« For the blind | Main | Blessed are the Meek »

March 18, 2007



At our 8:00am Mass, we sang "Laetare" for the introit and the communio of the day for the Prodigal Son gospel. For offertory, we sang an Anon. 16th Spanish polyphonic setting of "Tenebrae"-not quite right for Laetare but it worked out for the schedule, and the Lent theme was unmistakable. After communion, we sang O Esca Viatorum, by Isaac and set by Bach. Others hymns: Jesu Joy and Glory of these 40 days. The ordinary was chant. It was a beautiful Mass, with the celebrant in rose.

At the next Mass an hour later in the same parish, the people heard "Though the mountains may fall..." and a few other period pieces from the 70s.

Such is the state of things!

Ferde Rombola

"Michael the Toddler, that is."

Glad you made that distinction, Amy. What a relief!

Our homilist today was a transitional deacon serving our parish for the past 6 months or so. He's a native German who was raised in Mexico. His ordination to the priesthool is this coming May 27.

His homily stressed exactly the point Amy makes: the father saw his son from afar and was filled with love and compassion and RAN to him and embraced him and kissed him.

Note: I attended the Boston Catholic Men's Conference yesterday at which, surprise, surprise, our Pastor, Fr. David Barnes was honored as the Conference Priest of the Year. He deserves it, not only for his tireless efforts in the parish, but for his holiness as a priest. We are lucky to have him.


"Michael the Toddler, that is"
So Micheal Sr. still shouts out at mass?



I try not to think about the liturgy here too much and focus on the central part: the Eucharist, and Christ. Besides, I shouldn't complain so much, since I haven't really become a part of the parish at any level other than showing up for Mass.

That said, there was no mention of Laetare Sunday, no rose vestments (which isn't a huge issue for me at least), but better preaching (visiting Redemptorists), though the homily left me a bit puzzled.


This was pledge Sunday at our Parish... so after the wonderful reading of the Prodigal Son, Father had ushers pass out giving cards and he gave a little talk on increasing our pledges. We have been singing the Our Father in Latin all season, but there was no music -- no organ, no piano, no choir -- at early service today. Just our the parishioners' voices.

We have a second grader, so after Mass we had another First Communion meeting. Unlike our previous priest, our current one doesn't mention what's going on with the RCIA class and doesn't repeat the prayers for them in Masses other than the one they attend.


This Sunday's sermon was excellent . . . on the parable of the Prodigal son. But no mention that it is Laetare Sunday, and no rose vestments. Music tolerable, but oh, how I would like to hear some chant.


The 9:30 Mass at Holy Rosary in Indianapolis is celebrated according to the 1962 Missal, so we had rose colored vestments and tabernacle veil, flowers on the high altar and the Laetare introit.


Our celebrant wore rose vestments but, happily, did not feel a need to explain them (this was also the case on Gaudete Sunday, so I am hoping this is a permanent trend).

Excellent homily teasing out various overlooked aspects of the parable. Like the fact that the elder son would have been viewed as not terribly less reprehensible as the younger son (why? because, among several things. (1) he failed to mediate between the father and the younger son when the latter humiliatingly demanded that the father violate Jewish Scriptural tradition (see Sirach) on the division of estates, and (2) he accepted the division of the estate and did not refuse it as he ought to have). Like the detail about giving sandals to the younger son on his return: bare feet were a sign of slavery (in this case, to appetites), and the gesture marked the father lifting his son out of slavery (as well as from the status of apostate outcast - as a swineherd, the younger son would have been understood as an apostate, worse than a mere heretic). A fattened calf would feed the village, not just the family, so the celebration was over the top.

In the end, the father restores both reprehensible sons to full sonship.

And, of course, the challenge implied in the parable is that we, who are made in the image and likeness of God, are to image his lavish forgiveness.

And the preacher ended with a modern day lesson in that, prompted by a recent news story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: the vilification of the minister (Roy Ratcliff) who baptised serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer when the latter was in prison:

"People would walk away when introduced to him or argue that they wanted no part of a heaven that included Jeffrey Dahmer. Some would praise him to his face, only to tell others that he had been duped. He was rarely invited to other churches to talk about the salvation of the least of us, because, he guesses, 'there is a sense of shame.' At gatherings of preachers in the region, he says, one minister from Milwaukee constantly points him out to others and says: 'Do you know who that man is? Do you know what he did?'

And our preacher ended with repeating that last question.

A memorable homily on a parable that can be ignored in repeated hearings....

Sarah L.

During Lent we have no processional song, but one of the servers uses a "clacker thing" as they process in so you know Mass is starting.

We've been singing the Kyrie/Sanctus/Agnus Dei in Greek/Latin/Latin during Lent, which is great except that the cantor (who is usually up in the choir loft at the back)is unnecessarily down at the ambo to lead us in the Kyrie. Also, one priest has us all kneel duing the Kyrie. I haven't seen this before.

Today we were in the cry room and a couple with an ~18 month old was sitting in front of us. Before Mass began the father turned to us and said "It's our first time back in a long time. We haven't been to church for a long time." We just smiled.

My heart sank when, instead of a homily on the beautiful readings, especially the Gospel (prodigal son) that might really have spoken to that couple in front of us, we got the pastor coming out to talk about fundraising for the latest capital improvements. There was not even a cursory mention of the readings. What a shame for all of us, but most especially for that couple who were at Mass for the first time in a long while. Will they be back again? I hope so.

Our holy water fonts are empty and the big crucifix behind the altar is covered in purple cloth for all of Lent, not just for Good Friday/Holy Saturday like other parishes I've attended.


