February 12, 2017. The 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Septuagesima on the Old Calendar.
Celebrant: Father Ernest Bedard
This morning, I intended to go the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows on Stanton Street, but the MTA foiled me. They changed the route of the D Train and dumped me at the 42nd St Port Authority, with no way to get to Stanton Street on time. So I checked masstimes.org (a great resource) to see where there were nearby masses, and wound up at Holy Cross Church between 8th and 9th.
Nice place. Good atmosphere, good cantor, nice traditional hymns. I do love it nose-bleed high, which it wasn’t, but it wasn’t a guitar mass, either. “Alleluia, Sing to Jesus” well-played on an organ, and well-sung by the cantor and choir.
There were three readers. All read well, even the priest. He chose the Long Form of the reading – Matthew 5:17-37. It’s long, and what Jesus is saying is very challenging. He took his time, and made sure everything was emphasized. Excellent.
I wish I could say the same about the homily. What really bothered me is that Father Bedard is a good and challenging speaker, and when he was discussing the spiritual point of the sermon (the power of our choices), it was very good.
But he started by talking about the Super Bowl, and then segued into telling us about Olga Kotelko, a great track and field athlete who started in her 70s. MOST of the sermon was about her. It was six minutes into a twelve-minute sermon before he got to the spiritual point, and even after he did, he kept going back to Olga. Now, don’t misunderstand me: she was an amazing woman. But the point being made – that she was able to become a great athlete through will and choice, and we can become spiritual giants by will and choice – was, I think, pretty tenuous.
Despite that, I liked the Father. When he was on point, he was challenging and provocative. And clearly had a special concern for the most vulnerable among us. I would have liked more meat and less filler, though.
It was about half full, emptier than most masses in Manhattan. But the weather was genuinely foul, so that may explain it.
For the Offertory, the Crucifer formally processed to the back to lead those carrying the Gifts to the altar. I thought that was neat.
The candles had a price tag on them. $1.00 each. I can’t stand it when there is a price on what should be an offering. If people want to light a candle for a quarter, they shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about it. Especially since those little votives are probably less than a nickel each when bought in a box of 500.
I went around to the side and down to the basement to use a bathroom and was told the bathrooms were locked. Maybe it was a misunderstanding. Maybe there was some other bathroom. If it wasn’t, that’s terrible. It’s insane to lock a church’s bathrooms during Mass. You have a crowd – some of whom traveled – coming and sitting for an hour. If you have to go, you can’t focus on the Mass. And peeing is not an optional activity, ok?
After Mass, I went to “99¢ Fresh Pizza” on 9th and 42nd. Dollar Pizza is a hit-or-miss proposition, but this was fine. The slices were a bit small, but that’s to be expected. No place to sit, just stand at a counter. $2.75 for two slices and a can of soda. Decent pizza for only a buck, interesting locals who had interesting conversation. I had a fairly intense and uplifting conversation with a drunk man (he told me he had been drinking all night) who wanted to talk. So if anyone is reading this blog, please pray for Jeffrey.