“The music was accessible and easy to sing. The homily was on-point and offered food for thought. The Liturgy of the Eucharist was reverent to the point of giving me goosebumps.”
My friend Mary De Turris Poust sums it up, describing a recent visit to Chicago. At a time when it seems all some people can do is kvetch and complain about lackluster liturgy and ho-hum homilies, here’s a place that gets it right:
As I settled into my pew at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago one recent Sunday morning, I gazed up at the beautiful interior, a feast for the eyes, and hoped for a liturgy that would be a feast for my soul. I was not disappointed; in fact, I was joyful, verging on giddy.
Thumbing through the cathedral bulletin before Mass, I read an informative public policy piece on growing anti-Catholic sentiments and religious liberty; a short reflection on that day’s Gospel story; and a reflection on the upcoming Feast of Mary Magdalene that made this Magdala fan-girl smile from ear to ear. In terms of a spiritual meal, this spread was a feast of delicious appetizers that left me content and looking forward to the main course, which was everything I’d hoped for and more.
The music was accessible and easy to sing. The homily was on-point and offered food for thought. The Liturgy of the Eucharist was reverent to the point of giving me goosebumps. The pews were filled with people young and old, families and singles, but, best of all, so many young adults. After a liturgy that was beautiful from start to finish, the lector ran through announcements about upcoming events — coffee and pastry in the courtyard after Mass, a summer jazz concert (BYO picnic dinner), a paint-and-sip party. Everything was free and open to anyone and everyone, no exceptions. I turned to my husband, Dennis, and said: “This is how you do Church.”
As we walked out of Mass, we were stopped multiple times by people encouraging us to join them in the courtyard. The young priest who wrote the Mary Magdalene reflection was greeting people in the back. (I knew he was the writer because he was wearing a name tag.) I stopped to thank him for the inspiration. Then I made my way over to the celebrant so I could thank him as well.
Maybe the hopefulness of that morning has something to do with the population of Chicago in general. I had felt a surge of hope as we wandered the halls of the Chicago Art Institute because it was so crowded with young adults and families, but I believe my Mass high was due to more than demographics. It was due to the intentional effort that had been made to welcome newcomers, to find points of connection, to offer something relevant and inviting, to recognize that, while the Eucharist is Source and Summit, we humans often need tangible benefits to go along with the transcendent intangibles.
Yes, yes, yes. Read on. Why don’t more places do this?
Also, make it a point to bookmark her blog, Not Strictly Spiritual. You can thank me later.