COrrection, that was the NY Times.

John Murray

This Lent, our Byzantine Catholic church has introduced a new translation of the Divine Liturgy. It features groovy inclusive language, numerous trivial changes to prayers, and surprise twists to formerly singable chant. It has had the salutary effect of making Lent suitably depressing. Unfortunately that will not likely change with the Resurrection.

To paraphrase the St. Lawrence who wore the iron grid in front of his face, it's like deja vu all over again to anyone familiar with the last few decades in Roman Catholic history.

We had red vestments last week.

John Murray


Father had on rose vestments today (and did explain why--and reminded everyone they weren't pink, but rose). The deacons wore their Lenten purple/violet, as did the altar and tabernacle. (I seem to recall being told that Father F's rose vestments are personal vestments which were a gift from an uncle at Father's ordination. The parish hasn't been able to afford to get rose ones for the deacons, yet.)

We had the second scrutiny and did two sets of intercessory prayers--one during the scrutiny and one after the creed (which followed the scrutiny).

Deacon B. gave the homily, which was on why the Gospel reading should have been called 'The Loving Father', not 'The Prodigal Son'. He also talked about how God is always ready to welcome back his penitent prodigals through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which has been our overarching homily theme for Lent, following the request of Archbishop Wuerl.

Modern music, except for Love Divine, All Loves Excelling. Marty Haugen version of the Psalm, with Gather's usual 'put "God" or "God's" where-ever Haugen used "Him" or "His"' variation.

Sandra Miesel

Our parish has been singing the Introits during Lent and doing Latin/Greek chant. No rose vestments because the set is too small for our two regular priests. (Msgr. has declined to wear rose since the priest scandal broke.) Good, solid sermon on the Gospel by said Msgr. although the English hymns included some dreadful thing with a jazz beat.

We get "healing services" this week, too.

Rich Leonardi

No rose vestments, a homily about family tensions at Chez Prodigal, and Amazing Grace for the scattering hymn. On the plus side, the Agnus Dei was quasi-chanted by our cantor.

mitch s

T. Martin of tours, Louisville.

rose vestements for the Priest and Deacons, (antique, I think), trad hymms, polyphony by the choir during preparation of gifts, peoples ordinary, (Sanctus, Agnes Dei etc) in Latin. good homily that built on the the last three weeks. Solemnity without neurosis, if you will.

Took a Baptist to Mass with us, his comment--(that's really something!)


Our parish has a lovely rose chasuble and a matching dalmatic, and they were worn this morning (I believe they were part of a memorial gift to the church). The readings from cycle "A" were used, because it was the second scrutiny. The Gospel was the one about the man born blind (John 9:1-41), and it was read in its entirety. I have never seen the point of the abbreviated versions of the Gospel, we aren't in that big of a hurry. I totally don't remember what the homily was about, because right before he started it, Father announced that he had had to call the fire department and the police early this morning. Someone had attempted to set fire to the church during the night. Fortunately they didn't succeed, there was only minor damage in the sacristy.


We had Father in rose vestments, which he explained. (He also remarked that someone before Mass had told him "you may call them 'dusty rose', but that's PINK." The altar cloth was the usual Lenten purple.

The homily was all on the Prodigal Son, and how God is always looking for us to come back, whatever we've done. I thought he missed an excellent opportunity to mention the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation there. Specially since the parish group liturgy for it is this Wednesday it's a shame he didn't bring it up.

All Lent we have been singing the Kyrie and Agnus Dei in Latin/Greek. The Kyrie has some petition or other in English followed by Kyrie eleison or Christe eleison. It's chant style, that's all I can say about it. I wouldn't know real Gregorian if it hit me over the head. I like it, though, and stopped after Sunday Mass recently to say I liked it, and can we do more.

I don't go to the Mass where the RCIA people are, so can't report on what's going on there.

Now I'm just back from the bookstore where I noted the spring crop of anti-Christian books and I need to share the pain (sorry Amy. And let's not comment on them here): Sacred Bones (Vatican is hiding some bones, guess whose?); something on the Judas Gospel; and The Jesus Mystery by Einhorn which seems to propose that Christ and St. Paul were the same person, and all the Gospels need to be shoved forward in time about 20 years. I actually browsed through that one. She at least keeps saying "we don't know", and "this is only a hypothesis."

Tim Young

Holy Family Cathedral, Tulsa Okla
The chant before mass was "Parce Domine" with the 4th verse. Mass parts in latin. Rose vestments, with a brief explaination.
Incense was used. Great homily by the Rector. Heavenly.


Violet vestments. The archbishop's campaign has been going on, so I wasn't surprised when I saw the projection screen set up. However, the DVD featured Archbishop Naumann introducing the pastoral letter of the bishops of Kansas: The exorbitant price of stem cell research.

And here's the text of the pastoral letter online:



Purple vestements but there was an explanation of Laetere Sunday, banal guitar music,a painfully long, stupid joke about an Irish priest prefaced a very mediocre sermon. Several women in blue jeans and grungy tees, most people now sitting before communion because "it's a new option" to quote our pastor. A woman holding precschooler on lap with preschooler's soles perched upon the back of the pew in front of them throughout the sermon. No attempt to gently discourage the behavior.

A. Nonnymouse

Haugen & Haas, as usual.


Purple vestments, also purple cloths on all statues in church (including cross on the altar). Music a mixed bag: Lift High the Cross (opening); father I Have Sinned @ Offertory (song by a Cdn. Redemptorist); Communion, The Cry of the Poor (St. Louis Jesuits); Closing, Amazing Grace. Homily: forgettable.

