Sunday, December 01, 2013

Mass In Scottsdale Arizona - from one extreme to another

While in Scottsdale AZ, I attended two churches. One is St. Bernadette's and the other is in the Fransican Renewal and Retreat Centre and is called Our Lady of the Angels. The contrast couldn't be more stark.

Last week on the feast of Christ the King, the priest spoke about Fr. Miguel Pro who was killed during the Mexican Cristero War in 1927. He talked about how Fr. Pro reached out his arms in imitation of Christ because he was killed by a firing squad. The homily continued with the priest condemning both abortion and euthanasia. He said they are both very evil. He also said we must obey just laws and that gay marriage is not real marriage and we should oppose it.

I was surprised to hear such clear and direct teaching on these subjects.

But this morning I decided to check out the Fransican Renewal Centre and their Mass. I had checked out this place earlier with my girlfriend during the week. They have a very large area where they hold spiritual retreats. They have areas for people to stay overnight and they even prepare meals. It seems like a very large operation.

I arrived a minute or two late for Mass and the entire place was completely jam-packed. Not only was every seat occupied, there were people outside the church either in the lobby or in the yard. But they would not be witneesses to a traditional Mass, that was clear from the outset. Right when Mass began, two women appeared in front of the altar and proceeded to do a liturgical dance - something forbidden during Mass. They danced and moved their arms flowingly to the music. At that point I really didn`t know what I had gotten myself into.

After the performance, the congregation enthusiastically applauded. There was no hesitation, it was just expected. The music in general was very modern and included an electronic keyboard and complete drum set. Also, there would be a sort of background music during much of the time the priest spoke.

Of course during the Our Father, everyone held hands, well except me. Also I noticed the people took on the actions of the priest quite frequently. The homily was not too controversial. The priest said we must be ready for the coming of Christ. He briefly mentioned something about people from other "traditions" should also be ready, but I'm not sure what he meant by that.

After the homily, the congregation once again applauded. Throughout the whole Mass, the congregation probably applauded about 5 times.

The communion was a thick consecrated piece of bread, not the usual communion.

During the prayers of the faithful, the priest wished Jews a happy Hannukah.

Finally during the announcements, they announced a get together for gay and lesbian group for spiritual discussion. Can't really comment on that much since I don't know much about it.

So as you can see, within Scottsdale there are several very different types of Masses.


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