Monday, June 19, 2006

I Ran Over a Bunny with my SUV....Father's Day 2006

Last edit 2:00 PM 6/21

Hi All!

Reflections on Father's Day 2006

I hadn't been to Saint Agnes for awhile, so I took part in the beautiful 8:30 Mass and was blessed to witness the old pastor's rather bitter farewell sermon and by the introduction of a our new pastor, Father Ubel (gotta be of Bavarian or Austrian or a German Swiss (I'm all three and more) persuasion to hold this position at our very own "Kirche an der Weise" (Church in the Meadow) a lonely, stunning rococo gem literally out in the middle of nowhere.

Our gem is in the relative wilderness (at least for white people generally and Liberals especially) of Frogtown near Uni-Dale.

Father Ubel is a handsome young fellow from St Agnes who is the youngest pastor I have ever known to exist. I'm quite excited about it. Don't wait for my funeral to visit this place. The 10:00 just ended the Orchestral/Chorale series of classical Masses (and we're talking pro musicians from the MN Orchestra, the Chamber and the Opera). Now to a summer program of etheral Benedictine chant.

Am confident that young Ubel will be part of a new wave of priests who will help advance the Church to a clearer, better interpretation of what Vatican II nobily and needfully meant to do in the early 60's. Lots of PC horse hockey is going away already with the final draft of the new Liturgy that brings back a few"Thees, Thous and "and with your Spirit." With you also "is SOOOO lame and so off the track as symbolize all the heresys that have slipped into the teachings. Time for a clean start. JPII got the ball rolling and passed to Rizzo Ratzinger for the goal.

Convenient Catholics, nil. Rome 1. Still early in the first half but that brilliantly plotted score should inspire the Rome club to dominate the next 55 minutes.

So nothing has and nothing will change at St Agnes except for the better. The Parish flourished for 40 years defying the semi-secularists. One kneels at the communion rail and sticks out the old tongue far enough to allow the host to make a safe landing. I short-tongued a and dropped a host in grade school at St Mark's and had to go Msgr Gilligan for a special confession. He was alright though. He would let us take home some of those delightful incense cakes that resembled a Giant Sweet Tart that was popular at the time. 25 cents, lasts for days -- the sweet tart that is, heck the incense as well.

When old Gilligan dropped a big bag of those waxy little white wonders on the floor of the sacristy we had a lifetime supply of snacks (it was ok - they weren't consecrated or even blessed yet. Fresh from the ovens of the Altar and Rosary Society gals -- Grandma Catherine was one of those, but I don't recall her ever letting me sample the fresh wafers. Those little wonders just melted in your mouth, but like to stick to the roof of one's mouth so you'd have to kneel a bit longer after communion until you got the whole Body of Christ into your soul.

They still have 'em at Aggie's just had a roof sticker yesterday. Like glue. Almost had to "stick" around for the Supersized Tridentine High Mass mit All the trimmings. Give me a minute to amuse myself here.

Welcome to St. Generic, the Bland. 'Wassup?"

What kinda Masses you got?

We only provide the Box of Chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get but there's a bit of the old Mass buried in all the improvisation. I must warn you these run a bit long, especially if we are doing 50 baptisms after the sermon.

I hear you can get your child a personal Baptism over in Frogtown. Is there one in the Box of Chocolates today?

Right before communion! Looks like about a couple of dozen but some just show up and some don't. we don't want them unless the parents are ready and frankly, we're talking about taking it off the menu. Kinda silly and irrelevant, but the generous donors, er, old people, still dig it.

No thanks. Kids, let's blow off Highland and get down and dirty in Frogtown.

YEA, daddy, YEA!

Honey you sure do spoil those kids.

Nah, they're our little Saints in Training. A spiritually nutritious Mass is much better than that overpriced hippie crap.

God Bless You and Welcome to Saint Agnes. Hi kids!

Hi sister Bonaventure!

What will we be having today?

Has the menu changed?

...Peals of uncontrolled laughter....

Oh you dickens. You think McDonalds is gonna change? Give the market what it demands. Marketing I. Now I do see quite a line forming, so can I take your order?

Could you go thru it? I just love to hear you say it.

Bless you Son. Surely there is a special place awaiting you in Heaven, but not the tight hand seat of the Father. Jesus snatched that primo spot a long time ago. A bit of patronism, but they're Trinity, so I guess we can't complain.

Alrighty then, wir habben der Leicht (plain value meal, 25 minutes, no nonsense, no sermon and onl a couple of servers, er, altar boys) Starts at 6:30 start for the ending and beginning shfit workers.