Mary Jane

Our weekend Masses were rather undistinguished (and I'm the choir director, so who's to blame this week). On the other hand, I'm finding our RCIA practices in this parish less painful than many. Last year, the director of I-don't-remember-what in my old parish had composed lengthy litanies for these Sundays which she presented to the music directors approproximately 10 minutes before Mass with the request that they be cantored.

This year, it's no hoop-la and just the rite in the proper place. That's a break. The other problem with long RCIA insertions is that people come to resent the poor folks who are coming into the Church for making "their" Mass longer. (Remember - 4-5 hours for cable TV, no problem, but no Mass should ever exceed 60 minutes.)


We didn't have rose vestments -- or rose decor of any kind, which I thought was kinda sad. (Would it really have broken the bank to have draped the dead stick floral decorations with pink ribbons or cloths? We have a break in those six weeks for a reason!)

We chanted the Agnus Dei, which we've done all Lent. Hymns: "Take Up the Cross", I don't remember the other two, and "Amazing Grace". We also sang at communion an Orlando di Lasso setting of the Kyrie.


Forgot to mention: the homily was about the love of the Father, how He's always ready to take us back; and about how we should try not to be self-righteous like the elder brother. This priest's homilies are sometimes a bit scattery; but they always come together in the end, and he conveys a lot of reverence and wonder.

Fr Martin Fox

St. Boniface has a rose vestment, wore it, didn't explain it (did that last year); St. Mary has none, wore purple. Had roses in front of the altar at each parish, kept purple cloth on altar.

At both parishes, during Lent, we've used Introits taken from the Psallite collection (yes, I know some of them are odd, but the ones we've used so far are good). Those who say, use the Latin introit, or use the Anglican gradual -- these are a first step, more user-friendly.

Also during Lent (and into Easter is the plan), we're using the Latin Sanctus, as well as the Greek Kyrie. Minimal instruments at Mass.

At the beginning of Mass, I explained Laetare Sunday without using the term.

For the scrutinies (I did it at both parishes), we called forward just the elect, and did the intercessions, one time, after the ritual, then the creed. I think that's okay, isn't it? I did include the scrutiny inserts in the Roman Canon.

Offertory was "Amazing Grace"; Communion, "Taste and See" and "Deep Within"; recessional, "Blest are they." After communion, at 9 am, choir did a great version of "Were you there?"

My homilies can be found by clicking my name below.

marco frisbee

Having relocated to Edmond, OK, mitch s, I am unseasonally green with envy. Still and all, St. Monica's in our new hometown does things very well.

Amy, did the German parish you attended inherit anything from Old St. Mary's, or was all of its beauty lost in the fire?


We went to Sunday evening Mass at the parish closest to us (not our parish of choice). This is usually the Lifeteen Mass with drums, etc. amplified. I guess they have toned it down a little for Lent (yay!), but the offertory song was a taped song from Les Mis. The pastor was very excited about how this song tied in perfectly with the parable of the prodigal son. Even my daughter (who loves everything Broadway) rolled her eyes.


We went to Sunday evening Mass at the parish closest to us (not our parish of choice). This is usually the Lifeteen Mass with drums, etc. amplified. I guess they have toned it down a little for Lent (yay!), but the offertory song was a taped song from Les Mis. The pastor was very excited about how this song tied in perfectly with the parable of the prodigal son. Even my daughter (who loves everything Broadway) rolled her eyes.


The opening song was based on Psalm 91 (dumbed down) but it began with the word “ joyful”(= Laetare). Our Choir director often uses the introit verse to suggest an opening song. The penitential right was the Kyrie in Latin. The offertory hymn was Amazing Grace. The Angus Dei was in English and Latin with music that was similar to a chant and beautifully done. The petitions were English and except for the first were not “who takes away the sins of the world.”

Our regular deacon gave the homily this being the third Sunday of the month (our practice is the deacons preach on the third Sunday.) He talked about the second son and how his sin was worse than the first son. That’s what I remember; I had a hard time staying awake.

One of our strong points is that we have a music director who is very talented in putting things together so that for the most part we have singable music from a OCP hymnal and tying it to the readings and parts of the Mass where it used. Much better than any of the neighboring parishes with which I am familiar.


Father didn't wear rose, which suprised me, since he has gradually brought back things to this Parish that haven't been done in decades. Benediction, adoration, washing of hands before the Eucharistic prayer, incense, chanting of prayers. I don't think he gets much support from the parish staff on much of this. He did give a nice homily with a great little tale of the pastor who offered a $100 bill to his congregation, first as a crisp new,bill, then as a crumpled bill, then as a stained, stepped on bill with tears around the edges. Of course they all had the same value, as we sinners do to God. Not mindblowing, but right on point.
Also spoke with my daughter who is in boarding school in Indiana, near Southbend.
Her confirmation class went to the Basilica at Notre Dame today for a high Mass. She said "it made me realize why I am a Catholic" and she was also a little annoyed at her friends who were less than reverent.
She turned sixteen yesterday.

Sydney Carton

Today at the 5:30pm Sunday Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan, in the homily the priest mentioned Benedict's 130 page Exhortation. He said that divorced Catholics who remarried were not permitted to take Communion, nor were people who were not in a state of Grace, and that OBEDIENCE to Christ and the Church's moral teachings was necessary to be in a state of grace.

I love it when they really focus on obedience.


