Sunday, July 28, 2013

"The Little French Church That Has Served Downtown Since 1868"

So reads Our Lady of Victory-St. Joseph's Church's bulletin. Our trip to Auburn, New York, followed by a surprise return from camp of one of our neighbor's kids, made us go to the Parishes and Mass Times page of the Diocese of Rochester in search of an evening Sacrifice of the Mass. That led to my not feeling so spiritually fed in years, even without partaking in Holy Communion!

Starting from the outside, Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church is an architectural gem, designed by Andrew Jackson Warner, and now on the National Register of Historic Places. It is just as lovely on the inside, light and airy, renovated but not wreckovated, cleaner and more intact than the much larger and far more ornate Saint Michaels of Rochester (renowned locally for its music, in a once German now Black neighborhood). The New Liturgical Movement's Shawn Tribe offers a peak within — All Souls at Our Lady of Victory, Rochester, New York

Important as these externals are, it was the reverence with which the Sacrifice of the Mass was offered that really moved me. Yes, it was the Novus Ordo Missae, a.k.a. the Mass of Paul VI, but it was celebrated as Pope Benedict XVI, not to mention the Church Fathers, I dare say, intended: plenty of chanting, the settings in Latin, a homily that referenced St. Thomas Aquinas, no unnecessary eucharistic ministers, no "holy howdy" during the sharing of the peace, traditional hymns, etc. Being downtown, the parishioners were a good mix of folks like me, hipsters and artsy types, as well as people down on their luck.

While I appreciated the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, I confess that I am not a theologian, and that not only could not follow along, I was not convinced that I even wanted to. Sorry. The Church of Saint Jerome in East Rochester, NY is our current parish home, but I confess to not feeling totally at home there, as it is a true neighborhood church, in a neighborhood within walking distance, but one to which I do not belong. Our Lady of Victory-St. Joseph's Church is looking pretty homey.

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Blogger Donald R. said...

And to think there was a time when Catholics didn't feel the need to go church shopping--quite a few do that these days. I know your pain and wish you well on your journey.

July 29, 2013 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

Thanks for your sympathy. My current parish home is tolerable, but hardly inspiring. My parents, Lutherans interested in converting, went to a First Sunday in Advent Mass with us only to hear a guest homily by the diocese's priest in charge of annulments: "You can get an annulment of $500 but we can help you out if you can't afford it." A needed message for a somewhat rough Italian-American neighborhood with lots of broken families, perhaps.

This current home parish in East Rochester is at least working class and solid. (I am neither.) The one in Pittsford (which is farther away) is upper class and snooty. Its priest's approach to the liturgy was off-off-off-Broadway. I cringed with embarrassment, but it apparently reminded the hoity-toity parishioners of Les Miz or something.

Our Lady of Victory, the subject of this post, seemed to attract liturgical vagrants like me as well as real vagrants. For the first time in years, I'm looking forward to next Sunday.

July 30, 2013 at 10:24 PM  

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