Review: Queen of the Holy Rosary, Vienna OH

Rusty and I have been doing church tours. For her, I think it’s more anthropology; for me, I’d like to find one and settle down. I’ve done the 2 local Catholic churches (Windham and Garrettsville), and we’ve done a couple of nondenominational churches, and the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church in Warren.

Today, we went to Queen of the Holy Rosary, the Tridentine Rite church for the Diocese of Youngstown, in Vienna (that’s “VY-enna”, not “VeeENna”). The modern building is simple but quite beautiful. My favorite detail was the round window directly behind the joint of the crucifix….that and the glassed-in room in back for parents to take their screaming babies.

QHR was started as a private “emergency” chapel in 1978. I’m not clear if that was from SSPX or what. It was regularized in 1991 and is now run by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. The history is relevant to the vibe of the congregation, I think. These guys are serious. The bulletin contains a 2 1/2 page essay by Cardinal Francis Arinze, and a serialization of a commentary on the Sacred Heart. Indeed, out of 8 8.5×11 pages, only 2 were actual “bulletin stuff”. They also had out a “policy book” which specified definitions of members, and rules for First Communions and weddings (Biggest thing: obey the dress code…dresses at least 5″ below the knee. My wife was in violation, though at least she was respectably if not modestly dressed.)

Besides the traditional opening and closing hymns, all music was chant. The Ordinary was the Missa de Angelis; the propers were psalm toned. There was Alma Redemptoris and Ave Maria for extra music for the Offertory and Communion, respectively. The choir was maybe 3 men and 3 women, not all of whom were equally strong. The organ was an older electronic instrument; they have an organ fund drive going, but I heard nothing that would merit a better instrument. Still, the music was all appropriate both to the service and to the forces available. It would have been nice for the congregation to sing the Credo and in general to be more involved in the music.

Fr. Bouchard’s sermon was the best preaching I have heard in a Roman Catholic church (not, I fear, a very high bar). In discussing the plight of the modern family, and how the Holy Family provides some pattern for that, he pulled no punches. I’d made a comment to Rusty the other day that “in spite of appearances, the Catholic Church is not a fertility religion”. I’m not entirely sure that QHR got that memo. There’s a gravestone memorializing the victims of abortion at the right front corner of the parish house, members were organizing a novena over the Freedom of Reproduction Act, including praying the Rosary at the courthouse, and it came up several times in the sermon (it WAS Holy Family). I’m not saying that the Church shouldn’t be witnessing against abortion, just that there are a lot more things to witness about.

The missal contained both Latin and English, and instructions on when to stand sit kneel etc. It would have been helpful for the bulletin to contain the texts of the Propers, for those of us who are Latin-challenged (that’s probably just the Word-obsessed Lutheran speaking). There were also some differences in the consecration from what I’ve seen at the Mac and at St. James: no Elevation between Sanctus and Benedictus (no “between” there; they went storming on, and lifted the Host later), more silent prayers, priest sang the Pater Noster alone. And while it’s often clear why you sit/stand/kneel, it isn’t always so, and my experience would be enriched by knowing exactly why I’m playing Popish Aerobicize (yeah, I know, real Catholics learn all this stuff with their ABCs).

My general take was, “These people are a little odd, but I like it.” Trinity Lutheran felt like home; QHR felt like a place I wanted to be home. There was an almost magnetic energy streaming from the congregation to the altar. It was a very alive congregation, with plenty of younger (and many very young) people. Yet everything felt very calm and nourishing. It’s a place where people are really doing it right, and with energy and commitment.

Rusty was both happy and perplexed to have escaped the service without being gladhanded by an usher or church member. I pointed out that that was a Protestant thing (and particularly a low-church Prot thing), and that people were assumed to be there because they really wanted to be.

I’m trying to decide “what I am”. If I were to go Catholic, I would probably be going here. But I’m not entirely sure I’m to go in that direction. I think a careful analysis of Catholic vs. Lutheran theology is called for. And there are parts of Catholic culture that wouldn’t be appropriate for me….for example, a focus on the BVM, just because, well, it would be too easy to revert to Goddess Mode. And parts that are still foreign.


26 Responses to Review: Queen of the Holy Rosary, Vienna OH

  1. kishnevi says:

    You don’t want to be a Roman. Back in my Christian days that’s what I started out with. Got quickly tired of priests on authority trips (perhaps it was a sign when the nice young priest that took me through the conversion process disappeared with what was rumored to be a nervous breakdown) and too much that looked like idol/idle worship. (That may be a Jewish issue: when I was a kid, when we visited NYC, my mother took me into St. Patrick’s for five minutes to “show me the idols”–exact quote. ) But the Exposition of the Host was too much of me–big wafer in a big silver case, and people kneeling and praying towards it. And the US is better than Latin America and Europe, as I discovered years later when I got to those countries. Mummies behind the high altar? No thanks. But my sticking point was the authority trips. Never did manage to get myself to confession in the one year I spent as a Roman. Then I wandered over to the Episcopal chapel, found it was run by a nice pleasant Irish ex RC priest (he had married a nun–this was the ’80s) who had no wish to be on an authority trip, and stayed. Until I decided I was being an idiot and went back to being Jewish full time. But that wasn’t the Episcopal Church’s fault. However from your prior obiter dicta, you don’t seem too impressed by the EC right about now.

