Sunday, May 27, 2007

Rainbow Sash Demonstration at Cathedral a Washout!

Inveterate church shopper that I am, I slept in late this morning and went to the 12:00 at the St Paul Cathedral to observe and pray, pray and observe, as the local Rainbow Sash organization had put out a call to all of its minions to make a show of force on Pentecost in honor of our new Coadjutor Archbishop John Nienstedt of New Ulm. They have heard rumors that he might be conservative and they want to remind him and Archbishop Flynn "that our glbt sexuality is a gift from God, which we proudly celebrate on Pentecost."

Well, the 12:00 Mass is the last of the morning Masses and as could be expected on a nice Spring day, there were only a few hundred in attendance, total, in the large structure. As I had forgotten to bring my customary disguise, I decided not to walk up and down the aisles doing a "sash count" but waited until after Communion, when they were all committed to stand in defiance of GIRM instructions to do my count.

I did note one Pharisee and his daughter, both be-sashed up in the front pew. He genuflected on both knees to display his reverence. His teenage daughter didn't think genuflecting was necessary.

The celebrant was Father J.P. Erickson, the assistant pastor (wash my mouth out with soap if you ever hear me saying "Parochial Vicar") of the Cathedral. There was a con-celebrant whose name I didn't catch and two deacons were present for the Communion. Father Erickson gave a short admonition before Communion, noting that the reception of Holy Communion was a Sacrament and an awesome sacred experience and not an occasion for protesting. Those wearing sashes were asked to remove them if they wanted to receive Communion. They would be refused if they came with the sash on. Other members of the congregation were asked not to interfere with anybody wearing a sash.

Communion is received only under one species at the Cathedral. Lay Extraordinary Ministers were sent to handle the rear pews. No doubt it was assumed that the demonstrators would want to confront the priests, not laypeople. The priests and deacons remained at the altar rails.

Everything went smoothly, all of the be-sashed were refused Communion and in my view only one incident occurred when a non-sashed person did not consume the Sacred Host but kept it in his hand and with a smirky smile gave it to the Pharisee's daughter.

After the priests had finished purifying the sacred vessels and had sat down, I did turn around and counted maybe 20 people still standing, resplendent in their sashes.

Not much of a turnout, I would say. Mass soon ended. And somehow the Pharisee forgot to genuflect when he left at the end of Mass when nobody but me was watching him.

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