Am nexten Nexte, Ich recommendiere der Klassik. Hymns, a dozen altar boys, good old hymns anda nice sermon, all served up in 45 minutes or less (excepting Palm Sunday which pushes an hour.

Endlich, Der Grossen. Supersized with Shubert' Mass in G , an army of altar boys a dozen deacons, three priest celebrants and a gaggle of visiting high mucky muck clergy who take advantage of their power and position to snarf up the best seats in the House. Smothered with incense and doused with gallons of Holy Water. Since it's Corpus Christi Sunday you get a n armed brigade of peacock plumed Knights of Columbus to lead the Procession on Summit. We put off the Spate Erwahcner special from 12:30 to one, because gie Grosse will run a bit longish. It will sure hold you until next week, though.

OOH how I DO carry on. I had better take your order. Thank God we got all the aisles open! Typical Sunday rush.

Well, let's divvy up a Grosse, eh kids?

YEA daddy, YEA!

Great choice! Bless you. Settle up the Ushers at collection time. Now just pull into the waiting spots and say your prayers and Novenas, work the beads and take your meditations.

Your order will be up in an hour or less, depending on what our Great Oratore, outgoing Pastor Welzbacher does with his farewell sermon. The pastor's page takes up a full page of agate type this week so we might run a bit late. You won't run out of prayers so practice the Virtue of Patience if needed.

Thank you Sister Bonaventure! God Bless You!!!

Oh you darling little saints, just call me Bon,

NEXT! Thanks for waiting. Will we have the regular this glorious Corpus Christi that the Lord made for our Salvation? Alrighty then, der Klassik it is, was and ever more shall be, world without end, ahMEN!

Enough plugging my Rock. Well, just a few extra notes regarding what you Do and Don't get at St. Agnes. Coming to a Parish near you.

Do get:

Comfort of tradition, convention. Just one easy to follow missal if needed as a crutch. You really should know it by heart if you aren't one of those convenient Catholic Easter Bunnies and Christmas Presents (old Father Schuler humor. Just went into assisted living holding a First Class ticket on the super light-speed Heavenly Express).

Altar boys in proper attire. Clean, starched and pressed pressed and starched cassocks.

No homosexual clergy --are you kidding me? St Agnes catches them young and brings the stray lambs home to the flock. Personally I am offended at having some of The Church's hard earned treasure looted by that devil Bruce Anderson (obviously Protestant or agnostic.

No, St Agnes plays it straight all down the line.

Concession to the world of vice and selfish hedonists (old people with bad knees, actually) St Agnes sports very nice padded marble communion kneelers. Took 125 years to come around to that.

Appropriate, respectable clothing. Not so many lace doilies or whatever ya call any more. Kind o slacked off on that one, but if there are men's anymore they are clipped to the back of the forward pew with those super vise grip hat brim squishers
Nice cream coated and guilt (er, "gilt" - same difference) bedecked rococo Austrian "Peasant Style" vault -- a cheap day trip to Der Vaterland. Locked more often, unfortunately, but even as the power of St Agnes scared away generations of vandals, the neighborhood harbors alot of sinners.

Darned near Multiculturalism enough to make a grown Liberal weep. Blacks, Africans, Hmong, Vietnamese and assorted other Asians (now THAT's as multicultural as the Yahoo American Redneck Tribe and snooty Briitsh Nobility, sez vous plait?), ex-commies recently emerged from behind that old Iron Curtain that Ronaldus Maximus and Johannes Paulus II tore off. No Native Americans, alas, and even gays can sneak in as long as they stay in the closet and keep their hands off of themselves and their partners for an hour.

Other Holy and Immaculate accoutrement such as classic brass tools of the trade from 19th chalices and dropped host catchers, Nice chapels, an awesome baptismal font and black forest wood carvings from Giant Statues to ornate Confessional doors reminiscent of those amazing old cuckoo clocks. A computerized (one must make use of God's blessed inspiration) three bell tower with back lit 4 sided-clock (pretty accurate usually) which peals out loudly at the proper times, although our neighbors once took issue with this, it was pointed out that the Roosters are crowing well before the bells chime in (sometimes I swear I hear pigs as well). And, get this, bowing to the power of the gummint an inconvenient but tastefully hidden elevator. Admittedly, the front stairs are a challenge -- one half-expects to see Stallone working out on them.

