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 ...
Tuesday, June 10, 2003


It was passing strange to spend Pentecost out of town – but after last weekend's Facilitated Conversation Addressing The Changing Nature Of Our Parish, I could feel myself strangely detached, as if I have already begun to leave. Away from home, I was able to see many facets of the catholicity of the Church. Five churches in three days, to end the season.

Christ the King Cathedral in Lexington is a remarkable building, one of the best examples of Vatican II architecture I have seen, done with traditional materials of glass and (poured) stone – before angled blond wood became the material of choice. Overhead are metal light fixtures shaped like crowns with cut-out crosses – a lovely touch.

St Paul downtown is an old church - with an old congregation, at least on a Saturday morning, save for one family with four kids in the pew and another as altar server.

At the Newman Center/Holy Spirit – what a wonderful place for the vigil feast, I thought – things were ... different. During the gathering hymn (what other places might call the processional) clumps of children from 4 to 40 pranced about waving sticks with strips of red ribbons attached. (The purpose was unclear.) This wasn't the goofiest thing I have ever seen in a liturgy – that distinction goes to one Paschal vespers where a woman, trailing yards of white chiffon, burst into the nave to perform an interpretive dance depicting Mary Magdalen outside the tomb – but there's a certain family resemblance. On the other hand, people did seem to be enjoying themselves. Sometimes, you just have to look down, shake your head, and go along with the program as best you can.

But I have one thing against them. The mass they celebrated was the mass of the feastday, not of the vigil. There aren't many days in the church year where the mass of the evening before differs from that of the Solemnity – Christmas, Easter, Pentecost ... I'm probably forgetting something – and when it happens it's important. Attention should be paid. Entirely omitted from the calendar were the texts about Babel, about all creation groaning in anticipation of the Spirit, about Jesus standing up and saying, All who are thirsty, come to me and drink ... Simply ... gone. You would think, for their name feast, they'd do better.

You might conclude two things from this. One, that the community is not liturgically serious (well, duh ... see above.) Two, that they're impatient for the coming of the Spirit, for its gifts and its fruits. They want it now, not later, not in the fullness of time.

This is a recurring issue at Newman Centers and the parishes affiliated with them. College years are often very rocky ground, and it's easy to allow enthusiasm to mask a fundamental shallowness. But eventually the sun comes out ...

At St Peter's the next day, I saw four infant baptisms. On Pentecost. Surrounded by an unexpected sung liturgy - including the litany of the saints, echoing Easter. Welcome, little ones ... happy new birth-day.
Just luminous.

posted by Kelly | 4:22 PM link