Sunday, November 22, 2009
Catholic Church shopping Part IV: the Gymnasium
I have written before about the next church I visited. This large parish on the South Shore has torn down its old church and is building a humongous modernist monstrosity in its place. For the time being Mass is held in the school gymnasium. There's really not that much to say. I didn't see any bulletins, so I can't comment on the life of the parish. It was a mid afternoon Mass and still drew a lot of people, perhaps 200. There is a large school connected to the parish, so in those situations I wonder if Mass attendance is mandatory for continued enrollment. The people certainly didn't seem like they wanted to be there. The altar was located at half court, against the wall, which gave it a theatre-in-the-round feel. The Indian priest gave a convoluted, uninspiring and unmemorable sermon. He spoke at length about what Hindus believed and said some vague things about that day's reading from the Book of Revelation. The music was played with skill by some musicians on the stage. and consisted of the post Vatican II second tier standards that grate on your nerves after a lifetime of hearing them. One thing I will remember about this church is that the congregation was perhaps the most slovenly group of people I have ever seen. Perhaps one or two older folks were dressed appropriately, while the majority were clad in jeans, t-shirts, sweatpants, shorts, and velour jogging suits (the uniform for Staten Island women) . The Gymnasium proved to be yet another disheartening experience for me.