Monday, August 11, 2008

Mass at Christ the King in Topeka, KS

My family and I traveled to Topeka, Kansas this weekend and attended the 7:30 am Mass at Christ the King Catholic Church. This was a big church with a school attached to it. It was built in the 1970s.

Just before Mass started Father announced that while the musician had shown up the cantor at not so they would just go right on into Mass. This was the first Mass that I have attended that had no singing. The priest, servers and lector processed in to silence.

The priest greeted everyone and then began the penitential rite by asking that we take a moment to think about our needs and desires. After a brief pause he led us in the Confiteor, which was a good thing to my ears because we rarely use it at my home parish. This was followed by the Kyrie Eleison (Lord have Mercy) and then moved into the opening prayer. The Gloria was skipped.

The readings were read and the psalm was recited between each reading. The priest proclaimed the Gospel. The Alleluia was omitted since no one was present to lead us in song. After the Gospel the priest did a short homily on the Olympics and how its original intention was to put a halt to the bad things going on in the world to come together for two weeks of athletics. He called these two weeks a cease fire. He suggested that we look at our lives and find a place to call our cease fire. Nice homily, but did not tie to any of the readings.

After the homily the priest led us in the Creed and the prayers of the faithful were said. Then we went to the Offertory, but since there was no one to lead the song the offering was collected in silence.

Now onto the Eucharist. I forgot to mention that there were two chalices of wine put on the altar prior to Mass. They sat on the altar though the whole Liturgy of the Word. The priest received the gifts of a small flagon of wine and a small plate of bread. I remember thinking that there was not a lot there for the rather large crowd that had come to Mass. He handed both the wine and the bread to a server and took his pace at the altar. When the server got to the side he took both items and put them on the altar. He then prepared the cup with a drop of water and placed one hand on the bread and the other on the cup of wine and said a silent prayer. Did I mention that there was no music. I expected to hear "Blessed are you God of all creation..."

He then invited the people to prayer saying "Let us pray that our..." rather than "Pray brethren (or brother and sisters)". The people said the next part (May the Lord accept...) while sitting down and then after the prayer everyone stood.

The priest said the preface while leaning against the altar on both arms. He did none of the usual gestures. He did say the words of consecration without altering them and he did genuflect. IN the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer he stopped and asked us to remember a friend of loved one and pray for them. He gave us a moment before containing the prayer. All the the people's responses were recited because there was no one there to lead us in song.

The priest chanted the doxology before the Great Amen. He did this very well, by the way. After he was done there was a moment of silence because since there was no one to lead us in song so the priest simply said "Amen" and everyone followed suit.

The Lord's Prayer was said and then the "Sign of Peace" was shared. The then recited the Lamb of God". While the Lamb of God was being recited the EMHC came forward. While father handed each one of them the Body of Christ two ladies went and got a large container of reserved Hosts from the tabernacle and separated them into ciboria. Then the priest handed them their Body of Christ and the took their place in line with the other EMHC. The priest then held up a Host and instead of saying "This is the Lamb of God.." he made something up. We responded with the customary "Lord I am not worthy..." The priest then consumed his Body of Christ followed quickly by the EMCHs. The priest them took from the cup and then started at one end of the line. the EMHC then passed the cup down the line until they all had the Blood.

Then Father took his plate and went to distribute Holy Communion followed by each of his EMHCs including two who took the two chalices that were sitting on the altar throughout the Mass.

After Communion the EMHCs with he cup consumed the Blood left in their cups and set them on a side table. The two ladies returned the remaining Hosts to the tabernacle, Father purified his chalice and then sat down.

Announcements were read, the closing prayer was said and Father gave us the blessing saying "May almighty God bless us..."

Instead of saying "Go in peace ...." he made something up for the dismissal. Then we all left as there was no one to lead us in song for the final hymn.

Total Mass time: 35 minutes.

Folks, I could say a lot of things about this Mass, but all I will say is that I do not understand why some priests feel that they need to chnage the words used for Mass. The Church has selected the words it wants us to use for a reason and that should be respected. I also will find another parish to attend the next time I happen to be in Topeka, KS.

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