Daily Archives: June 5, 2010

Corpus Christi Procession at Emmanuel

Yup, it really was after the 5:15 PM Vigil Mass. Thanks to the heat, mugginess, and a bunch of thunderstorms being scheduled to roll through (and possibly the time change from Sunday afternoon to Saturday evening), attendance was lighter than in previous years. I figured that the beautiful street designs would be ruined, but I went anyway.

We did have a pretty good cloudburst in Dayton at 3:45 or so. But it turns out that using colored wood shavings instead of petals or sand gives your street decoration designs powers of anti-wind, anti-rain resistance. By the time Mass was over (it was fairly elaborate, and must have lasted at least an hour and a half), the sawdust wasn’t too soppy for the canopy bearers and Father to process through. It also cooled things down for a few hours, making the procession reasonably pleasant instead of unbearable.

The Corpus Christi Mass was very nice. Apparently the pastor of the parish was ill, so they grabbed the young priest from my parish, up the hill! He did a nice job and gave a good homily (despite some very determined babies). It really was elaborate. Besides deploying every server, some adult servers, priests and deacons, and the Knights of Malta, there was much incensing. (With a bizarre silent swinging thurible. I thought you wanted your thurible to clink gently, but I guess not.) There was a concert instrument piece before Mass, a good chunk of chant in Latin, some really gorgeous motets for the Offertory and Communion, and the sinking sun periodically glowed golden through the stained glass windows. I was very glad I’d gone.

The procession was also very nice. There’s something very profound about following Jesus as we walk down the street singing, and about kneeling in the street to acknowledge the Real Presence passing by. The First Communion kids were part of the procession (including the requisite petal-scattering flower girls!), and also shouted “SANCTUS SANCTUS SANCTUS!” at three designated spots. (I think that’s new.) Then we went back into church for the end of the Benediction, said the Divine Praises and sang the Te Deum in its usual translation… and went back outside, only to discover that the rain had returned. It kept off just long enough. :)

I’m often very distressed by feelings of cognitive dissonance, which one feels all the time in modern life. But there was something very right about that Mass and procession, something that lightened my heart and strengthened me.

Make that Someone.

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Belle Geste

A few of the Sisters of the Precious Blood took one of their own out to dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s to celebrate her “retirement”. But a nice lady in the next booth had no intention of letting them pay….

This is from a few months back, but I missed it then.

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Undercover Jesuit, Harper, Tennis Player??

Father Philip Evans, S.J., was apparently a man with lots of chutzpah and no nerves at all. :) He was one of the ten Jesuits based at the secret College of St. Francis Xavier in Monmouthshire (aka Cwm College). He was one of the younger Jesuits working in the area, and was only there for four years before he was caught, imprisoned, put on trial, and sentenced to death for being a priest. (It was all part of the Oates Plot hysteria — though none of them apparently knew anything about any plots, being somewhat busy with pastoral work.)

For some reason, his execution was delayed. (They had a hard time finding executioners to kill priests, in a lot of these Welsh towns.) The jailer allowed him to have a lot of leeway for recreation. (Prospective martyrs didn’t usually try to escape once caught, lest people think them afraid to die for Christ.)

So when the news came that the priest was to be executed the next day, the jailer had to go to the local tennis court to fetch him. Father heard him out, but when the jailer said he’d take him back immediately, he asked, “What haste is there? Let me first play out my game.” And the jailer let him. He also let him write a letter to his sister, who was a nun in Paris.

But apparently somebody else must not have had any sense of humor whatsoever, because they proceeded to bind the poor man’s legs with chains that were so tight it took them an hour to take them off the next day.

Nevertheless, when they came to get him from his cell for execution, they found him playing his harp, chains and all. After they got the chains off, he was hung, drawn and quartered at Gallows Field in Cardiff, on July 22, 1679.

(Something we won’t see on the Welsh Dr. Who….)

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