Monday, July 14, 2008

The liturgical landscape of Metro Detroit

is, I believe, a wasteland.

Not to be harsh or anything, there are oasis' in any wasteland, but I am speaking from my experience a week ago.
Last week, I spent a few days babysitting a couple of my cousins, and I had a few hours for three mornings to go to daily Mass. I prepared myself for what I would find, and searched for churches nearby that offered Mass at a time when I could go, and I went to three different churches. There does seem to be a different church about every 2 miles!

The first church I went to was having a funeral at the time for the normal daily Mass, so that was interesting. Nothing too terrible, just the expected (sadly) typical funeral songs, and the priest canonizing the deceased.
The second day was probably the best, except that it turned out to be just a deacon doing a communion service. The reading had to do with asking for "more laborers for the harvest," and his homily was about how that actually meant that lay people need to get more involved...uhhh...yeah. But there was no liturgical silliness.
The third day was definitely the worst. I've never actually heard a priest say, "The Lord IS with you." And it just went down from there... I mean, how am I supposed to respond? Something like, "And obviously not with you." Cuz I don't want to say "And also with you," cuz I certainly don't know that! It's the difference between assuming something, and PRAYING for it: "MAY the Lord BE with you!" And then he proceeded to ad lib at EVERY possible least that made the Mass shorter so I had to suffer less.

I reflect on all of this NOT just to complain or mock or pity these other churches, but honestly because it makes me ponder how these situations will affect my own future life.
How, I am SO lucky/blessed/thankful to be in the church where I am, with the priest I work with.
But what won't always be like that...
And then where will I work? I think I would absolutely die before working for a priest who began every Mass with "The Lord is with you."
I suppose I can only trust God, that He has the perfect plan for my life, and most certainly I will have to suffer through difficult liturgical situations in my life, even as part of my job, but He will take care of me, and every difficult situation is an opportunity for growing in holiness, and as long as I listen to and obey Him, He will use me to bless others and help them grow in holiness.
Wherever I am.


Mr S said...

Sounds like you were tuned in to what was being said, and noticed that is was not right.

Guess the Lord was with you.


Gavin said...

Gosh thanks from a dweller of Detroit proper :P Actually I'm right around the corner from St. Josaphat's, which has the EF every Sunday at 9:30. Also Monday at 7:00 is a low Mass with organ, which I was going to go to tonight and bug the organist about sub work, but I wound up in Dearborn for something else. At any rate, the EF community in Detroit is quite nice but the music is all monopolized by a few people who make it VERY difficult to get involved if you're an "outsider". And from what I heard it's just not worth attending the OF in the archdiocese unless you go to Assumption Grotto.

By the way, while I was at the bar tonight my girlfriend texted me to tell me she met you! I might swing by next week, for tonight I had too much to get done to spend $5 on Handel :P

AlexB said...

Now hold on, Gavin. As the coordinator of EF Masses at St. Josaphat, St. Joseph, St. Albertus, Sweetest Heart of Mary, and Assumption in Windsor, I have had to search high and low for substitute organists. This is the furthest thing from a closed club. I would love to know of more interested individuals, as I am presently going beyond Ann Arbor to find people. I only know how to contact those who have offered their services to one of these parishes or who were referred through others. If you want to be considered, start by giving me your contact information at info (at) stjosaphatchurch [dot] org, or see the organist at the St. Josaphat or Assumption-Windsor EF Masses.

Where you may be getting the perception of exclusivity is that the principal EF organist/music director in Detroit is seemingly everywhere. He is the first choice of churches hosting the EF, because he is known for having tirelessly worked to promote the TLM and chant in Detroit and Windsor for 15 years. People remember that he paid his dues during the awful days of the indult in a nursing home chapel. When he is not at his day job or working on music per se, he is usually trying to network within the Detroit and London dioceses to promote reverent liturgy. As you can surely tell by now, I have utmost respect for this man.

As for Detroit, while I agree there is a lot of liturgical dreck out there, I doubt you'll find a diocese elsewhere other than Westminster, England that has more quality OF Latin Masses. Grotto does a great job of publicity, but we also have Old St. Mary's, St. Joseph, and Holy Family downtown, and Ss. Cyril & Methodius in Sterling Heights. A good place to start when looking for OF Masses in unfamilar cities is

Gavin said...

Thank you very much, Alex! I would love to get involved in the area. I gave the guy my number after Mass a few weeks ago, but never heard from him. Maybe he lost it, but I'll write you.

Mara Joy said...

do note that I said, "Metro Detroit," think, suburbia...
I suppose one has to start with having beautiful churches to have much of a chance at having the rest of the liturgy follow suite.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog and I thought that you might be interested in the musical act called The Priests. What separates this classical trio from others is that they really are catholic priests, who have recently signed a recording contract with Sony BMG. They are currently recording an album of classic hymns from the Latin Mass but you can find them on their
and even on youtube If you like what you hear it would be great if you could help them become better known to the public by mentioning them in one of your blog posts one day.

Thank you

BONIFACE said...


I have often thought about what you've said in your post. For example, see below:


Diane at Te Deum Laudamus said...

Mara - not sure where you are in Michigan, but I have shifted around for a morning Mass myself during the week.

Obviously, I would love to be assisting daily at Assumption Grotto. We typically have a 7:30 and 8:30am, which have been EF during the week, and there is a 7:00pm OF M-TH, and then on most Fridays an EF. Note that the 8:30 is sometimes suspended, like now - with vacations.

My boss wanted me in by 7:30 so that blew that. During the summer - in June and in August before Assumption (weather permitting), the pastor holds his Mass at the outdoor Grotto. It is so beautiful out there.

I was driving to Sts. Cyril & Methodius which has what I call a working class Mass at 6:00am. It is VERY well attended. There's another Mass in the morning (not sure of the time), then a Noon, and I think an evening Mass.

Gas prices pushed me over to St. Anne's in Warren on Mound between 13 & 14 Mile for the roughly 25 minute OF. When the pastor does it - no abuses. There is a new priest from another rite (and from India) who has recently learned the Latin rite. He was doing great until he went away for a time and was elsewhere. Someone taught him some bad habits. He is a good man, but has been mislead so I cut him some slack. The pastor is gone on vacation and I've given him the GIRM and a copy of Redemptionis Sacramentum. I was going to give him some time with it and perhaps talk to him more about certain points. I don't think he is aware that the Vatican has ended certain practices. It's possible the Pastor reigned him in on some things because they ceased, like dialogue homilies. Other things I don't think the pastor has noticed yet because he is not in there when the man is celebrating.

I may end up back at Sts Cyril & Methodius if things continue. It's hard now with the pastor gone because he is pretty much by the book. He gives about a 3-4 minute homily and keeps it simple.

diane at te deum laudamus said...

Oh, and one of the parishes right near me had a Communion service as well. The pastor was given another parish as part of a cluster. Rather than having people go 2 miles in any direction to pick up a real Mass, the deacon distributes Communion. I can't figure that out. In fact, I don't believe it is permissible. Such Communion services were intended for things like outposts. If they have a Sunday Mass, I don't think they are suppose to have a Communion service.

Gavin said...

Diane: It is my understanding that a "communion service" is permitted, but that it does not satisfy the Sunday/Holy Day obligation.