Sacred Heart, Eau Claire WI
Lenten masses have had a holy presence about them this year. For the first time I'm aware of, the Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, and Agnus Dei have been chanted in Latin with the congregation singing. The former two are #316 and 316-A in the maroon Gather hymnal (which surprised me). Everyone seems to know the Agnus Dei (including me) but it may or may not be in the Gather book. Don't know why the Kyrie isn't sung, although Father and we say it in Latin at some of the four weekend Masses. The "I Confess..." is said every Sunday, followed by the Kyrie. Today no rose vestments, although he does wear them on Gaudete Sunday. Thoughtful homily as usual on the prodigal son--and how we tend to be both of the two sons at different times of our lives. Much about the Father's joyful forgiveness and welcoming home of those who repent--although we can only hope because we're not told whether the older son learned to forgive and welcome the prodigal home, too, or not. The last couple of Sundays have been about stewardship, but not with an emphasis on money. Prayer and use of talents are much emphasized. Today, two parishioners I've always been kinda curious about gave short talks (witness, I suppose you could say) just before the final blessing. The first was a cool guy whom I've noticed doing all kinds of things around the parish it seems. Five children, stay-at-home dad while his wife is a local family practitioner. Studying for the deaconate. He and his wife have done a lot of lectio divina (sp?) as they read through the Bible, say the Liturgy of the Hours, partake in Adoration whenever possible, love the rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, etc. etc. Made much mention of the value of the Catechism and the books of Benedict XVI and John Paul II. His talk was just tremendous as was that of the elderly maiden lady whose great grandfather helped build our beautiful church, whose grandparents and parents were married at Sacred Heart, and who does a LOT of the background stuff without which the parish would be so much poorer. She even works Bingo on Friday nights, was in the choir for 50 years, etc. etc. etc. Eau Claire is so blessed to have this parish, this priest, and these special people. Wow. I'm pretty worked up just writing about it.

Fr. Bryan

St. Joseph Parish
Muskogee, Oklahoma

Opening Hymn: Amazing Grace

Penitential Rite: Confiteor and Kyrie (in Greek)

Vestments: Rose (with brief explanation)

Homily: Focus was on the false sense of security and freedom that both sons have. Both believe in illusions and dishonor their father. The younger believes that his true freedom is found apart from the father. He acknowledges his fault, returns and becomes a new creation. The older is not willing to risk losing his pride and self-righteousness in order to become reconcilied. The father seeks to reconcile them both. We often want to see ourselves as the younger son when in fact we are usually the older one who refuses to risk in order to become a new creation. Mentioned that both St. Patrick, whose feast day was yesterday, and our patron St. Joseph, whose feast day is tomorrow, took many a risk in being faithful to God.

Other notes: Explained the meaning of Laetare Sunday, along with ministry of reconciliation in the early Church with its public penance compaired to today's Sacrament of Reconciliation. Scrutinies took place at the 10:30 Mass. The Anointing of the Sick was offered at the end of all the Masses.

Sorry Amy, the homily was longer than six minutes, but shorter than twenty-two.:)

Rebel With a First Cause

We are a cluster of two parishes, and our catachumens are shifted around to different churches and masses for the Scrutinies. So today we had no Scrutinies and heard the Prodigal Son reading. The pastor gave an excellent homily emphasizing God's boundless love. Referring to the part of the story where the father runs out, embraces and kisses the son, he said he looked up the paticular Greek word for "kiss" in this instance and said that it means "many kisses". So he gave us an image of an overjoyed father, showering his lost son in kisses.

He also used the homily to encourage those present to come to the parish Reconciliation service, which was tonight. Our parishes have one of these services every Advent and Lent, where 4 to 6 priests are present and they hear individual confessions for everyone who wants to come. "Six priests, no waiting!" He cherrfully announced.

No rose vestments or mention of Laetere Sunday. Don't remember all of the music, but we sang "Taste and See" at communion and "Amazing Grace" as a recessional. Generally we have very good music; a pretty good blend of traditional and modern material played by a professional cantor and pianist/organist with a volunteer choir.


Purple vestments. We did the Scrutinies, no Creed. Readings from A cycle were used, the story of the blind man. Good sermon, with lots of 1st century jewish cultural reference.
middle school lenten day retreat after Mass.


Ummm, today the priest told us to sit down instead of stand for the proclamation of the Gospel because it was going to take a while (longer text than usual). I thought is was relaxing... err, I mean... /sigh


In an overseas military parish:
No rose vestments, although I know we have them. Our pastor showed them to us at Mass on the third Sunday of Advent, said he doesn't want to wear pink, and that was that.
Chaotic exodus of children for "Children's Church."
The usual Haugan & Haas, guitars, drums, piano, flute, and trombone accompanied the choir. I have given up for the time being since when I was a member of the choir my requests for Latin Mass parts, suggestions of how to carry this out at least during Advent and Lent went completely unheeded and unanswered.
Visiting priest's homily quoted Fr. Corapi's story about the two altar boys in two different parts of the world who dropped cruets at Mass, one is scolded severely by the bishop, the other bishop takes an interest in the boy, encourages him, tells him he'll be a bishop someday. The encouraged boy is Fulton Sheen, the scolded boy is Stalin. He tied it to the mercy of the Father in Heaven. I was happy to hear that the visiting priest was watching EWTN.
Praying that when our pastor is transferred this summer, our new pastor will be more interested in reverent liturgy and more traditional devotions.

