Monday, March 29, 2010

A little field trip

Turtle and I try to attend Mass/Liturgy every Sunday. Some weeks we attend a Roman rite Mass, some weeks we attend a Byzantine rite Liturgy--either at Turtle's "home" church, or a new one we've started visiting that's a little closer to home.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, which is a pretty big deal as far as church "holidays" go. With Turtle's friend coming over at NINE AM to help him with building the workbench, it looked like we weren't going to be able to make a Liturgy/Mass. Crap. Baaaad Catholics.

Turtle did some digging, and he found a Mass at 6 PM about a 1/2 hour away from our house! Great! One little catch: it was in Latin. Celebrated in the style of pre-Vatican II, like the Masses our parents attended when they were little. We were both curious, so we said "why not?"

As you may or may not know, in a Latin Mass, the priest faces the altar and EVERYTHING is in Latin. Luckily, in high school I sang a Latin Mass a few times, and I did attend a Catholic college, so I could get by. Turtle barely knows any Latin, nevermind the Mass. The church is actually a Basilica (and I'm still learning about the differences between a plain old church and a Basilica) and was GORGEOUS inside. This picture here is not the church we attended, but looks pretty similar. High ceilings, marble columns, you name it, this church had it. There was a choir singing when we entered and they were beautiful.

Some of you might know that in the "old days," women had to cover their heads, with hats, handkerchiefs, etc. My mom told me once that in a pinch, you could get by with a tissue. I went prepared--I had a black wrap that was big enough to cover the back of my head. I wasn't having the greatest of hair days, so this kinda worked in my favor! A few women also had their heads covered...but most did not. Maybe they didn't know?

There was just one priest, but many deacons and altar servers assisting him. I hadn't seen so many people up on the altar in a long time. It was cool to see everyone having a part in the Mass, doing something different. They actually dressed the altar for Palm Sunday right then, signifying that Holy Week had begun. I'd never seen this before. We also had a procession around the church's interior, with our palm branches, also something I'd never done.

The Mass itself was a little out there, only because we didn't know the exact parts AND because the Palm Sunday Mass is different than the regular Masses. We had a book to follow along, but it wasn't lining up with what the priest was saying. Regardless, we really enjoyed this experience and how we sort of stumbled upon it. We're going back, after Easter, when it'll be more of a normal Mass. Very cool.

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