Friday, July 7, 2006

A Great Parish --- St Anthony of Padua, Minneapolis

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In one of my infrequent attempts to organize the piles surrounding my computer terminal, I discovered a copy of “The Northeast Beacon, A Light to the Church and the City,” with Mass and services information for the parishes for Northeast Minneapolis, all ten of them! I have no idea where it came from. Get a load of the agenda for one parish, especially the Saturday morning Mass:

The Rosary is recited before all Masses.

The Divine Mercy Chaplet is prayed every Sunday following the 9:00 a.m. Mass.

Fatima Prayers and Rosary are recited Thursday following the 11:30 a.m. Mass.

A Holy Hour with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Rosary, Benediction, Reconciliation & Marian Mass with Gregorian Chant every Saturday morning beginning at 7:30 a.m. [The Marian Mass at 8:30 adds a Hail Mary to the Prayers of the Faithful, a Marian Preface right before the Sanctus and two fine old Marian hymns; Father wears a beautiful Marian chasuble. All Father's chasubles are beautiful! He's a very good homilist, also].

Where is that, you ask? Why St Anthony of Padua, 804 Second St. NE, Minneapolis, the oldest parish, originally Irish as can be surmised from the names of those who contributed for the gorgeous stained glass windows, in the city. I thought that honor would have gone to the Our Lady of Lourdes parish, nearer to the Mississippi. But they must be right. St Anthony Falls was probably the first place named in Minnesota by the French voyageurs. The Lourdes apparitions didn’t take place til 1858. They’ll be having a sesquicentennial in less than two years.

“Wowzer,” thought I! I knew where I was going to be on last Saturday morning. This had to be checked out.

It was a glorious Saturday morning as I wended my way downtown and parked almost at the front door, wondering why the crowd wasn’t bigger for such a wonderful event.

Well, the church is attached to a large Eldercare facility and most of the 25 or 30 attendees, predominantly women, probably took pains just to walk from their units to the parish. Only two or three were under 60. One of my intents and prayers is that more and more people discover St Anthony’s and save their trips to the east to St Agnes in St Paul or to the west to Holy Family in St Louis Park by attending Mass much nearer to home. And that Saturday Mass and Holy Hour is as good as promised.

The Servers (“Altar Men”) in cassock and surplice prepared the altar for Adoration. Father Glen Jenson, I assume it was him, came out and placed the host in the monstrance, followed by ten minutes of quiet adoration. Then one of the parishioners led us in the Divine Mercy chaplet, followed by another who led us in the Rosary. This was followed by a Prayer of Support for Archbishop Harry Flynn.

Then Father, who had been available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the rear of the church, vested and held Benediction for us. We sang the de rigueur “O Salutaris Hostia”, “Tantum Ergo”, and “Holy God We Praise Thy Name.”

Then there was a substitution and a different “Altar Man” came on board for the Mass. After the opening “Dominus vobiscum” to which we replied “Et cum spiritu tuo”, two years ahead of schedule, Mass was in English but we used traditional Latin chant words and melodies for the Kyrie Eleison, the Alleluia, for the three responses at the Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayers [No. 1, the long one], the Sanctus, the Mysterium Fidei Memorial Acclamation after the Consecration, the Great Amen, the Agnus Dei and the Domine Non Sum Dignus, which was not sung. Being that it was not a Sunday, no Gloria or Credo were said.

Father’s Homily was particularly topical because he reported on the liturgical changes that the U.S. Bishops had just approved in Los Angeles that will change the phrase "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed" to a more accurate “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof. . . .” After the Communion, he did remind those in attendance that there was a Mass schedule at the rear that they should give to friends to attract more to the Saturday Mass. I smiled to self and thought about this post soon to go out to a potential audience of billions.

It’s up to you reading this to let your Twin Cities friends and relatives know that St Anthony’s exists, there are no parking problems, and what awaits them is a profound spiritual experience. There is only one Sunday Mass at 9:00 a.m. and an Anticipation Mass on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

Father Jenson did a fine job celebrating the Mass, to this well practiced, but still untrained eye. I would put him in competition any day with another priest, only a couple of years out of the seminary, who has by my way of thinking, the “finest posture” in the Archdiocese.

Well, I’m not sure if the liturgy was completely orthodox. I have to contact canon lawyer Ed Peters to see if it is a liturgical violation for the parish secretary to come barging into the sanctuary after the Communion when Father was getting ready to clean the sacred vessels, yelling, “Father, the incense from the thurible caused the smoke alarm to go off and the Fire Department is on the way!” Father Jenson got a bit discombobulated at that, but recovered nicely and Mass ended about 9:15 with a perfect “Ite Missa est”, responded to with a loud “Deo Gratias” by the small congregation as the sound of sirens grew louder through the open doors of the church. It was a gorgeous morning.

St Anthony of Padua in Minneapolis is the first nominee for Stella Borealis’ “Great Parishes” list!

Now it’s YOUR turn to submit your favorite parish!

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