Thursday, 5 September 2013

St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church

Exactly two weeks since my previous new church, to the hour, another has been added to my list!  The young adults group with which I am associated has taken to the road, deciding to meet instead at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church once per month for its Holy Hour, and being its altar server, I naturally went along.

The meetings begin with a talk, but so that the church will be ready in time I normally am compelled to skip it in favour of preparing for the Holy Hour.  I had assistance this time, however, from one of the clergy of the parish -- very helpful!  Yet, of course, there were bound to be problems.

As we prepared the thurible (one of those "standard" one-chain varieties), I recounted to him a story from years past where the bottom once fell off during the incensation at Mass.  The charcoal being lighted, he kept it in hand swinging it for airflow, as I positioned the stand off to the Gospel side of the altar.  Just standing there, minding my own business!  "Look out!" I hear, and before I can react, the bottom half of a broken thurible comes whizzing by me, followed by a cloud of burning charcoal.

Finally realising what had happened, my first reaction, naturally, was not, "Am I okay?" but rather, "Are my vestments okay?" It literally brushed my leg, leaving a trail of dust on my cassock, but amazingly (and thankfully) there were no burn marks to be found!  My near-death experience of the day being over, we got back to work, amused of the coincidental timing.

Next, a commentary on the art of organ improvisation. As we processed into the church for Adoration, the organist began an improvised processional, transitioning into O Salutaris as Father approached the tabernacle.  We were all ready to begin singing, when . . . Father turned and walked off the altar back into the sacristy, returning a moment later with the tabernacle key.  A feigned start, you might say.  This left the organist, however, having to reverse the transition on the fly, improvise for another moment, and then retransition upon Father's return.  "What does this have to do with altar serving?" you ask.  Essentially nothing, but, I am also an organist, so I found it interesting enough to merit a comment.

Adoration itself went very well, and I even had an assistant in the form of a new member, who is a parishioner there and regular server, as well as, coincidentally, a classmate of mine.

One last thing of note is that, afterwards as we chatted in the sacristy, one of the clerics (the same who almost set me on fire beforehand) was chatting with me about — go figure — non-Roman Latin Rite liturgies, and casually said, "My favourite though is the Sarum Use.  I used to serve as Master of Ceremonies regularly for those Masses."  Can you picture the way a dog's eyes light up when a piece of meat is dangled above its head?  Well, that was me!  Apparently, a group in Washington D.C. celebrates the Sarum Use regularly, under the theory that, being a former Royal colony, the Rite proper to New England is the Sarum Use.  This is the theory I have promoted myself for years . . . but never before have I heard someone else hold it.  Quite exciting!

Speaking of dogs, did I mention the dog?  The church is connected directly to the rectory, and as we finished cleaning up, the pastor's dog wandered in, and then into the church.  No further comment!

As a final note, my church count now stands at 52.  Now, if you will excuse me, I must shop for airline tickets to D.C. . . .  
Datum S. Ludovici, die XV mensis Septembris, in festo Septem Dolorum Beatae Mariae Virginis, anno MMXIII.

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