May 02, 2009

Greedy for His Sake

I attended the Transitional Deaconate Ordination at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis today. I brought my camera but was prevented from using it by the note in the program that requested no flash photography during the liturgy. Those of you who've seen my camera know the kind of flash I have on it! LOL! It takes great photos but the flash can be intense. I'm old school. I still use film. I've sucessfully busted two digital cameras and my cell phone camera is horrible; so here I am with my trusty Minolta. Hey, it works!

The Basilica of St. Mary is one of the most beautiful churches anywhere. I still don't "get" why the banner committee, or whoever is in charge of that stuff, feel the need to hang swooshy banners and an artsy cross over the transept. The building IS the only art we need overhead. The modern "tongues of flame"/"Holy Spirit" print on the ambo still gives me a migraine and so do the modern "Stations of the Cross" prints under the classic Stations of the Cross. Leave the building alone. It was built as a testimony to worshipping God. It doesn't need embellishment. It is absurd and ridiculous to even attempt embellishment in a setting that is already glorious to begin with. Our ancestors knew what they were doing. Respect their judgement.

/end this rant

I entered the Basilica and there were Seminarians at every door in cassock and surplice handing out the program and helping the families of the men to be ordained find their assigned seats. Throughout the Basilica, there were priests and seminarians and religious and lay people scattered throughout in prayer before the altar, in the pews, before the various side altars and chapels. It was very heartening.

The liturgy was lovely. The music was wonderful and very solid. QM spoke truth.

I know the music and liturgy buffs want the program so here's what was what:

Organ Prelude: Suite Gothique, Op. 25 by Leon Boellmann, Priere a Notre Dame
Introit: Scio Cui Credidi
Processional: O God, Beyond All Praising by Michael Perry (alternated All with Choir only-very lovely. If this hymn is done well, I tear up. It was and I did)
Liturgy of the Word:
First Reading: Acts 8:26-40
Psalm: 96
Second Reading (in Spanish): Romans 12:4-8
Gospel Acclamation (Mode II): John 15:15
Gospel: John 15:9-17
Rite of Ordination: Calling and Presentation of the Candidates, Election of the Bishop and Consent of the People
Homily by Archbishop John Nienstedt (as is a practice of His Excellency, he opened The Lesson with song and closed with song. He alternated the lyrics in Spanish and English. I recognized but couldn't place it. Anyone know?)
Promise of the Elect, Litany of Supplication
Litany of the Saints (sung in Latin)
Laying on of Hands,Prayer of Consecration, Investiture with Stole and Dalmatic (It is very moving to see men vested for the first time), Presentation of the Book of the Gospels, Kiss of Peace-Psalm 146 (You have to be made of stone not to be touched by the line of priests and deacons coming forward to embrace men as one of their brotherhood for the first time)
Liturgy of the Eucharist (Offertory):O Maria, quant'e felice (Hymn to Our Lady of Confidence)-by the choir. (This was magnificently done.)
Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, Great Amen were from the Deutsche Messe by Franz Schubert adapt by Richard Proulx (English)
Lord's Prayer, chanted (English), adapt. Robert Snow
Agnus Dei, sung (English), Holy Cross Mass
Communion Antiphon: Data Est Mihi
Communion Procession: Laudate Dominum (music by Jacques Berthier), Maneant in Nobis, You are Mine by Fr. Michael Joncas (What was this doing in here? Seriously. Ok, ok, I'm counting the entire liturgy as a sucess that no Haas/Haugen was in it.)
Post Communion: Golden Rose (Hymn to Our Lady of Knock) I saw this and cringed. It seemed out of place and too much of an answer to the Spanish reading (like they got that and the Irish get this and the Germans got that and the that I think of it the whole liturgy had nods to various ethnicities). They sold it. It was very well done, the lyrics are solid, and it worked. I spoke with Ray after and he agreed
Recessional: Sing With All The Saints In Glory
Organ Postlude: Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op 14 by Louis Vierne VI

The Archbishop, in his closing remarks that I'll paraphrase, noted that our Seminary has THE largest class of seminarians! He thanked the families for giving their sons to Holy Church. With an engaging mix of humor and seriousness that I've come to realize is also one of his hallmarks, His Excellency said: We need more! Pray for vocations! Encourage them! Speak about them! His Excellency said he wants to be greedy for His sake!

