Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Blue Stone Toads at St. Julie's Church

(Blue Stone Toad: a liturgical anomaly. It is a phrase coined by the currently non-blogging Miss Emily Stimpson, after she went to a wedding and saw a blue stone toad in the baptismal font.)

The other day I found out that St. Julie had a 6:45am Mass, and decided that I would go. I got to the chapel, and looked in the door, only to see no priest, but a woman in vestments leading what is described in the bulletin as "A word service by a lay presider." I was a little upset, and went off to another parish on my way to work. This of course is not the first time I have seen strange things go on at St. Julie: I once had to convince the priest in confession that yes, indeedy, a particular thing was a sin. (Athanasius' rule for figuring out your priest's bad habits: if he says some sort of behavior isn't a sin, you can be sure that he does it.) Another time I went to a penance service where they had several priests available for individual confessions at the conclusion. The penance service was packed, but I was the only one who went to individual confession.

Anyway, back to the "Word Service." What is the purpose of this? If there is only one priest available, and he can only celebrate one Mass a day, why not just cancel the early Mass? Why dress a "lay presider" up in an alb and make up a service? What is the point? Here's a thought: why didn't they just pray the liturgy of the hours instead? Finally, if one must have a service, why not at least have the priest or the two deacons lead it, so that the people can at least receive a blessing?

One wonders if the lay presider is ever a man.

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