    How about Eastern Orthodox? You don’t have be born Greek to join it, you know. And they do have a solid musical tradition (or at least the Russians do).

    • Craig says:

      The orthodox have authority too, but not up to the Pope. Idols? Read about angels on the Ark of the covenant or Mose’s snake statue to cure snake bites in the desert. God commanded these to be made. There is a difference between a beautiful statue and believing it is a person. If not, u should get rid of the family pics on your smart phone 🙂

  2. jeffreyquick says:

    Yes, this place was fairly authoritarian. I’m not sure to what extent that’s a deal-breaker; The suggestion during the sermon that the government should ban pornography as not covered by freedom of the press certainly rankled. I work around political authoritarianism pretty well, and the Pope isn’t going to send a SWAT team to my house. I think it possible to be authoritative without being authoritarian, and that the Church (if not individual priests) knows the difference. I may find out experientially that I’m wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong about religion.

    Idolatry: I’m an ex-Wiccan, not an ex-Jew. The danger would be in getting too personal with the statuary, not in finding the notion alien and repugnant. I’m not sure yet what I think about veneration of the Host. Lutherans avoid that whole issue through consubstantiation, which doesn’t do any violence to the “is” in “this is My Body” But they don’t have a notion of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Again, I’m not clear on whether that’s a deal-breaker, one way or ‘tother. What I’m clear on though (and hungry for) is the importance of the Sacrament. What I’ve seen in the neo-pagan community is that it’s the “edge” stuff that has the most power, and is the first thing to go when people adjust religion to meet their comfort level. The Eucharist is the edgiest thing in regular Christian practice, and was so from the beginning (see John 6). Churches that don’t pay much or any attention to it are simply not in the running.

    I could do a good Anglo-Catholic parish. If St. James weren’t 50 miles away, I’d go there. The Anglicans got badly contaminated by Calvinism, and ECUSA is just a sty of heresy (that’s why it attracted your priest). I don’t know much about the Orthodox. The problem is that, here in America at least, they are ethnic churches. So are the Lutherans, really, in spite of those African missions. Of course, your average Ordinary Form Catholic parish is an ethnic church, the ethnicity being American. It’s nice when the Universal Church is really universal.

  3. rwp says:

    The stand/sit/kneel thing is actually pretty simple. During the Liturgy of the Word (AKA Liturgy of the Catechumens), there is no kneeling (we’re not counting prayers before Mass, obviously). We never sit when we pray. Never. We stand out of respect for the Gospel, but sit during the OT and Epistle readings. And the homily. It’s a little more complicated during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, but not much; it also differs between the Tridentine and Novus Ordo.

    My father confessor is a Byzantine priest. You’re in Ohio. Have you attended any Byzantine parishes?

  4. jeffreyquick says:

    No, I haven’t. They’ve got ’em in Cleveland, and probably in Warren/Youngstown (haven’t checked). Rusty was looking for a new adventure…

  5. […] of church-hopping? Remember back here, in the comments, where I wrote: I could do a good Anglo-Catholic parish. If St. James weren’t 50 […]

  6. Seth says:

    I stopped by the Holy Rosary and got kicked off the property without provocation. My cell phone rang and I decided to be safe and talk on the phone while stopped instead of endangering myself and others by talking and driving at the same type. I pulled into the parking lot and a few minutes later, I was asked to leave. I felt it was very unChristian and I pray for her soul as she will undoubtedly be going to Hell for her act.

  7. Jeffrey Quick says:

    I can’t judge what went on, but it seems like there’s a lot of missing context here. For one thing, that’s a side road and there was room to pull over without trespassing.

    BTW, I’ll be starting to sing there next week.

  8. Cleveland Cavaliers…

    Review: Queen of the Holy Rosary, Vienna OH « The Quick and the Dead…

  9. Marie says:

    Priest is a very 2 faced person. when I asked him if I could please begin to collect food for the homeless (place in bulletin) he turned me down. Sorry, but that is NOT JESUS like behavior…and I went there all of my life. (since it was built) I willnever return as long as that nut is still there

    • Jeffrey Quick says:

      Marie, I debated deleting your post, as to leave it here is arguably participating in the sin of detraction. Also, you don’t sound like the people I’ve known in the Latin Mass community, so I have to wonder if perhaps you’re a troll. Did Fr. Bouchard tell you WHY he turned you down, and if not, did you ASK? I can think of several good reasons for doing so. But I’m sure that you’ve become the Dorothy Day of your present parish.

  10. Craig says:

    Mary, the Pope, and the hierarchy carry over from the Mosaic judiasm model. See david and solomon, the queen and prime minister.

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