What I believe the Archbishop meant was: You can never have enough vocations. More. Please!

I know, on a regular basis, I bust everyone's chops for inappropriate attire. I was, PLEASANTLY, shocked that almost everyone in the pews was very well dressed. I can't remember the last time I saw the majority of people in the pews dressed so well at a Mass. I want to be greedy for His sake and ask for more of this. Thank you.

The Archbishop was also well vested. I know I bust his chops here too. Gotta give him respect. LOL!

It bothered me that the mass was not ad orientem but it bugs me to see priests with their back to the Tabernacle. This is an irritation I've noticed in myself in recent days.

Remember, the architecture is a testimony and a guide to the worship of God. Why is the marble baldachino back there over the original high altar and tabernacle and NOT the freestanding altar? Hmmmm...

Oh, I was expecting during Communion, that in spite of the presence of, at least, 100priests and deacons of the Archdiocese, a multitude of EMHC's were still going to make their presence known. They didn't-only priests and deacons distributed the Eucharist. Not only that, everyone processed for Communion to the front-there were no additional setups in the transept. I like this. It gives me hope that since we are going to the front anyway, it is only a few small steps to the altar rail where one day, God grant it so, we can kneel and receive during a future Ordination Mass just as our wise ancestors did in the Basilica in years past.

Remember, the building was designed as a testimony and guide to the worship of God. The altar rail is there for a reason too.

I know I'm inserting my rants and digressions about the architecture of the ages and worthy worship. Pay me no mind. It was a fantastic liturgy-my quibbles aside.


Blogger Ray from MN said...

You're hired! Stella Borealis can use a lively reporter like Ms. Catherine of Alexandria.

You'll get 50% of my income off of Stella, so don't go out and buy and new car!!!

Great article, Cathy!

May 03, 2009 9:11 PM  
Blogger Bobby said...

You noted the dress code. One thing I've noticed in observations of church dress is how far we've fallen. In rural areas of my home, anything goes, especially in more "Emergent" (Protestant) or post-Vatican II (Catholic) type churches. Many are in jeans and tee-shirts, and guys think they can show as much (or more) leg than gals. When MTV sets standards, what gives?

May 03, 2009 9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay, ordinations! It was, indeed, glorious and beautiful. And I totally agree about the stupid drapey banner thingies. They totally detract from the basilica!

I'll add a little detail to your music line-up, since I was "in" on the process. The antiphon during the vestition of the deacons was from a larger work by Saint-Sans. The Gospel Acclamation (and the Psalm?) were composed by one of the ordinandi, Dcn. Douglas Pierce.

The schola/polyphony choir was comprised of seminarians and was founded by two of the ordinandi, Dcns. Douglas Pierce and Erik Lundgren. I thought they did exceptionally well, considering that their two founders were unable to sing with them!

His Excellency opened and closed his homily with the song "Pan de Vida." I threw up a little in my mouth when he did that. But maybe that's just because I'm SO SICK of that song....

May 03, 2009 11:58 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

QM: Thanks for the additional info and credits! I remember you saying something about Saint-Sans but I didn't "hear" where that was in the program.

Thanks for your help-in all ways! :-)

Bobby: Yes, the dress was visably much better than what I usually see, oh, say at Sunday Mass. I can't remember when I last saw so many dressed that well even at a wedding (regardless of faith tradition). I wonder if the seriousness of it-esp if they had relatives or friends among the ordinandi had an impact? But, really there should be no difference in an "event" like this in the desire to dress well than Holy Mass or a wedding as well.

Ray: It was great to see you there! Busy weekend for you, my friend. I hope you are taking it easy today.

May 04, 2009 9:11 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

on the subject of vocations, Cathy....
I went to Mass @ the Shrine of OL Queen of the Universe in Orlando on Sunday, and the priest gave a homily about vocations to the priesthood. He specifically mentioned the MSP (arch)diocese as being one where vocations about because "vocations are talked about there". I thought that was very interesting!

May 06, 2009 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wow, THE largest seminary class! That is relaly saying something. It is fitting for your diocese, since this is the Jubilee Year of St Paul....ending shortly.

St Paul, patron of difficult conversions, pray for us, for all those we love, and for all sinners, that we may all convert our lives into lives of holiness, amen!

May 20, 2009 10:54 AM  

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