Tuesday, May 31, 2005

MH - Corpus Christi at the Big A

I'd meant to post about this yesterday, but we had an unexpected (and very pleasant) dinner invitation from Hadleyblogger Kristine and her husband Jim, and you know what they say about best laid plans and all. But we couldn't pass up the opportunity to actually sit outside in the sun and grill - and let me tell you, with rain 21 of the 31 days in May here in Minneapolis, it's been a long time coming!

Anyway, it was a grand Corpus Christi on Sunday at St. Agnes. As I've mentioned, two of our finest were ordained at the Cathedrial on Saturday (check out the fine coverage over at Veritatis Splendor), and they both said their first High Masses on Sunday. We attended the 10:00 orchestral Mass (Mass in G by Schubert), celebrated by Fr. Randal Kasel. We got there about 20 minutes to 10, and the church was already filling up; by 10 it was packed. We were scheduled to have the Corpus Christi procession outside following the Mass, but because of the uncertain weather the decision was made to hold it indoors (Veritatis was lucky; by afternoon it was clear that the sunshine was going to win out). It was quite a sight; six priests and three deacons, splendid in their glittering gold vestments, all the altar boys, and an honor guard from the Knights of Columbus.

I wonder how Fr. Kasel felt; did it sink in when he turned to the congregation and said "Dominus Vobiscum" and we responded "Et cum spiritu tuo"? As he led us in prayer, did it hit him, as it hit me, that he was our spiritual leader, that he now was Father Kasel? I don't know Father; Judie and I sat behind his parents at Mass once, when he was serving as deacon, and they were very proud of him. Rightly so, and we're very proud of him as well. And we're also very proud of Fr. John Gallas, our other new priest, who celebrated the 1:00 p.m. Mass. We're proud of the nine or ten other young men from St. Agnes who are now at various stages of their formation at the Seminary (and of all the other outstanding young men there, who will make fine priests). And we're very grateful to God for being blessed with such fine young men and women, for our families, and for the priests who have given so much in service of the parish.

Although the procession couldn't be held outdoors, it was still rousing. The Blessed Sacrament was processed through the church, under a canopy, accompanied by the bells and smells and candles. The boys and girls who celebrated First Communion a couple of weeks ago led the way in their suits and dresses (if we'd been outside, the girls would have been scattering rose petals before the Sacrament). We sang the hymns with gusto ("Holy, Holy, Holy," "Crown Him With Many Crowns," "Now Thank We All Our God," "Holy God We Praise Thy Name," and "Tantum Ergo"), to the booming accompaniment of the mighty pipe organ - being that we usually attend the 10:00 Latin Mass, we don't get to sing hymns very often. The morning concluded with Benediction, and then a reception downstairs for Fr. Kasel. It was quite a day.

Next week we start the summer music schedule, with the Schola doing Gregorian chant until September, when the orchestra and chorale return. After the richness of the orchestral Masses, the simple purity of the chant is kinda nice, and wonderfully complimentary.

But it was another big day at the Big A, and I'm once again reminded of how grateful I am that we're so fortunate to have such a parish in our area. If you're ever in the neighborhood, let us know; we'd be happy to have you over as our guests!

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