Cleansing Fire

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Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg, PA

April 10th, 2011, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

When I visit my family in Pennsylvania, I usually end up attending mass at the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg, PA.  About a year ago they started a renovation process; in this case for the better.  It’s always been a beautiful cathedral, but I felt like the walls and ceiling were  whitewashed with simplicity; like there were things missing.  The most notable difference thus far is the new paintings and still under construction is the high altar.  Here’s some photos I shot today.  The last two I shot at my son’s request (don’t blame me).  Can you guess what the last one is?

My 3 year-old was something less than well behaved today, so we spent most of mass in the back.  I was saddened to see a large number of people leaving right after receiving communion.  Many of these people also stayed and chatted rather loudly in the vestibule while communion was still being distributed.  Since the doors between the vestibule and the church proper are under construction, I’m sure much of this commotion could be heard all the way up at the altar.  It was pretty much a circus in the back while many were still in line to receive.  Then I looked up and the priest was walking with the Blessed Sacrament through this raucous crowd in order to get to some of the immobile people in the back who couldn’t make it to the front of the church.  No one even bothered to quiet down or show reverence as the priests meandered through this crowd.  It was so sudden, I didn’t know what to do.  I think in hind sight if I am ever in such a situation again I would politely, but loudly say “Make way for our Lord who is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.”  What do you think?  Anyone ever witness something like this before or have any ideas what to do?  Other than that crowd, the mass was very nicely celebrated.

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17 Responses to “Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg, PA”

  1. avatar Faithful says:

    Why didn’t the priest show some guts and tell the “crowd” to either have some respect for what is going on or get lost? People are only doing that becasue priests don’t correct them or show dissaproval. Priests who do try to correct this will usually so something along the lines of:

    (“Well, now, [chuckle, chuckle]I know we all want to see the game, or do X, or do whatever it is we need to do, [chuckle, chuckle]but I have to remind you to please be more reverent and ‘try’ to stay until the end of Mass. Okay? [chuckle, chuckle]“)

    Sometimes the priest, rather then speaking on the elephant in the room, will simply have signs posted “Please stay until the end of Mass” or something like that. Of course the signs are ignored.

    Again, very appropriate if this is all it takes to get the people to listen.

    Sometimes however the priest needs to say things in a little stronger and forceful way, and keep hitting it every now and then until people get the message. Many priests however are loath to do this, becasue “it isn’t very pastoral” and “well, now, we have to meet the people where they are at” and therefore the rude behavior continues.

    Perhaps the priest cannot control what the people do, or did, but I blame him for not expressing his dissaproval.

    As for the art work, no offense, but it looks at little cartoonish from what I can see in the pictures. If a parish is going to add artwork so that the Church does not look whitewashed, the art should look like traditional art.

  2. avatar Choir says:

    I would start by emailing the rector of the Cathedral this column and ask him for a response back. I wouldn’t have any problem with you saying that. But then again, that’s me. These poor people have been so poorly instructed that even if you said it to them, they would probably look like the RCA Victrola dog. Or you could make a sign and hold it up. The sign should say “Judas left the Last Supper EARLY too!” But honestly, they wouldn’t get it.

  3. avatar Choir says:

    Here is a link for other pictures of this magnificent cathedral.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/cathedralgbg

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    I would role my eyes at you and continue talking, maybe just a little louder.

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    This happened when I visited a relative. When the people were leaving, I turned to my husband and, in a very loud voice, asked, “Where are all these people going?” Believe it or not, the following week, only a few people left early!
    I also remember a time in my childhood (when the priest said Mass with his back to the people). We had Benediction after one Mass each Sunday. While the priest was removing the precious Body from the monstrance, people began to leave. The priest turned and shouted out, “STOP! You are showing no respect for Christ! At least wait until He is back in the tabernacle!” Unfortunately, that priest has since passed away, but the memory of that morning and his love for Jesus has always stayed with me.

  6. avatar Nerina says:

    I would role my eyes at you and continue talking, maybe just a little louder.

    Anon. Really? That’s what you would do? You couldn’t muster up just a bit of respect and reverence for our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament? I’d say that your response reflects quite poorly on you.

    Ben, I say “go for it.” I’ve asked people to stop talking while Communion was being distributed. They didn’t like it, but they did quiet down. I agree with Faithful, sometimes we need our spiritual Fathers to take the lead. I’m glad to do my part, but a Father speaking up and admonishing, when necessary, his children is much more effective.

    BTW, my husband calls leaving before the end of Mass “the Judas shuffle.”

  7. avatar Nerina says:

    Regarding the pictures: you’ve got to love any picture of construction equipment. Is the last one a bird?

    What a lovely church and beautiful tabernacle.

  8. avatar Raymond Rice says:

    Practically every Mass I go to in any parish has people talking all through the Mass and walking out the express line after communion. People have to be taught by the “prophetic” priest what good manners are in church and in the presence of the Creator of the Universe in the form of the Blessed Sacrament!!

  9. avatar Wheat says:

    There is a day coming.

  10. avatar Semper_Idem says:

    Bishop Brandt has done everything in his power to squash Summorum Pontificum. There is still no EF Mass offered by the Diocese, almost four years after the MP. The Benedictine monastery of St. Vincent has them from time to time. And yes, there is a demand for them.

  11. avatar Anonymous says:

    Role your eyes? Did you mean “roll my eyes”? I have a feeling we’re dealing with a juvenile in regards to this disrespectful anonymous.

  12. avatar Oil says:

    Not at Our Lady of Victory/St. Joseph.

  13. avatar Scott W. says:

    We unfortunately have a chatty, marketplace-like nave as well and at a sacramental preparation class one brave woman dared to mention it and the deacon hemmed-and-hawed about different cultures and essentially made it her problem when the fact is, many in the congregation are behaving childishly and ultimately the responsibility goes to the indulgent parent, i.e. the church leadership. It is quite telling when you can’t get the same minimal courtesy you can get at the public library.

  14. avatar Irondequoit Mom says:

    Ben- Weird how we are put in these situations where you have to be distracted from your own prayer to teach others how to behave. There is the same situation going on at most churches – with the leaving, and the talking…and while I would say to lead by quiet example for most of these situations, yours is not one of them. Even if no one stops talking (which would be doubtful, but even if it is so) your enduring the stares by most around you after you made the wonderful declaration will bring you some humiliation and strength and closer to our Lord.

  15. avatar Anonymous says:

    Other anon: It’s “roll” not role–and why be so juvenile? You can’t give the Lord at least that time??

  16. avatar Faithful says:

    Anonymous:

    You would roll your eyes and continue talking? That says more about you then it does about anyone else, that is for sure.

    Apparently you did not read my post to well.

    I said priests cannot control what people do. The point is not whether the people listen to the priest, the point is that he do something to at least try and teach the people something of their Faith. If the people want to ignore him, fine—they do so at their own peril. If you want to stand before God and answer for why it was so difficult for you to actually stay for an entire Mass, that is your business.

  17. avatar Abaccio says:

    Choir stole my line. I’ve often considered posting signs in the Narthex that say “Judas left early, too”

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