Susan Peterson

The Byzantine Rite doesn't have Laetare Sunday, no pink vestments. I haven't yet really learned the meanings of their liturgical colors; they aren't the same. For instance the Holy Spirit isn't red for fire, but green, for life. Mary is pale, ice blue. I am thinking we had red and gold today, but I am not sure and can't say why.
Father preached about "my yoke is easy and my burden light." I have to admit that I don't know if those words were in the readings or not...but he said, first that our Lenten fasting and other penance were supposed to bring us closer to God AND to each other, and then that Lent was not a time to be dreaded,not a heavy burden for Christians...and then the yoke is easy citation.
We are in the midst of some really fairly minor liturgical changes, but since the people had all the chant memorized, the musical changes are completely throwing them off. It is all in the new book in musical notation, (which I wish had been there for the old chant when I first went there) but I guess they can't read music, because they aren't joining in nearly as much as they usually do. Although we have a young cantor who went away and studied the new music, and who sings it beautifully, the regular old guy cantor continues to drown him out. The old guy is used to having his way with the chant and really isn't following the time value of the written music. He totally messed up the pitch on the one really difficult part..as did I, but I know if the cantor who can really sing could just lead us in this we would get it.... in other words, I spent a lot of time concentrating on trying to sing the music, more like choir rehearsal than how I usually participate in Divine Liturgy. The new music is just slight variations on the old, not a radical change. Even the changes in the words are on the whole minor; there are a few I like and a few I don't like, but not really the "this is the end of the road I'm going Orthodox" stuff I was led to expect. But for a people who were used to having things the same year after year and who like it that way, this is difficult.

No rose either, at my husband's Anglican church,all purple. For Lent they push the altar against the wall and have an "ad orientem" celebration. Music there is a combination of Episcopal hymnal-which I like-and some "Praise" type music, which I don't, but can tolerate; it certainly doesn't reach the depths of Gather altered H&H! The sermon was not on the Prodigal son but on the reading from 2nd Corinthians. It was pretty close to a line by line explication of the text and then something of an exhortation to be "ambassadors for Christ."
I hear better sermons at that church than I ever have anywhere else, but of course I always have to be on the watch for the parts which are evangelical Protestant doctrine and not Catholic. It is admirable in so many ways;there is a coherent theology and it is being preached, explained, illustrated, applied. We have a much larger, deeper coherent theology. Why isn't it being preached, explained, illustrated, applied?

Oh, also, in this church during Lent, one old BCP option practice is being revived: The service starts with the singing of the ten commandments, with the people singing after each one "Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law."
It is very solemn and a little bit uncomfortable making in a salutary way.

Susan Peterson


LifeTeen Mass Panama City, FL

No rose vestments, P&W music and 8 people receiving the sacrament of confirmation tonight. This is our second round of Confirmations in the last 3 months! Why these people couldn't wait till Easter was unclear.

Also, during the sacrament of Confirmation, the Come Holy Spirit(sung ala Praise&Worship style) was mingled with Let It Rain....disastrous.

The homily? 30+ minutes of I don't know what.

I don't think I can ever go to Mass there again.

Needing your prayers,


P.S. A teenager in front of me was wearing a T shirt with the words "SEX WAX" in big letters on the back.


Sacred Heart co-Cathedral, Houston, TX, 11:00

Not our usual parish--Houston was full of us Austinites escaping the last weekend of SXSW. Lovely smallish cathedral, eclipsed by the much larger new cathedral being built next to it.

The vestments if I recall were violet. Agnus Dei, Sanctus, AND the Mysterium Fidei/memorial acclamation all in Latin. Reasonable if not memorable homily on God's mercy. Houston Catholics dressed like Baptists in their Sunday best--I felt ashamed in my oversized shirt and jeans (I must get some decent maternity clothes).

After the homily, a lengthy and somewhat bizarre appeal for the capital fund for building the new cathedral. It was asserted that God had miraculously put a $7 million down payment already; some wealthy families having contributed more than a million more, it was made explicit that the rest of the congregants needed to offer thousands per family in order to match that generosity; and we were told confidentially about the great deal on the land (downtown Houston real estate being pretty pricey), then sworn to secrecy (twice!) and told the dollar figure was for the ears of parishioners only.

Lots more announcements at the end, and just after the last "amen" and before the final blessing, Father stopped and said "wait--I forgot one" and spent a few minutes telling us about some parishioner's musical accomplishments, then dismissed us having completely forgotten to do the final blessing at all. My youngest was weeping with tiredness and vexation by the end; I felt like joining her.

Ed the Roman

St Mary's Fort Walton Beach FL.

Violet. I don't remember if we have rose, and Fr. Garrett, being retired, is sufficiently ... unattached, yes, unattached to many things traditional that he probably wouldn't wear them anyway. He does not permit one single word of Latin in any of his masses, ever. He is a dear man and greatly beloved.

Music was recent and undistinguished, save Amazing Grace, although the younger of the cantors is going to be a quite astonishing singer when he grows up (he was about 9).

John Murray

After leaving the Divine Liturgy at my Byzantine Catholic parish early, later in the day I attended a Mass at a RC church within walking distance. The priest was robed in white and wore a microphone that curved around from his ear--like a telemarketer. Bad sign.

He ordered all to stand and introduce themselves to neighbors. Ugh.

Then he said the Mass would be for St. Patrick's day (this was *Sunday* evening the *18th*.) Ok, theologically odd, but maybe the more saints the better. Then he said that to recognize the good saint, we would have BAGPIPES in this Mass. "Braaack!" went the pipes. I waited to hear if he would play "Scotland the Brave" (nothing else making sense at the time) and left when he didn't.

Top that if you can,

John Murray

Mike Walsh

Rose --sigh--.

