January 1: The Solemnity of Mary, Mother Of God
Parish: Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church (see December 22 entry for parish details)
I have attended Mass here previously on Saturday mornings. However, this is the first Holy Day Mass I've attended here. My comments below are either expansions of my previous comments, or are specific to characteristics of the Holy Day Mass.
While sitting in the church, I was taking a closer look at it, and realized that the interior of the church is the same shape and proportions as a loaf of Wonder Bread. The curving ceiling, the ridge down the center, and it even is kind of a similar color to a loaf of freshly baked bread. I guess that makes the pews a sort of toast rack.
My ranking: no change. 3.5
Same priest, same storytelling style of homily. Today's homily was naturally about Mary, but it also described some of the conflicting beliefs about the nature of Jesus in the early Church. Some people saw Jesus as fully human (had Mary for his mother), but not fully divine (how could God be human). Others saw Him as fully divine (he is the Son of God, and is God), but not fully human (how could a human contain the power of God). These were two sides of the same coin, and this was eventually resolved at the Council of Nicea.
I was able to go to Confession with him a day or two before, and while I tend to forget my confessions rather quickly, I do remember that his counseling and penance was appropriate.
My ranking: thanks to the confessions, I am bumping his score up to 3.5 of 5
Oh, good heavens, was the music terrible! This was the first time, and the last time, that I will go to a music Mass at this church. The pipe organ sounded good and strong, but I think the organist used to have a job at Wrigley Field. Every time they did an intro to a hymn, it sounded like a stadium organ getting the crowd ready for their team to take the field.
The cantor sounded like a cross between Strother Martin and Dusty Rhodes. I cringed every time he started singing, and he sang a lot.
They really, really like their music, so much that during several of the prayers, the consecration, and the blessing at the end of Mass, the pipe organ was playing quietly, underscoring everything. It was a little distracting, and took away from the impact of the priest's words.
The corker, however, was when they sang the Lord's Prayer. It wasn't even the traditional chant; it was a full-on hymn with it's own melody and pipe organ accompaniment. I don't mind singing the Gloria, the Sanctus, the Agnus Dei, or even having the cantor sing the prayers. However, I am really particular about how the Our Father, and this was an abomination.
The other hymns were a mixed bag of classical and modern. Nothing really bad, but not really consistently good either.
My ranking: 2.5 of 5.
More or less OK, nothing exceptional. The music really set the overall tone, which made what should have been a good mass merely satisfactory.
My ranking: 3 of 5.
This was a holy day of obligation. Normally I don't mind going to Mass on these, but since I had a 12-hour drive ahead of me, I was sort of impatient. I was also somewhat distracted during Mass, for a number of personal reasons which I don't feel comfortable posting here. I really need the grace of God to help me through some of them, and frankly, I didn't find that grace here.
My overall ranking: 2.5 of 5.
Would I return: for a daily Mass, yes. For a Sunday/holy day Mass, no.
This is really a Jekyll-and-Hyde situation. The daily Mass is pleasant, reverent, and low-key. The Sunday Mass, particularly the incessant music and grating singing, is over-the-top, annoying, and downright offensive to the ears.
I slept through Mass this morning, so I'll have to go to Mass tonight. I'm probably going to St. Roch's, which I have reviewed twice already, so there will be no Mass Appeal for January 6, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Mass Appeal will return on January 13, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.