Sunday, December 30, 2007

Mass at St. Mary Star of the Sea

Rocky and I went to Baltimore yesterday. We got married in a civil ceremony there 19 years ago--- we were impatient young things and weren't willing to bother with Pre-Cana or the Gordian Knot of his family's disapproval---- and were married in Church a little while later------- so the dirty old town has sentimental value to us.

Baltimore is a rough place. If you go, stay in the tourist areas. Do not take the public bus, especially if you are white or just don't look like a local. Having said that there are many lovely sights and experiences in Bmore if you're careful. We visited the St. Jude Shrine, Holy Cross Church, the Baltimore Basilica, Lexington Market and went to the vigil Mass at St. Mary's Star of the Sea in South Baltimore.

The church is very old and was built by Irish immigrants. Most of it survived the 60s. The main altar is gone and so is what I guess was once the St. Joseph altar which was replaced by a rather drab little box on an ugly plaster pedestal containing the Blessed Sacrament. It made me so sad because nobody stopped to genuflect or visit Our Lord before or as far as I could see, after Mass. The cantors bowed to the altar but ignored the Blessed Sacrament. Moving Jesus to side chapels or even out of the building all togethter was a terrible mistake.

The Mass itself was celebrated in a solid manner. The elderly lector was excellent. The cantors were typically annoying, they butchered the Gloria and the Santus and good grief --it's Mass ladies, not a concert. We're here for Jesus, not you. Both sang beautifully but nobody in the pews joined in because it was too hard to follow. It would be like trying to play football with Peyton Manning--- you'd look and feel like a fool.

The parishioners were very friendly. South Baltimore doesn't get too many black people walking around but no-one seemed the slightest bit surprised to see us. They were really nice folks, especially the old sacristan and his sweet wife.

The priest fascinated me. He's the pastor of THREE churches. After Mass he had just 20 minutes to get his vestments off and trot two or three blocks to another parish to say Mass there. We looked at his schedule in the parish bulletin and were amazed. It's definitely an assignment for a young priest because he does a lot of running. The sight of one priest pastoring three parishes and having no parochial vicar made Rocky sad.

After that we left Baltimore and went to Columbia to look at the drive through Christmas light display.