Sunday, August 16, 2009

Stranger in a Strange Church.

I've heard it said that doctors can't enjoy sex. You know, because the Know Too Much. I imagine the same is true, in some way or another, for every occupation. Scott can barely stand to awatch movies that have Catholic stuff in them, because they always get things WRONG- like a combination of several liturgical colors on display at once in a church during a wedding, where they ask if anyone here knows of any reason why these two should not be wed? I have a higher threshold for this kind of thing than Scott does (I am the one who yells at him "IT'S A MOOOOOVIEEEEE." But seriously, are there no Catholics in Hollywood who could give these things a once-over?) but still, when I visit another parish, I have my Church Professional eyes on.
This week I'm on Vacation, and so I have the odd opportunity to take Sunday OFF. I decided to be ca-razy and go to Mass on Saturday, in a new church. I chose St. Joseph in Wakefield, one that looks sort of similar to my home parish in Brunswick ME. Bricks, modern decoration, round-square shape. As I walked in, I tried not to look for things to critique. Being a professional Churchy person means that when I walk into a parish, I'm looking at the decor, at the information racks- I'm looking to see if anyone looks back at me, if anyone smiles, if anyone recognizes that I'm an outsider. I'm looking to see where I should sit- somewhere nearish the front but not too far from the back- somewhere that I can see the musicians, see the ambo, figure out where to go for Communion when it comes time.
St. Joseph won me over- the people around me were friendly enough, that is, they smiled back when I smiled at them. There were no "obstructed view" seats, and I found a good place to sit. The altar servers were cute and well trained, the priest's homily was pretty good, they served Communion under both species. The musicians were phenomenal. They were two young ladies and a piano, and they sounded like a combination of Danielle Rose and the Wailin' Jennies. I would surely go back there. OH and at the end of Mass, the priest welcomed the musicians back from a trip they'd been on, asked for applause for our newest altar server, and congratulated a man who'd gotten a hole in one that day. I really liked that personal touch.
I'd go back, if only to pray along with those musicians- it seemed like a great place to pray. I hope my parish holds up to the standards for visitors who join us every once in a while...


Kristen said...

I hear you about checking out new churches. It's kind of hard not to be judgmental, even though that's totally not what it should be about. But when you feel invested in your home parish, you want it to be the best around. :-)

FrChip said...

That's great! It's always good to hear that other parishes are doing things right.