Monday, July 16, 2007

Mass at St. Rose Catholic Church in Proctor, MN

This Sunday, my family and I attended Mass at St. Rose Catholic Church in Proctor, Minnesota. We attended this church on the recommendation of the clerk at our hotel, so we were a little confused when we got there and found ourselves standing outside the St. Rose Catholic School. There were, however, people gathered outside so we followed the crowd into the school.

After being greeted warmly by a greeter stationed at the door we walked into the school cafeteria; part of which had been converted into a church. A wood, carpeted platform had been placed on the floor next to the wall to form a raised sanctuary. On the sanctuary was a free standing altar. The altar was covered with a white altar cloth and on it were to candles; one on each side. To the right of the altar was the ambo. To the left of the altar was a small baptismal font and the paschal candle. On the wall directly behind the altar was a large crucifix. On the floor on either side of the crucifix were pillar pedestals each holding a candelabra with 8 candles. Also on the wall behind the altar were the stations of the cross. To the left of the crucifix against the wall was an ornate wooden enclosure that held the tabernacle and sanctuary lamp. Between the tabernacle and the crucifix was the priest's chair and small table, and a second chair; which was not used at this Mass. To the right of the crucifix was another matching wooden enclosure that held the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue. On the right side of the statue was a gilded processional cross.

The church was arranged in the usual way with traditional church pews to the left and right of the sanctuary forming wings. On the left wing was another wooden enclosure containing a statue of our Blessed Mother holding the baby Jesus. On the right wing there was an enclosure containing a statue of St. Joseph (I think). In the front of the sanctuary were several portable pew benches (by this I mean they were on wheels) complete with padded kneelers. I would be willing to bet that these pews will also convert into nice cafeteria tables when school is in session. Very clever multipurpose equipment.

Before Mass started, Father came out and placed his homily in the ambo and then recruited two children (1 boy and 1 girl) to be his servers. The server who lit all of the candles, did so in a very reverent manner; taking the time to bow toward the altar and tabernacle.

Mass began with the opening song; Option C was used for the Penitential Rite; the Gloria was recited and the opening prayer was said.

They had one Lector who read the first reading. He also recited the psalm, however, the people sang the response. After the second reading the priest proclaimed the Gospel and then began his homily. Father focused his message on the need to Christians to do more; to "go the extra mile" just as the Good Samaritan had done.

After the homily the Creed was recited and the Prayer of the Faithful was said. During the presentation of the gifts the server with he cross took it back down and lead the gifts forward. I have seen this done with candles before, but never with the processional cross.

Father used Eucharistic Prayer #2 for Mass and did not depart from the written text. The people sang their Mass parts without the need of a cantor and all was done reverently. The servers rang hand bells at the censecration. The Lord's prayer was recited and the Sign of Peace was given; again all done reverently.

Father's only ad lib that I heard during the Liturgy of the Eucharist came at the "This is the Lamb of God..." section. He added some additional words to that. I have seen other priests do this too. I'm not sure if it is right or wrong.

During communion, I would say that more than half of those receiving did so on the tongue --even the children received on the tongue. The people were reverent. After Mass was over not one person left before the end of the final song which is a rather rare occurrence these days.

It was a pleasure to attend Mass at St. Rose Catholic Church I found it to be a wonderful Christ Centered experience. I was left with one burning question, however. "Why did they move their church into the cafeteria of their school?"

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