To this color-blind padre, such fine distinctions are lost (I sometimes require help picking the right color vestments anyway). And to be honest --and call it what you want-- to many men there is something a little unseemly about the wearing of such a color. And a symbol that requires so much narrative to make the point is a dead symbol. How much effort should be made to resurrect it?

scotch meg

Women's Conference in Boston:

Cardinal O'Malley celebrating with Cardinal Turkson from Ghana and numerous others... No pink, but mention of Laetare Sunday. Good homily on the prodigal son, comparing him to St. Patrick's return to Ireland. Drew in references to the various (wonderful) speakers. Plea to us as women to stand up for truth, especially in this state, with regard to love, marriage, and family -- with an honest admission that we have credibility that men and bishops lack. Sly joke about how there were more of us than the men (largely because of the weather), which would get the men's competitive juices flowing for next year.

Music was Christian pop by Martin Doman and Alice Halprin (sp?), and also Dana Scallon. I liked it better than the usual H/H Mass music, but my husband longed for chant (which apparently they had the first year at the Men's Conference).

An amazing experience -- Mass with 5000 other Catholic women from around Boston.

Sue T.

At my parish, Mass began with a sung "call to worship"--very GIA/OCP-ish. However, we did the Kyrie and Agnus Dei in Latin. No scrutinies, which makes me sad because we had done them in previous years. However, we had a baptism, so that was nice.

Good homily by Father talking about reconcilation.

The vestments were purple. For Lent, we've had purple banners/bunting draped in various spots around the Church.

Joe C.

Great homily on sacrament of reconciliation.

Tied in directly to the prodigal son, i.e. the Father's mercy talked about in scripture is offered to us in the sacrament of reconciliation anytime. Discussed at length, who must go to confession, and how it is a grace for those not in mortal sin.

First time I ever heard a homily on confession during Sunday Mass.


Bagpipes can be very good at Mass, but the piper has to be familiar with the acoustic properties of the church. He also should be _good_. Finally, either he or the music director should have a good sense of what's liturgically appropriate.

Probably the easiest way to go is just to have the piper play people into or out of church. That way, you get the festive feel without having to worry about unbalancing the whole liturgy, or tormenting the people who don't find the pipes beautiful. (And if the piper does turn out to be unskilled, it won't torment the people who do find the pipes beautiful.) This is often done at weddings, I believe.

If you have a lot of traditional Celtic musicians to draw on (or even if you just do a partial version), the classical Irish composer Sean O Riada's Mass setting is extremely effective and beautiful.

Richard Vigilante

Father Thomas Dufner, our pastor, preached on the particular virtues of fatherhood and pointed out that forgiveness came only after repentence.

Imagining what the household had been like before the troublesome son left, Fr. D. pointed out that if that family was like most otherwise healthy families in which Moms and Dads play their roles well, we would not be surprised to hear that the Father and the P.Son had clashed repeatedly over the son's failure to love up to the family's values and the mother repeatedly stepped in to make up the fight.

Finally, however, we can well imagine that when the Son asked for his inheritance so that he could leave, the Father and the Mother may have differed, the Mother wanting the Father to bend so that the Son would stay, and the father refusing because he was convinced the time had come to give the Son a definitive choice the accept the family's values or be gone so he could no longer subvert them. The Father took action for justice.

All the more wonderful then, that when the Son repented his father more than forgave him and did more than justice required.

For, Father Dufner explained, the glory of mercy is that it is the crown of justice and not a replacement for it. So that the great task of fatherhood is to defend the family in justice, and then celebrate the work of grace--repentance--with a mercy that goes beyond justice.

Richard Vigilante

Charlotte Allen

St. Dominic's Church, Southwest Washington:

As ever, our Laetare Sunday Mass featured the inimitable St. Dom's combination of the good, the bad, and the unfortunate in taste.

No rose vestments, alas--but our parish, which runs a perpetual deficit, might not be able to afford them (I promise that when I get rich, I'll both personally cure the deficit and buy the parish a fine set of vestments for Laetare and Gaudete). The celebrant did, however, wear a beautiful purple chasuble ornamented with gold croix formees, and he delivered a terrific, on-point sermon aligning the parable of the Prodigal Son with the sacrament of penance (which, he reminded us, is the sacrament of "penance," not "reconciliation," which is the outcome of the sacrament, not the sacrament itself). You go, Father!

As for the music, well...The Communion hymn was "Amazing Grace," which, I'm sorry, is not a Communion hymn. It is, however, a favorite hymn of mine despite massive overuse, and its line "'twas lost but now I'm found" is a lovely paraphrase of a similar line in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

Otherwise it was Marty Haugen's "Shepherd Me, O God" (yeesh!) for the Offertory and even worse, "God Has Chosen Me" by Bernadette Farrell for the recessional. You can both listen to the latter and read the inane lyrics here[http://www.spiritandsong.com/jukebox/songs/7776]
This has got to be one of the worst contemporary hymns ever, and that's saying a lot. The lyrics are all about "me, me, me"; it's a chick song! Here's how I would rate these three contemporary Catholic composers, in ascending order of worseness:

3. Dan Schutte
2. Marty Haugen
1. Bernadette Farrell

At St. Dom's the celebrant usually joins in the recessional hymn as he walks at the end of the recessional procession. Sitting near the front of the church, I watched Father as he joined the procession and opened his missalette to the Farrell hymn. Then I watched his eyes bulge. Then I noticed that he did not join in the singing, but simply walked down the aisle with a set smile on his face. By the time we finished singing, I could scarcely keep a straight face, what with the combination of Farrell's lyrics and my memory of those bulging eyes.

