Monday, July 25, 2016

Spanish Mass

Yesterday our family decided to visit another parish and see how they do Mass.  My wife came up with the idea earlier this summer as a way to see the other churches in the local area and note the differences in architecture and style.  We found a local parish in Arnold that was having a 12:30 pm Mass.  Our family typically goes to the 12 noon Mass at our church because we like the music and it lets the kids sleep in on Sunday which they like to do.  Well to our surprise, the 12:30 Mass at the church in Arnold was a Spanish speaking Mass.  Rather than leave, we decided to stay and experience the Spanish Mass.  While we didn't understand the language and what was being said, we did understand what was happening because we know the order of the Mass.  The people were very friendly, many came up to us to shake hands during the Sign of Peace, even the priest!  The music was great, they had such a good choir with many percussion instruments accompanying the organ.  The priest even gave a 5 minute version of his homily in English after he finished his Spanish version.  It was a very neat experience.  What we all found out was that while we didn't understand every word, we knew what was happening because all Catholic Masses are basically the same.  The order of the Mass is the same.  That's the beauty of Catholicism.  At every Catholic church in the world, people are celebrating the Mass in the same way, just in different languages and with difference styles of music.  And we all receive the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  How cool is that?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Today's blog is a guest post by John Fischer:

Everybody loves a parade.
Part of our Fourth of July celebration yesterday included attending a local, small town Fourth of July parade. The star of this show, especially for us, was a young girl playing in a beginning youth orchestra including little kids with violins almost as big as they were. Our young friend played a cello, and that was a bit of a challenge for a parade, calling on Dad to pull a wagon that she could set her instrument in. About every couple hundred feet of "marching" (they were actually just walking along), they would stop, put their cellos and bases on the ground and play one verse of "My Country 'Tis of Thee."

What is it about these small town parades that is so compelling? There were hundreds of people lining the parade route on Main Street, and huge traffic jams in and out of town for a funky little parade that didn't have one band (not with school out), had only three horses, and mostly people walking along representing various groups such as Vegans, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, a color guard, a group of veterans, a couple motorcycle clubs, two fire trucks, a half a dozen Ford Mustangs revving their engines and a few town officials. What's the big deal?

Well it's simple. The big deal is us. For a moment in time, whoever wants to be a star, is one. We, and our children, and our friends are on parade. After watching most of the parade go by, we walked alongside the youth orchestra and cheered wildly every time they completed their song. The little five-year-olds were overcome with pride.

In 2 Corinthians 2:14, Paul teaches us that you and I are on parade like this all the time. "But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere." "Christ's triumphal procession" is the parade you and I are in today. You are on display, and this parade is going on all the time, even when you are unaware of it. That's because the whole point of this parade is to spread around the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ everywhere we go.

This fragrance does not take effort, nor is it something we put on. We have it already, and it's growing in us. It is the knowledge of Christ. We're not memorizing anything; we're not reciting anything; we're simply being who we are, and the presence of Christ in us puts off an aroma in this parade we call life. God does the rest.

So whether you know it or not, or whether you like it or not, you're in a parade today. Might as well go along with it. Enjoy it, in fact, because everybody loves a parade.