or, “the Apotheosis of the “Spirit of Vatican II””
Ordinary 20 (St. Maximilian Kolbe)
Missalette: Breaking Bread
Penitential Rite A, Eucharistic Prayer III
Responsorial Psalm: Timothy R. Smith, “based on” Psam 67
Holy, holy, holy / Dykes
We walk by faith / Haugen
We are many parts / Haugen
We are called / Haugen
Duration: 56 minutes
I had intended to go to the 4PM at St. Columba Cathedral, since I found out they really do have music there, and that’s when it is. But Rusty would have had to fix dinner, with the grandgirls here…who were all three standing on my last nerve and preparing for a re-enactment of Holy Innocents in August. So I decided I needed an attitude adjustment.
St. Pius X is in a residential neighborhood full of cul-de-sacs. I had been there once before, for their summer festival, to hear my neighbor Jack Fealko play accordion with the Rex Taneri band, but I still had to consult Mapquest. The church is an expansion of the school, and looks like it, a one-story gynmnasium-like structure with watch-your-neighbor seating, carpeting, drop-tile ceiling. The most striking piece of interior decor was the crucifix, which had Jesus with his arms stretched out in a sort of praise-and-worship pose, not at all connected to the wood. “Oh yes, I’m just up here standing on a peg because the view is so good.” Now, I don’t think the crucifix needs to be the plastic-arts equivalent of Mel Gibson’s Passion, certainly not in-your-face gory, but this seemed to blasphemously minimize the suffering of Christ. There was a skylight right above it, which would have been a nice touch except that some things shouldn’t see the light of day. I forgot to bring my camera, but trust me, you aren’t missing anything.
Apparently this is a recently-blended parish, so there was much uncertainty in the crowd and a lot of people checking the place out since they no longer had an 11AM mass at St. Joseph. The music began with a poppish organ improvisation (with a little foot even), but moved to piano after the first hymn. The keyboardist/cantor was competent within the limitations of his style; better handling of dipthongs would have been welcome, but he played the we-we hymns in the proper cocktail style. The Gospel Acc had a different, longer verse, and the Great Amen was troped with “alleluia, forever and ever”. The Memorial Acc was troped as well, “When we eat this bread [of life] and drink this [holy] cup…” The cantor’s intro to the Communion hymn. “As we share this meal…” set my teeth on edge; it’s not “just a meal”.
The priest is apparently Polish…2nd one around here…what, is the Mahoning Valley a mission field now? He was quite good. He started the homily by telling Dorothy Day stories, which would have been a bad sign except for the Gospel of the day, and he didn’t go anywhere with it that was either explicitly political or outside the social teaching of the Church. Upon hearing the tale of Day giving a diamond ring which had been donated to Catholic Workers to a poor old lady, I thought, “You could do that with that piano. I’d be a deserving recipient, but I don’t have room…but I’m sure you could find a deserving Catholic music student, who needs it more than any church.” He was warning against judging people, and I’m not judging people here; I’m judging a liturgical culture. I’m sure none of the participants in this liturgy really asked deep questions about what they were doing and why they were doing it; they’re just doing what’s been done. Given some of the flagrant liturgical abuses I’ve seen around here, this was all quite proper. Not at all my style, not at all the Church’s music, but you certainly won’t go to Hell for going there. The irony is that the we-we songs are being done in a church named after St. Pius X. It’s enough to cause the lapsed Lutheran in me to break out and nail a copy of Tra le Sollecitudini to the church door.