April 20: Fifth Sunday of Easter
Parish: Saint Susanna's Catholic Church
1210 E. Main St.
Plainfield, IN 46168
Number of families: 1,102
Church capacity: 500
The church is located on a turnoff from Main Street (US 40), and kind of gets lost between a Walgreens and the Duke Energy office. Kind of a pretty plain facade, nondescript, with the obligatory Catholic school and parking in the rear.
The interior kind of looked like a school as well, with coat hooks, supply closets, and bulletin boards all along the narthex leading to the nave.
The church proper was renovated in 2002, and it showed. Unadorned plaster and block walls painted stark white, with ladder rungs built into one wall to give them access to the skylight directly over the sanctuary. Four pie-shaped columns of pews, elevated stadium-style. No crucifix exactly, but an empty cross with some sort of stylized Jesus standing in front, arms upraised in the universal Sunday greeting: the extra point kick is good.
My ranking: 3 out of 5.
No bar band here, just a clanky piano and a four-person choir. They were only a little off-key and off-tempo, and I had low expectations anyway, so they fit the bill. One man and three women, so it was heavy on the high notes and not-quite-strong-enough voices.
The hymns were mildly inspirational, and not terribly inspired. A mix of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, just the sort of softballs I would expect. The usual singing of the Glory to God (verse-chorus-verse), Holy Holy Holy, and Lamb of God (I've given up using the Latin terms for these songs; hell, even Holy Rosary stopped using Latin in their English Mass, much to my disappointment). Again, pretty much run-of-the-mill.
My ranking: 2.5 of 5.
Father Kevin Morris reminded me quite a bit of Friar Tuck from the old Robin Hood movie, particularly his rather expansive girth. I'm not one to judge, but the poor man was about six feet tall, three feet wide and four feet thick. Dimensions aside, he was an acceptable priest. He does have a sense of humor: in talking about all the additional Masses he celebrated over the past few days, he said "This is the eight Mass which I have been blessed to celebrate this weekend. If I am blessed any more, I'll be dead." He didn't take any liberties with the phrasing of the liturgy, and seemed genuinely reverent and respectful.
Two complaints of note: first off, the man talked AWFULLY fast. He rushed through the readings (no layperson doing the reading; he did it himself), saying the words without giving any real sense of imparting wisdom or spiritual enrichment. When he gave you Communion, it all came out as one word, "bodyofchrist". You heard a Mass being said but without actually being able to understand the words. We were in and out within 45 minutes, great if you have to feed the parking meter, but frankly, too short a time for a Sunday Mass.
The second complaint is actually minor, but it sort of sticks out. When praying, he did not press his hands together palm to palm, or fold them with fingers interlaced. He placed one hand on top of the back of another and rested them on top of his ample belly, looking like he was pushing down the plunger of a game show and hoping for no Whammies.
My ranking: 3.5 of 5.
It was not an exceptional Mass, and sometimes that's not a bad thing. The pews were pretty well filled without being crowded, the music was satisfactory without being particularly good, the homily was the usual fluffy filler between the Gospel and the Creed, and the line for communion sort of shambled along as the choir droned on with "Eat This Bread". For all that, I know for certain that it was leaps and bounds above anything I would have experienced in Mooresville, and for that, I was truly grateful.
My ranking: 3 of 5.
Three altar servers, all girls, one of which was wearing knee-length shorts under a too-short alb.
The woman in front of me brought her purse with her when she received communion, and right after stuffing the wafer in her mouth, went right out the door.
My overall ranking: 2.5 of 5.
Would I return: I doubt it.
It was the ecclesiastical equivalent of a meal at Denny's: you have to eat somewhere, and it's a good way to get out of the house and kill an hour. There wasn't anything wrong per se, but you left not quite satisfied with the meal, and you're not going to go out of your way to go back there. I'm gad I was able to find a church on such short notice, but it just highlights the fact that there are better places to be on a Sunday morning.