Thursday, December 14, 2006

Now, I probably imagined it.

I have a tendency to do that, Expectant Mommy Syndrome notwithstanding.

But I visited St. Anthony's in Hightstown to check out their just-completed renovation. My parish doesn't have a Thursday morning service because my pastor visits his mother on Thursdays. Generally, I'm not available on Thursday morning anyway because of a weekly Bible study at a C&MA church in Plainsboro. But we are on Christmas break right now.

The renovation was not what I expected. It seems as if a chunk of the sanctuary was converted into a chapel. 'Though I guess an addition was made. I presume that the chapel is for daily Mass, since that's where we sat. It makes the daily service more intimate, I guess, but attendance was way down. So, either people feel cramped or they don't like the presider. Fr. Miguel Valle's accent is very thick.

I peered into the sanctuary and could have gone in to check it out further since the doors were unlocked but I didn't want to loiter. I just can't imagine, with every other Catholic church in the neighborhood expanding, shrinking the sanctuary. But, until I step inside, I can't tell for sure whether that happened.

So, anyway, the disturbing thing to me is where the priest stood when he proclaimed the Gospel.

I mean, the first reading and the psalm were spoken from the ambo, on the right side of the altar.

Then, when Fr. Miguel read the Gospel, he stood sort of in the center of the chapel, which happened to be left of the altar. And, even though that's flip-flopped from the positions of the Tridentine Mass, it's too close for comfort.

But what am I talking about?! I'm the pot calling the kettle "black", because my home parish, built in 1998, has two ambos!

Under Fr. V., the Epistle was read from the left side of the altar and the Gospel was read from the right. So, I've already "been there, done that" ... I just didn't recognize it. Fr. Mike has not continued that old practice. Instead, the cantor / music leader uses the second ambo.

Moreover, Jeff reminds me that my former parish in Eatontown, St. Dorothea, constructed in the late 60's, also has two ambos ... but the second was used by the cantor / music leader and also during the reading of the Passion when every available microphone was employed for the various speaking roles.

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