Lovely carved German stations of the cross and intricate stained glass. Huge, ornate brass salvaged by the simple Austrian and German laborers who tore down the second Capitol -- the next to latest one. I think it was on 1oth. Nice building but a fire trap, apparently, which brought the normal hot air level to an unbearable temperature as the building started getting bloated with politicians and government. Some things don't change. Minnesota government soon outgrew the domed Gilbert masterpiece and has grown like creeping charlie (or cancer, if you prefer as I do). Saintly--soon to be sainted Archbishop John Ireland tried to go one up with a pretty fancy Masqueray of his own, built on higher ground so as to keep things in their traditional symbolic order, very real, actually. and the Archdiocese grew as well, reulting in the rape and pillage of the Wilder House which towered over it's depressing hulk next door, which was somehow spared, although pretty much messed up inside. Hey, only the Pope is perfect!

What you Don't Get:

Grab bag "mass." I become anxious when we need to go to other parishes for communions, baptisms, funerals, weddings, etc. Out of control variety of presenting the "show". Even priest to priest in the same parish develop their own "style." Some even suffice the service with improv and performance art (St. Mike's in Minneapolis is a good example) To be sure there is the basic Order of the Mass is always(?) present more less visibly.

Odd architecture, decorations, and vestments. Newer buildings tend to be way too cool to be a Catholic church! Some will need to be remodeled soon as the progression of new reforms moves forward. I mean, no kneelers, comfy chairs (just remembered the Monty Python bit where the Spanish Inquisition used a comfy chair and soft pillows to torture a confession out of a sweet little old lady. Wonderful.) and altars that look like IKEA specials. One also will see lots of bizarre paintings and wall hangingss, lots of anti-war, pro-diversity propaganda.

Dumbed-down prayers and readings and the notorious 4th version of th Canon (St Agnes only prays the original, that being #1. Four is Canon Lite. Super truncated, about a minute or two long versus about 8 minutes for the Big One. A hugely popular version as it gets the central purpose, the Miraculous Transformation of Bread and Wine out of the way quickly so the Priests and their assistants more time to be "spontaneous."

Neumann Center influence. When the "Guitar" Masses started, this young Peter Paul and Mary (saints names!) fan went regularly to Neumann Center at the U of M, which to my knowledge was one of their first congregations in the country to present the folksy new hymns.

First song I learned on the 6-string was "Sons of God", a groundbreaking hit." Only about 5 easy chords. I thought I was Peter of PPM.

"Sons of God, hear His Holy Word.
Gather 'round the tabe of the Lord.
Eat his body, drink his blood
And we'll sing a song of love
Allelu, Allellu, alellu oo oo oo yah."

Outrageous disrespect. Shorts, sandals, halter tops, raunchily lettered t-shirts, tennis shoes, chatting, getting up and down to go ostensively to the restroom but really to have a smoke. Clapping for a good sermon or at the end of Holy Matrimony is tres' gauche. Worst sin? That would be getting communion and boldting without returning to one's bench or chair or whatever a pew is these days. All to beat the parking lot rush and get to Denny's ahead of the crowd.


To close, I shall read from the Book of Doggerel, according to Wog.

"Im squishing a bunny on Garden tonight. Heading back to the bar with the kids tucked in tight.

It is dark at the time, but fluorescent it seems. Lit up like a pop star in my lowly low beams.

It's a bunny all right, so easy to see, I can tell that this rodent is not scared of me.

I take aim with my right front truck wheel. I hear what makes out like a harelly squeal.

Poor little Peter has had his last meal.

I aim pretty good and I'm happy to say, that plant kill'n sucker is hasen puree'

I'll scoop up the mess in a plastiic dust pan, and bury it back by the plastic trashcan.

Kinda feel bad, I'll be glad when it's over. Soon my fine furry fiend will be pushing up clover.

This just the beginning, but I'm getting bored.

Now go ye in peace to love and serve the Lord."

(and the congregation responds)

Thanks be to God!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup! Shock & awe... amused and offended. All in one package.
As a person who is just a speck older, and a graduate of St. Agnes, its fair to say I have a unique perspective on the piece. Different than the casual reader.

My first thought is: "Hmmm... this fellow may have had an experience with this institution which parallels mine, but with a more recent twist. You see, Monsignor Bandas was still there then... and in spite of changes already in progress (over his dead body) the Mass was still going to be presented in Latin.

I've been away a long time, but I gotta tell ya, the notion that the Mass is now marketed to an audience, rather than presented to the faithful; has a ring of truth in it that even makes me wince.

Carry on... (I know you will)

6:48 PM  

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