gospel reading from that side. This terminology is probably all but lost, except to that small band of die-hard liturgical types who attend the Latin Mass.) **Roster of Mass sites, thus far for Mass365:
  • Marian Chapel Church of Saint Mary, Tulsa OK
  • Sacred Heart Church, Miami OK
  • St. Philip Neri Newman Center, The University of Tulsa campus
  • Holy Family Cathedral, Tulsa OK
  • Parish of St. Peter (at St. Augustine Catholic Church), Tulsa OK (Tridentine or Latin Extraordinary Rite)
  • St. Athanasius / Chapel of the Theotokos (at St. Augustine Catholic Church), Tulsa OK (Byzantine Rite of the Eastern Catholic Church)
  • St. Joseph Vietnamese Catholic Church, Tulsa OK
  • Church of the Madelene, Tulsa OK
  • National Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC
  • Basilica Cathedral of St. Louis, St. Louis MO
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine Chapel, atop Mt. Saint Mary, Emmittsburg MD
  • Verizon Center Youth Mass, Washington DC
  • St. Andrews Catholic Church, Richmond IN
  • St. Bernard of Clairvaux Catholic Church, Tulsa OK
  • Chapel of Peace, Holy Family Cathedral, Tulsa OK
  • Roman Catholic Church of the Resurrectioin, Tulsa OK

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