"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Rubble from the concrete altar at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Cumberland Avenue waits to be removed during renovation of the Catholic church. The original, marble altar was sledgehammered during a previous restoration in the late 1960's and lies in pieces in the catacombs of the church. -- Reality X Photojournal, Portland, Maine, 1999.
More recent changes include…a new Altar of Sacrifice and Altar of Repose and a pulpit of rough textured wood and handcarved symbols. Uh, oh.
And indeed, the parish website showcases a video of Michael Joncas music performed to the side of the gutted sanctuary. Here's the URL to cut and paste: http://shsdp.org/video/shsdpchoirsm.rm
That this is presented as a highlight underscores what may be an unbridgeable gulf between those who embrace the Vosko-Haugen-Haas program and those who view it as anathema. Is there, ultimately, any ground for compromise between the camps? I'm not so sure there is, but I welcome perspectives from Todd Flowerday and the SMMMHDH.
I must point out that the reasons to be Catholic far outweigh the nonsense that one too frequently encounters in the liturgies. I would rather endure a century of hippy-dippy liturgies, guitars and pianos and "On Eagles' Wings" over a minute of beautiful High Anglitic liturgy, even if the High Anglitic liturgy were breathtaking in its grandeur and solemnity.
What musical instruments were played? An electronic keyboard/synthesizer with a very cheap-sounding piano and strings setting. Evidently the organ in the gallery is just for show.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what? The worship style was confusing. The keyboard was a poor foundation for the congregation singing, so basically no one sang. Everyone just stood and looked around at one another. Then suddenly they broke into a b-flat jazz-style 12/8 meter "Alleluia" at the Gospel and it was a party. Men were bouncing their babies, women were throwing their heads back, and kids were laughing hysterically. It was a very sad moment as the church laughed at, not with, the song. The cantor thought he was Enrique Inglesias, and even did a Tonight-Show-style clenched-fist-pulled-down-arm-musical-cutoff at the end of the jazz riff – I mean the Alleluia. The lowest moment of my church-going career.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about? The sermon was actually given by the chairman of the finance committee. Apparently the congregation's giving is way down, and they need more money. We proceeded to take out the 2002 financial report from inside the service leaflet, and he itemized the spending in each department. Last year, in his words, "the church barely got by. Each of us," he stated, "must increase our contributions to the church." When he finished the congregation clapped.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)? 1 – For the first time in my church-going life (19 years), I walked out of a church completely and utterly bummed out. It was evident that very few folks wanted to be there, and I cannot contemplate attending here week after week.
Now, luckily, in Greater Boston, there are plenty of Catholic churches to choose from if you don't care for the one closest, but for many people on Cape Ann, this is pretty much it, unless they speak Portuguese or feel like driving. (As the pastor is staying on at the new consolidated parish, will the Tonight Show riffs stay on, too?)
What do people do in places across the country where Vosko-Haugen-Haas is the only offering?
Going back to Erik's comment: Perhaps it's a straw choice, since Anglo-Catholic parishes like S. Clement's in Philadelphia tend to be in cities where at least one classical RC equivalent would be available, but I will say that between Mahonyism and The Advent, I'd go with the latter.