St. Dom's is a beautiful church, but I wish we would lose our strange Lenten decor, which consists of an arrangement on the steps in front of the altar of cloth, fake rocks, and dried greenery that I think is supposed to convey a desert atmosphere. As the weeks of Lent progress, the display looks increasingly disheveled, which makes it look stranger still. The display also includes three loaves of bread that have been there since Ash Wednesday. Whenever I look at those loaves, I think about rats for some reason.

Rob F.

St. Bernadette, Monroeville, PA. No introit, nor a substitute hymn. No Laetare theme at all. During precession the Penitential Rite was begun and the "Lord have mercy was sung" with father kneeling at the foot of the dias. Violet vestments. Homily was the same "Not prodigal son but loving father" theme reported elsewhere. Scrutinies, but cycle C (not A) was used for the readings, except for the responsorial psalm, which was replaced by a "generic". But the Agnus Dei was chanted by the congregation in Latin!


Slogans for the subject (but just barely):

Seasonal bumper stickers:

  • Rejoice and wear rose!
  • Real men wear pink in the Real Presence.
  • Rose, when purple is too common.

For you Seinfeld fans:
 I like a pinkish hue. (George Costanza)

Catechetical doggerel:
Roses are red, violets are blue.
Laetere's pink, Gaudete, too.

RP Burke

Rose vestments for the semimonthly bilingual Mass, celebrated by our Ugandan-born pastor. Music was a thrown-together amalgam based on English-language music with several verses in Spanish. Included a forgettable Haas ditty for communion and another contemporary wonderwork for entrance. At the end, a hymn (yes, we do hymns as well as 'songs' at our parish), "Take Up Your Cross," with two Spanish verses that, like the others, didn't scan properly to the tune. The only thing that fit, bilingually speaking, was the responsorial psalm, which used the refrain first in Spanish to one melody, then in English to a similar melody.

Year C readings even though the one catechumen and two candidates for full communion were scrutinized. Used Haas's musical setting in "Who Calls You By Name": isn't there something newer and more musically artistic than this? Scrutinies given in both English and Spanish; as is proper, no creed or prayer of the faithful followed this rite.

Homily was about reconciliation, and the pastor tied the Prodigal Son story to a moving story of courage to reconcile, from the South African Truth Commission: the widow of a man burned alive by S. African security asked for the sergeant to, among other things, visit her twice a week so she could mother someone. Extraordinary grace and courage not to ask for the execution of the security forces who participated.


Fr. Z has a great picture of some "rosacea" (rose) vestments from back in the day, as well as a fascinating explanation of how the color rose represents the coming dawn of the Sun of Justice.

I would describe the color as a slightly orangey version of candy apple red or cherry red. It's not at all pink, though one can see how pink is a legitimate variant. (Expensive and unstable dyes usually made Northern Europe's versions of colors something much less intense than the original. The difference between an intensely orangey saffron robe on a Buddhist monk and the yellow color we think of as saffron is substantial.)


Emmanuel, Delray Beach FL. Purple vestments and subdued music..

Last Sunday, the pastor talked at all Masses of the spiritual state of the parish. He’s been here for 6 months and this was a follow-up to his evaluation of the parish’ financial state. First, Father told people that the parish existed for a spiritual purpose. Then, in a soft-spoken voice, he spoke of the large number who come late and/or leave early. He said this wasn’t about rule keeping but about the riches waiting for Catholics at the Mass, and about Jesus waiting longingly for us to come all week and about developing a mutual and loving relationship with God. .

Then, Fr. described what he frequently sees at Communion time: people chewing gum, grabbing the Host or holding out their hands in such a way that they could easily drop the Host. He said they find consecrated hosts everywhere throughout churches in our diocese - even in the bathroom. At his last parish assignment, he brought a woman Communion and she showed him her homemade altar topped with a stack of consecrated Hosts. Father then described how to receive Communion reverently in the hand and on the tongue. He ended by saying that the Holy Spirit has given this parish the charisms of friendliness and joy in an abundance that he’s never seen before.

Yesterday, the priest who is a visiting faculty member from a nearby seminary gave a solid homily on our personal need to forgive. Towards the end, though, he became more and more impassioned and tried to apply what he’d said previously to the Death Penalty. According to Father, those on Death Row are very much the "marginalized" who have been pushed out of sight so we don't have to deal with them. My husband reminded Father after Mass that a miniscule number of Death Row inmates have been executed, compared to the 3 to 4 thousand babies killed by abortion weekly in our country. But clearly Father had spent his passion quota for the day.


Holy Cross, Western Washington

Music: the usual OCP in the usual manner for our parish. "Amazing Grace" was sung. I am thankful at least that it was done with the regular lyrics (some versions leave out "a wretch like me" and insert "and set me free"). Otherwise, I think we also had "Taste and See" and for the intro the same hymn every week, (set to the tune of "I heard the voice of Jesus say") "Led by the Spirit," which I guess is our theme song for Lent.

Homily: For reasons unknown to me, our priest shouted his entire homily except for the last two minutes where he whispered. He retold the entire Gospel reading, but inserted some speculations and elaborations, said the version in the bible was the "cleaned up version." Isn't it a parable? So wouldn't it be imaginary to begin with--i.e. not based on a real story? This ended with the usual comments on how the father ran to his son and how we need to run to forgive others, but it was delivered again in shouts.

