Everybody's Got One
A blog. An opinion. An elimination orifice. A dream. An agenda. A past. A hidden talent. A conceptual filter. A cross. A charism (often the same). A task. A wound. A destiny. A lost love. A blind spot. A bad habit. A secret. A passion. A soul ... okay, maybe not everybody ...
Sunday, May 05, 2002

 

One of the nice things about traveling is visiting different churches. It reminds you of the universality, the little-c catholicity, of the Body of Christ – every day, everywhere, the same texts are read as the same mass is celebrated – while the settings and the trappings are completely different. And it forcibly reminds you of the incredible particularity of your own individual body part. You need to be able to see through both lenses, I think – it's too easy (and wrong) to focus only on the essentials that never vary, or on the multiplicity of the things that do. One, and many, both.

In Greensboro I visited Pius the Tenth, a bland example of post-Vatican II open-air architecture where everybody is centered around the minimalist altar. Sparsely attended in the evening, hand-holding, not terribly inspiring – it seems almost an appendage to the school rather than the other way 'round. (Weekends may be different - but I bet they use guitars.)
St Benedict's a few blocks from downtown had no lunch-hour office workers for noon mass – that surprised me. In fact, the only people under fifty were a family of six up front, and one daughter attending her hobbling mother. A small, neat old church with beautiful and subtle windows, and First Friday exposition after mass as an unexpected bonus. I liked it.
Our Lady of Grace is a magnificent place – 1950s triumphal Marianism at its best. I'd love to hear a feminist poor-mouther explain this away. On a rainy Saturday morning, I heard a deacon explain that The Scandal – his capitals, not mine – was yet another persecution by the world, conveniently omitting the actions of the hireling shepherds who have hidden wolves among their flocks. Ah well. Just passing through it's hard to know his reasons – if he's a transitional deacon, maybe he doesn't want to make waves at this point in his career. If he's a permanent deacon, maybe his allegiance is to the institution itself. Maybe. But as Peter's letter reminds us today, Keep your conscience clear ... it's better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

A very useful tool for travelers I have just run across is www.masstimes.org – churches and mass times all over the country, organized by city and distance from the center of town. There's a separate page for each church, with a map and a link to the website (if any). I don't know who maintains the database, but it's sponsored by the Daughters of St Paul and by Catholic Communications. Mighty useful, and recommended.

posted by Kelly | 5:39 PM link
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