So yesterday was the feast of the Immaculate Conception. My regular church didn't have a mass that I was able to attend, so I checked out a neighboring church that I had found on the way to my son's daycare. I'd been eyeing it for some time now, curious to know what the inside looked like (because the outside was unique to me). Also, since it's dedicated to the Blessed Mother, I felt her feast day was the best time to find myself there.
I am so glad I did! It is a beautiful church! Truth be told, it is very small and has more of a "modern" feel (something I don't typically like, but can appreciate when it's done tastefully). The artwork was beautiful, and their statues were different from those I'm used to seeing. For instance, as opposed to Our Lady of Grace (typically the version of the Blessed Mother seen on her side of the church), there was a large state of Our Lady cradling Baby Jesus. Actually, if you take the following two pictures and combine their poses, then add infinitely more beauty, you've got the statue I'm referring to.
Anyway, aside from absolutely loving that statue of Our Lady (so maternal towards and adoring of that angelic little God-Child she held in her arms), I really liked the statue of her Assumption that was used during the Mass. Again, it was as if a painting were somehow sculpted into life so realistic she was!
The Stations of the Cross were full (though muted) colored, large and adorning the walls. A few smaller statues of St. Rita, St. Joseph, and St. Anthony were present. A beautifuly little Infant of Prague held Vincent's attention for much of the Mass. Finally, and MOST exciting for me, was the Adoration Chapel in the back of the Church. An ADORATION CHAPEL!!!
I didn't think I had one anywhere near me!!! BUT I DO! I almost cried!
Again, truth be told, I was emotional anyway. It's a feast of thanksgiving for Our Lady - a gift I am endlessly grateful for. I realized it was fitting this feast is during Advent. The coming of Our Lady marked a true Advent of sorts. With the Mother of God on her way into the world, Jesus was not far behind. God is certainly a Master of time, right? :) I smiled at that realization.
This Mass also made my heart sing due to the love the priest had for Our Lady. He used much Latin in the Mass (something new for me, but I loved it!), and he spared nothing in his homily lauding this gift of the Blessed Mother. He praised her with such fondness, such gratitude, such conviction that folks were in the pews nodding their heads in agreement. When he solicited a Hail Mary at the close of the homily, folks really put their heart into the salutation. It is a true blessing to partake of a Mass with so loving and charismatic a priest.
Because of the feast, the priest also chose to distribute Communion under both species! BOTH! I haven't been so privileged in years. I hadn't realized that until last night. Also, I noted that Father relegated the two EMs to the chalice, only allowing himself and the deacon to distribute the Hosts. I LOVE THIS GUY!
I took Vince up during the Eucharist and Father was kind enough to impart a blessing. I then moved to take my place in the chalice line. I was the last person there, and luckily there was just enough left for me to partake of. Vincent was gold the entire time, and I almost cried again from feeling so honored to have been graced with such a gift. I said to Our Lady "This is YOUR feast day, and here I am getting all the gifts!"
An adoration chapel close to home, a traditional, Marian priest who truly teaches when he preaches, the Eucharist under BOTH species, and a son who was beyond exemplary for the first time during a Mass... I was beyond grateful!
I can't wait to take advantage of that chapel now. Goodness... I could even go for a half hour during lunch it's so close!
Anyway, what a wonderful celebration of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception. I truly hope all of you who practice enjoyed a similarly beautiful experience!
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