Monday, September 26, 2011

AmChurch Communion

    Christmas with my family in Upstate New York: It is likely as near to Currier and Ives as one can be these days. At the local Catholic church, I am reminded that Americans are nice. There’s no doubt about it. In fact, you’d better be nice with Americans. Or else they will feel uncomfortable around you. So at the Holy Eucharist, I am amazed as the number of well-dressed middle-aged couples, no doubt all very nice, confidently march to the altar and proceed to take charge of the Eucharist on the al­tar, all standing in a circle, all smiling. I, a priest of God, shrivel, wither, disappear in my chair against the backboard of the sanctuary. Who needs the agony of a priestly vocation, I wonder, when one need but feel good about oneself, walk confidently up an aisle, and “help yourself”?
So wrote Father Raymond T. Gawronski back in '92 — An Exile from America Returns for the Holidays. This is something I cannot get used to at my new local parish, which is why I applaud Bishop Thomas James Olmsted's recent ruling "unifying of the practice of the reception of Holy Communion around the whole world" — Wine dropped from Catholic Mass in Phoenix.

On a personal note, my parents have expressed the desire to become Catholic, and we have been attending mass together. I have to pray each time that some liturgical abuse doesn't scare them away. Yesterday, however, they went to a Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and received communion on their knees at an altar rail. Theology aside, it's hard to compete with that.

Externals are important. The five o'clock "high mass" with its Broadway-like rendition of the Eucharistic prayers was just plain embarrassing. I guess it's high time to go whole hog and assist the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.

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Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Yup. Interestingly enough, a few years ago I went to a eucharistic liturgy at a Missouri-Synod Lutheran parish down the street from where I was living at the time. It was a beautiful, reverent liturgy that was far better celebrated than the liturgy at my Catholic parish. The atmosphere was more reverent, the language was more elevated, and people received communion kneeling at an altar rail. The hymns were light-years better than the St. Louis Jesuit stuff that is the musical staple at my parish.

That said, the Mass is still the Mass, even if poorly celebrated. I am hopeful that the revised translation coming out at Advent will be an improvement. And as you pointed out, there are other options within the Catholic fold -- the traditional Latin Mass being a fantastic one.

I will keep your family and your parents in my prayers!

September 27, 2011 at 1:55 AM  
OpenID danightman said...

I am glad that Dayton has long had a stable Latin Mass community, which now has its own parish at Holy Family.

There are also the Eastern Catholic churches, which offer liturgy unchanged for 1500 years, even if it is the vernacular.

September 27, 2011 at 6:58 AM  
Blogger Joe Koczera, S.J. said...

Does the Diocese of Rochester have a Korean Catholic community? That may not be a workable solution for your parents, but I wonder whether the Koreans in New York celebrate Mass with the same degree of solemnity you found in Korea.

September 27, 2011 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

Mark, you're right; the mass is still the mass. As the Young Fogey said, the "low mass" has been a lifeboat for orthodox Catholics for 40 years. I have no problem with the Novus Ordo, I just wish it was close to the reverence I grew up with in the LCMS.

danightman, Dayton's a good place.

Joe, we have a biweekly Korean mass here, which was wonderful. Strangely, my wife doesn't yet seem the need to keep up with the Korean community. I'll push it on her some more.

September 27, 2011 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger papabear said...

Perhaps an Anglican Ordinariate parish might be an option in the future?

October 1, 2011 at 12:21 PM  

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