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Applying Concepts At Mass Essay

2468 words - 10 pages

Applying Concepts At Mass
The service I attended was at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on the corner of South Fifth Avenue and Ann Street in Wilmington, NC. I went there on March 27, 2011 at 11:00 am. St. Mary’s Catholic Church is a post-Vatican II parish of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. The Mass I attended celebrated the Third Sunday in Lent. As I entered the Church, the priest, Father Bob, was standing at the door greeting people. As I was looking around in the lobby, Father Bob noticed I was not a regular and approached me. He was very kind and eager to answer questions. He handed me the Church’s newsletter and an Order of Mass. The building was a large brick building. It is a ...view middle of the document...

A problem with the religious language that I agree with is very often, it does not fit our everyday experience. At the mass some gospels that were read and many from that time period cannot be directly related to our lives now. Because of this I think the priest tries to tell a story that the majority of the people will understand. It takes the same principles from the original story and translates it to a modern form. With this in mind, the priest told the story of the Iraqi family so the congregation could relate to it. The community was weary of the Iraqi family and voiced their concerns to the priest. The priest told the people that the Iraqi family was Catholic Christians too and they should not stereotype them just because they are different.
There are many symbols at St. Mary’s church. There were 13 depictions on the walls around the church, which represented the 13 stations of the cross. These are a representational interpretation because it memorializes the last hours of Jesus’ life and it points to the holy which is Jesus. There were statues in the church of Jesus, Mary, and some apostles. The statue of Jesus represents the holy, but it is not the focal point of the church. The statue of Mary is behind the altar and is whom the church is named after. The statue of Jesus is a representational interpretation of the holy, but the statue of Mary is not. Mary can be considered a sacred person and the statue could be considered a hierophany, but she is not part of the holy trinity that consists of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. There are many stained glass windows in the church too. Jesus, Saint Christopher, Saint Joseph, The Immaculate Conception, The Sacred Heart, and the Last Supper are some of the images depicted in these pieces of art. Important people and events are represented in many of the windows, but the Holy is represented in the ones that include Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
The Catholic Church is based in rituals. According to its definition, rituals are a primary mode of religious expression and are an indispensible form of human action, both are true about St. Mary’s. Rituals seem to be a constant in the church and the congregation’s lives are permeated by ceremonies. Public, interpersonal, and private scales or rituals were prevalent in this mass. The entire mass is a public ritual. The act of receiving communion is an interpersonal example of a ritual to me and individual prayers are an example of private rituals. The rituals in a mass can be seen as being multivalent because they may have different meanings to different people. The act of receiving communion will mean a different thing to a devout Catholic who goes to church on a regular basis than it will to me. The mass I attended can be seen as a drama. The actors are the priest, the altar boys, the congregation, and other supporting members of the mass. The priest and altar boys have more training than other people in the mass. Members who support the mass and some...

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