We switched parishes in the middle of St. Benedict's 25th anniversary renovations, during which Mass was celebrated in the Parish Life Center. It was crowded, uncomfortable, and you couldn't kneel during the Eucharistic Liturgy. We are relative strangers there, even though the kids have friends there (but they must go at a different time), many of our neighbors attend there (but they must go at a different time), and we've been going there for years for our homeschool activities. But at Mass, no friends greet us; no one looks at us as upstanding members of the parish; no one knows us. We are strangers, and I've been really missing our old friends, singing in the choir, my choir buddies.
What I was mainly missing at the Old Parish was Jesus. I felt that the emphasis was more and more on self than Jesus and His Real Presence in the Eucharist. Being forced to introduce ourselves just before Mass began changed the atmosphere from one of prayer to one of camaraderie. The homilies were focused on the pastor for the most part. The music was focused on us, notsomuch on worship of God. In short, it was all about us and our fellowship (which is important, or I wouldn't be missing it!), instead of worshiping the Creator of the Universe who deigns to come down to us as a tiny piece of bread.
|Gorgeous mosaic above the tabernacle!|
They painted the ceiling over the sanctuary with the clouds, which looks much better in person than in the picture. The crucifix is new and huge. Interestingly, the corpus (body) is the same as the one at the old parish. A sign for me that this might be my new home?
The blue band says "Ego sum lux mundi qui sequitur me non ambulabit in tenebris". It was always there, just with a pale green background.
New carpeting, new tile down the center aisle. See where the celebrant's chairs have moved to? They've completely switched places with Jesus---I love it! And they have those lovely choir stalls on either side for servers or additional priests.
|This beautiful statue of Mary is not new, just the navy paint behind her and her "nameplate".|
|The stations all have new frames and background paint.|
In all, it was a wonderful Mass. I'm just so happy that everything seemed to be geared toward worship of God rather than ourselves. Father even said at the beginning of his homily that the church is beautiful but we need to make our souls beautiful, too. Another confirmation that they are focused on Christ is that when Meg went up to receive Communion, right in front of me, she didn't put the host in her mouth fast enough to suit the good Deacon, and he chased her down the aisle to be sure she had consumed it. Good for him! I don't think I ever saw that at my old parish---but that's not to say it never happened or that they aren't as protective of Christ in the Eucharist---but I was happy to see the Deacon in action and we told him so after Mass, thanking him for taking his duty seriously.
Slowly, but surely, I think we'll make the transition so that this parish becomes home, but it's not about us being important in the Church. It never was. It's about Christ being important in the Church/church.