The one interesting thing I learned that I hadn't heard before was that the Prodigal Son story was one story in a collection of common stories that many rabbis would tell as teaching tools and that Jesus would take these stories and change elements of them, shocking or surprising the hearers.

This priest, in my opinion, never digs deep enough, rarely challenges your thinking, relies on too many standard examples and phrases too often. I know his heart is likely in the right place, but I think he is too busy running the parish(es) to work much on his homilies.


Correction to my previous post: That is 3 to 4 thousand babies killed daily by abortion.

Mark R

It sucked. It seems that at practically every other Sunday Mass the sermon is used either by a priest or a lay notable for church fundraising purposes. It happens to be a rich parish and is one of the few (usually) solid parishes in the Seattle area. (My wife and I are not members of the parish, but we attend it often because my scheduling keeps me from our normal parish which offers fewer Masses.) I would "out" the parish to shame it, but nobody has heard of it and it would do no good if anyone did.

Eric B

I went to our parish's Life Teen Mass - I enjoy that Mass since I am a Catholic Charismatic (the homily is only 15 minutes or so). Our pastor had the rose vestment and did explain its usage and that it is not pink. Father had a very good homily that he started out by showing a 20 dollar bill and asking if any of the teens wanted it. Of course, they said yes, then he folded it and asked again, then he crumpled it and asked again and then he even used scissors to cut it in half (not sure if that is legal :) and asked again and everytime teens said yes. Then he proceeded to talk about the Prodigal Son story and how the younger son figuratively said he didn't love his father and spit in his face when asking for his share. And how we do that when we sin, we are spitting in God's face (yes, Fr. said SIN during Mass) and rejecting his love. But even after all that we do against God, if we come back to him - he is there with a hug and a kiss for us - hug and kiss are worth more than words in this case. Just like we still would take $20 dollars that has been crumpled, folded, and cut, so God takes us in our crumpled and sinful shape. He ended his homily with saying that even Jesus hanging on a cross has his arms open to us, inviting us to him so he can embrace us. I thought it was a very powerful homily. And a side note, we finally have holy water in the fonts this year for lent, they put rocks in the font to make it look more dry and deserty?


Wow, Charlotte, this song called "God Has Chosen Me," sounds like the very caricature of bad Christian pop. It's like they are now making fun of themselves. "Let's write the most awful song possible and see if parishes go for it!" Thanks for the link, I think.

Susan Peterson

And we Byzantines are complaining about having to use slightly different music when we sing

" O only begotten Son and Word of God,
Who, being immortal,
deigned for our salvation
to become incarnate
of the holy Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary,
and became man without change;
You were also crucified,
O Christ our God,
and by death have trampled Death,
being One of the Holy Trinity,
glorified with the Father and the Holy Spirit—
Save us! "

Every Sunday. (From the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostum.)

The music we were having trouble singing was for this:

All of creation rejoices in you, O Full of Grace,
The assembly of Angels and the race of men.
O Sanctified Temple and Rational Paradise! O Glory of Virgins!
From you, God was incarnate and became a child, our God before the ages.
He made your body into a throne, and your womb He made more spacious than the heavens.
All of creation rejoices in you, O Full of Grace! Glory to you!

(not this same exact translation)From the Liturgy of St. Basil.

They do have some actual hymns which are sung mostly at the beginning before the liturgy, which mostly aren't very good, such as a particularly sappy version of Immaculate Mary
"IM, our hearts are on fire etc, rhymed with desire" I prefer the version I used to (a long time ago) hear sung in WR Catholic churches in which "praises we sing" rhymes with "with Jesus our King."
But there is a minimum of this stuff...mostly we just chant the liturgy.

Susan Peterson

Mary Jane

Wow, Bernadette Farrell really went off the tracks with "God Has Chosen Me." Yup, that's right - just me and I'm gonna fix the world. Sheesh. In her defense, however, "Praise to You, O Christ, Our Savior" is a splendid processional hymn, which is more about Christ and less about "moi."


Oh, Jeffrey, what a sheltered life you live...;-)
If you think God Has Chosen Me Is the worstest (why do I think of Keith Olbernamm after reading Charlotte's post?) you need to page through the rest of OCP's Rise Up and Sing.
(Jesus Said Something Wonderful, with lots of finger snaps, is a highlight)

Mark Harden

The other problem with long RCIA insertions is that people come to resent the poor folks who are coming into the Church for making "their" Mass longer.

The RCIA includes seven cantored intercessions for each Scrutiny. The Rite encourages parishes to include additional intercessions specifically tailored to the needs of their Elect...we use only one additional intercession in our parish for each of the three Scrutinies.

So if congregations are complaining about eight or nine intercessions, they are being selfish; but, yes, if the RCIA coordinator has inserted a dozen extra intercessions into each Scrutiny, he's doing the congregation (and the resented Elect) a disservice.


No rose vestments -- I don't think the parish has any, actually.

Everyone knelt (the priest knelt in front of the altar) before the "I confess to Almighty God..." and the Kyrie in Greek.

Psalm 36, "Taste and See," but not the Haugen or Haas version -- it was a lovely chant version from our old hymnal.

Homily was about inner conversion, and was pretty good.

Sanctus from Mass of Creation. A fantastic Gregorian chant setting of the Agnus Dei.

Presentation hymn by the choir: "Give us living water."
Communion hymn by Haas. (I can't remember which one; does it matter?)
Recessional hymn was an African-American spiritual: "Somebody's Knockin'"


My 3-year old blurted out at the end of a mass recently: "God is Jesus. Jesus is God." TAKE THAT, ARIUS!

The comments to this entry are closed.