Wednesday, December 8, 2010

8 December—Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Borrowed from

I ended up going to Mass at St. Thomas More in Chapel Hill for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

I was there about 15 minutes early, and the first thing I smelled when I went into the church: incense. Yes, you read right: incense. They used incense at this Mass. It's funny, but just smelling that made me feel like I was in a sacred space. I was quite happy to smell it. Sad to say, it's something you don't experience so much in a Catholic Church anymore.

My friend, Marianne K., was the organist for this bilingual Mass. I must say: in general, I am not a fan of bilingual Masses, but I think they did it right at St. Thomas More. The only thing I wasn't keen on was the priest delivering his homily twice, once in English and then again in Spanish. But otherwise, it was pretty seamless between English and Spanish, and one was able to follow the Mass pretty well no matter what language happened to be used at the time.

I was also pleased to see in-house order of worships on a table, which you picked up as you walked in. It had the entire order of the Mass, including a listing of the music that was going to be sung during the Mass. Bravo, I say! If you want the people to more actively participate in the Mass, this is truly the way to go. Give the people a guide to follow.

Another thing I noticed, which I found refreshing: people did not talk before the Mass. They sat quietly, or they prayed before Mass. When Marianne played her preludes, people sat and listened. Oh, and people were actually genuflecting towards the tabernacle that stood behind the altar. It was refreshing to have the feeling that you are truly in a sacred space.

Here is the music for this Mass. The books in the pews were Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover) and Flor y Canto.

7:00 pm Bilingual Mass: Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Prelude: Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (Op. 122, no. 8; J. Brahms); Petit Carillon on Ave Maria (C. Callahan)
Opening Hymn: GC 790, Immaculate Mary (LOURDES HYMN)
Gloria: FyC 109, Misa Popular
Psalm: Psalm 98 (Verse: "Canten al Señor un cántico nuevo, porque ha hecho maravillas"; setting unknown)
Gospel Acclamation: GC 257, Alleluia 7 (Berthier)
Offertory: GC 780, O Sanctissima (O DU FRÖLICHE)
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen: GC 228, 229, 231; Community Mass (Proulx)
Agnus Dei: was supposed to have been FyC 95 (setting unknown) but wasn't sung; recited instead
Communion Hymn: 783, Sing of Mary, Pure and Lowly (PLEADING SAVIOR)
Communion Solo: Ave Maria (F. Schubert)
Closing Hymn: FyC 472, Del Cielo Ha Bajado (AVE DE LOURDES)
Postlude: O du fröhliche (Erwin Horn)

There was some strange song at the Dismissal of the Catechumens, and everyone was asked to raise their right arms in blessing towards the departing catechumens as this song was sung. I didn't pay attention to what it was. It felt like a disruption in the liturgy to me with a most forgettable song.

I had a wonderful time chatting with Marianne after the Mass. She was pleasantly surprised to see me. I told her that I happened to be in the area and was happy to notice that St. Thomas More offered the 7.00 pm Mass, so I dropped in. She played beautifully, and her cantor, Eusebio Gonzales, did a wonderful job. His solo in the Schubert Ave Maria was very well done.

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