Monday, June 19, 2006

Corpus Christi Mass and Procession at St Agnes in St Paul Yesterday

I attended the 10:00 Corpus Christi Mass and Procession at St Agnes with Cathy_of_Alex a regular blog commenter who probably will have her own soon.

It also happened to be the final Mass as Pastor for Father George Welzbacher who will be moving to St John's, a smaller parish on St Paul's East Side. Father John Ubel, the new pastor, was in attendance, vested splendidly as a concelebrant as the two parish deacons assisted Father Welzbacher. Father Ubel, whom all are excited about, is much younger and will be a change for the parish.

This is a real changing of the guard at St Agnes because Monsignor Richard Schuler, who began the symphonic Masses in the parish, has quite recently been moved to a nearby rehabilitation center. He is alert and can receive visitors, but he is beginning to need a lot of care.

The Twin Cities Catholic Chorale and Orchestra were present for their final appearance before their Summer break. They performed Shubert's Mass in G beautifully. They may have shortened it to make sure the Mass and procession would finish in time for the last Mass at 12:30 (a half hour later than usual).

Father Welzbacher delivered a valedictory "sermon" recapping his five years here, the rocky and the good, and thanking the parishioners for their help to him and for their committment to their children, to their faith, and to the parish and school.

The Procession with perhaps 400 or more parishioners and visitors was done in style. Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus were in attendance and led followed by a dozen very young flower girls, several young boys, a company or two of altar boys, many with candles, then Father Ubel and some other older men, then Father Welzbacher with the Monstrance flanked by the Deacons under the canopy carried by four suited "gentlemen." They were flanked by four what I assume to be "papal squires" or the like with more ornamental candle lamps.

I have seen Papal Knights. These were late teen/young adults wearing a long black vest-like garment with a white crest of some sort over the left breast.

The procession left the church, circled slowly around the church campus, spilling into the street and Benediction was held in front of the convent and again in front of the school. They all returned to the church, a final Benediction was held, the Blessed Sacrament was reposed in the tabernacle and the procession ceremony ended.

There then was a reception in the Church Hall for Fathers Welzbacher and Ubel.

Wonderful! And after going to Eucharistic Adoration and Vespers at the Basilica later in the afternoon, I participated in four Benedictions that day. I hope there's no limit!

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