Bill, aka the Crazy Clock Guy, aka Hey You (tallguy) wrote,
Bill, aka the Crazy Clock Guy, aka Hey You

Mass Appeal, the short form.

I decided to go to a daily Mass this morning (Actually, I was trying to go to Confession and Mass, but the priest stopped hearing confessions about two people ahead of me). It was a low mass (no singing, fewer readings), but I still felt duty-bound to write my opinions. This is not the first time I've been to this particular church; I go here about once a month on Saturday mornings. That in itself may tell you that this will be a favorable review.

Parish: Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church
89 N. 17th Ave.
Beech Grove, IN 46107
Founded 1908
Number of families: 1,022
Church capacity: 600

Church architecture:
I'm not sure if this is the original church building. If it is, it's been very well maintained. If not, it definitely was built pre-Vatican II, and that's to it's benefit.The exterior is mid-century, brown sandstone with a large metal cross over the front door.

The interior is the traditional cross-shape: sanctuary at the top, rows of pews at the bottom, a pair of side altars along the back wall (I guess that would make them back altars), confessional (not a room of reconciliation) built into the right side of the back wall, statues and entrances at the arms. When they encased the vaulted ceiling and made it flat, they added a mural of the Last Supper that is actually quite tasteful.It is reverent without being distracting, and whoever did the mural also did the Stations of the Cross in the wall sconces. The sanctuary is a good size, with a LARGE crucifix (the thing is probably 25 feet high). The tabernacle is directly behind the altar and under the crucifix (right where it should be) with gold leaf doors. There are two levels of stained glass windows, and in a pleasant touch, the captions on them are on stained glass plaques under them, and are both attractive and easy to read. Most of the electric lights were turned off when I entered the church this morning, so I really got to see the stained glass glow.
It was probably quite a sight to see pre-Vatican II, but as it is, it's somewhat boxy. Still, even if it's not the most aesthetically stunning, I still quite like it.
My ranking: 3.5 out of 5

The priest:
Late 40s or early 50s. He was transferred to this parish over the summer. I've At first, he seemed a little distant, but he's warmed up a little (or maybe I've warmed up to him).
His homiletic style is to come down from the pulpit and stand in front of the altar while talking. Some priests carry this off better than others, and he is one of them. Instead of being a game-show host or a Tom Cruise in Magnolia motivational speaker, he is more like a storyteller, in the vein of Garrison Keilor. He was slow and deliberate without dragging it out. The message of the homily was also quite good, both for me and for the season: the things of the earth are fleeting and impermanent. All that we have is a gift from God, and as much as we may enjoy or love them (including people), we should be willing to give them up if God asks us.
One irksome trait: I've come to him (or tried to) three times for confession. Once, he was a little distracted (this was right after he arrived, so I wrote it off as the usual settling-in period), once he was closing up the confessional when he saw me waiting (I had been there for over five minutes, but he never turned off the red light), and was visibly bothered that he had to hear one more, and the third time was today, when I was shut out.
My ranking: 3 of 5 for the priest, 4 of 5 for the homily. If I could actually go to confession with him, I may bump up his score.

The liturgy:
It was a low Mass, in and out with a minimum of pomp, delivered in 30 minutes or less or your next Eucharist is free. It was also one of the better Masses I've been to in a few weeks, possibly due to the simplicity. No music, so no frustrated American Idol rejects. All of the elements which seem to have been missing from the previous weeks were here. The Confietor, Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei were right on target, spoke reverently by all in English (to be honest, in this case, I don't think Latin would have improved it any). No ad libs during the consecration, and they even had bells during the elevation of the Body and Blood. I did not receive Communion (that whole stuck-in-a-state-of-mortal-sin thing), but the priest was the only one distributing the Body, which is another small pre-Vat II tradition which I prefer.
My ranking: 4 of 5.

Other: mostly older men and women (60s and above) at the Mass, plus several religious from the local order and from the nun's nursing home. The priest stood outside the church greeting people as we left, very much the exception after a low Mass.

My overall ranking: 3.5 of 5.
Would I return: by all means. I've been here many times, and for several reasons, this is one of my favorite parishes in the Indianapolis area to go for daily Mass. I think I'll come back here next week for Sunday Mass.
Tags: beech grove, mass
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