Friday, March 2, 2007

Strange Close Encounter-like Sights in Minneapolis; Visiting UFO’s?

Strange Close Encounter-like Sights in Minneapolis; Visiting UFO’s?

The West Bank (of the Mississippi River) neighborhood of Minneapolis has been home to lots of strange sights over the years. Back in the 60s, it was the equivalent of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury drug infested flower power zone. Its anti war movements in the 70s and influxes of immigrants since then have melded with the student populations of the University of Minnesota and Augsburg College.

But Friday evening, a really strange sight was seen in front of the Rarig Center, home of the University’s Theater Department. The cloudy sky obscured any possible view of airborne transportation, but 60 Men in Black were seen in formation, led by four men wearing three-quarter length white over-garments (not down-filled by the way, in the 20 degree temperature), with some lacy garnishes and embroidered edges and a large white tab at the neck on their black collarless undergarments. (And these leaders were not wearing gloves when they held out their identifying signs.) Definitely not what the cool UofMN students is normally seen wearing.

These 60 aliens (alien, at least to students of the University of Minnesota leaning out of their dorm, office and library carrel windows and accosting visitors as to what was going on) seemed to be alternately singing and reciting verses with musical chants and poems that seemed to be in some dead language.

While these Men in Black were murmuring and chanting their stanzas, occasional groups of people paused and marveled for a few minutes on their way to a viewing of the opening performance of a theatrical presentation entitled “The Pope and the Witch” at Rarig Center. A goodly number of photographers, enraptured by the performance, or in the pay of the University Police Department, were on hand to document the event.

The lone member of the Men in Black who was female (it is hopeful that Saturday's performance will have more distaff members), and had the name Cathy of Alex embroidered on her stylish off-black garment, left the group in mid-chant and was last seen, front row center ticket in hand, attempting to merge with a large group of the play attendees as they entered the Rarig Center. A bit of a chapel veil was seen sticking out from one of her pockets. Nothing further has been heard of her. Check here for further reporting.

Some bystanders, with no apparent fear of these Men (and one woman) in Black, dared to approach and inquire of a helpful bystander as to what was going on. He was overheard to say something that sounded like Vianney and Seminary, two words rarely heard on the West Bank except in the deepest recesses of the University libraries.

Stay Tuned For Further Reporting

Sopranos Wanted!

Wanted - 20 Sopranos and other musically talented individuals to join with 120 men (this time) of the St John Vianney Seminary of the University of St Thomas as they reassemble and reprise their Friday performance in front of the Rarig Center to protest in prayer and hymn the second performance of The Pope and the Witch, the blasphemous play mocking the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and its members.

The SJV Seminary is an equal opportunity vocal group [Aren’t most Catholics aware that their pastors can’t sing?], so tone deaf and unpracticed vocalists will be accepted and greatly appreciated for this Saturday evening performance, beginning at 7:15 p.m. It will last about an hour. Ample parking is available with your two or three dollar bill across the street in the 21st Avenue parking ramp.

Directions The "Diagonal" street is Riverside Avenue

On behalf of Cathy of Alex, Adoro Te Devote and others of the Minnesota blogging community who will be kicking me because I didn't keep track of who blogged on this performance, I would like to take this space to thank Father William Baer, Rector of the St John Vianney College Seminary for letting his men out for this prayerful protest on Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3, 2007, and commend him for preparing such fine potential priests for the Archdiocese of St Paul-Minneapolis and other Dioceses of Minnesota and the United States.

Father, you promised me eight or ten and you delivered 60 on Friday and the promise is 120 for Saturday. I can see now why the SJV Seminary is the largest college seminary in the United States of America!

I'll do my best to get those sopranos for the chorus out tomorrow night.

But I mostly want to thank those SJV men who could have found something else to do on that chilly night. You can't believe how thrilled I was when I rounded the curve on Fourth Street in front of the Rarig Center and saw those 60 of God's specially chosen men standing at the beginning of their prayers. I parked and was able to join them by the start of the First Sorrowful Mystery. They sing hymns between each Mystery. I hate to date myself, but some of those hymns I had not sung for over 50 years, I'd bet. I might have to add hymns to my Rosary practice. But before that, I'd better figure out how to handle a Rosary when wearing cozy, down-filled, gloves. Right now, it would seem that beads the size of ping pong balls on a Rosary would be my only option. Then the SJV men finished with a Divine Mercy Chaplet for good measure.

Ray from MN


Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ray: I was so happy to see you and all those fine men there last night, I can't find words.

I will blog on my experience inside later. I'm still getting myself together in that regard.

I will be there again tonight. I'm a contralto (alto) so we still need sopranos!

Adoro said...

I used to be a soprano...not sure if I can still do it, but maybe....

Adoro said...

Hey! You guys wanna meet for an early dinner and then go protest?

Anonymous said...

That is so amazingly awesome. Wish I lived in the Twin Cities to join the folks.

I'd be really tempted to bring a sign that says "When did mocking defense of the most poor and vulnerable become "social commentary"?"

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: I'm up for that. I'll send you and Ray a seperate email.

Adoro said...

IC, awesome sign! :-)

Hmm....let's see if I have the "ingredients" for such a sign...

I'll sign your sig "IC" so you can still be there. :-)

Anonymous said...

Among the comments made in the local newspapers and blogs regarding the events of the past two nights, there has been an interesting thread running through them, namely, comments about the singing of traditional chants and hymns.

At the Seminary, I teach the men that singing in the Scriptures is often associated with victory in battle. In particular, the "new song" of the Psalms and, especially, of the Exodus, is no willowy, but a triumphal song following the LORD's victory over the Egyptians and other opponents. Mary's Magnificat is a victory song, acclaiming God's triumph in raising the lowly, including His lowly handmaid, to glory, while casting down the proud and powerful of this world. In heaven the martyrs and saints will sing a new song, "the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb."
Are you in a fight? Cry out to the Lord. Are you victorious? Sing out to the Lord. This is how Catholics do it. And this may be an under-appreciated part of how Catholics are to do evangelization. People close their ears to our words, but they just can't ignore a good song.

Do we want Catholic men to sing? Give them a chance to fight for Christ, give them a chance to celebrate our victory in Christ, and then give them chants and anthems, ancient and new, whose words and melodies and spirit befit an unconquerable band of brothers in Christ.

Do that, and we will have thousands of everyday Catholic men around the Twin Cities, including men who have hated to sing the insipid songs foisted upon them previously, singing with ardor a new song to the Lord. I guarantee that observers and protesters who pay no attention to mean-spirited and tiresome shouts of protest will take notice. That's what a song of victory does. Always has, always will.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Father: Amen.

Anonymous said...

Dear Father Baer, i kiss your feet padre. how lovely on the mountains are the feet of him, who brings good news. yes father. you are bringing Good News to us Catholic guys. i like your approach and if i get a chance, i too will join in and sing my heart out. you are making me proud of being a Catholic. once again father, i kiss your feet.
- pio, chicago

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Whoa! What I wouldn't give to join you all singing out there. It sounds like a grand time, I hope you can keep it up! I will pray for your efforts. Thank you so much.