Wednesday 20th September 2017

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

After A Light Went On In His Head . . . Pastor Decided To Change Lighting Style

March 17, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

PHOENIX — Various versions of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass may be offered legitimately in Catholic churches. The variations include the use of different languages. But how often does one think they also could use different lumens?
No, a lumen isn’t in the same etymological league as “catechumen,” although a ceremony for catechumens would necessarily involve lumens.
Lumen, says “vocabulary.com,” means “a basic unit for measuring brightness, just as the gram is a basic unit for measuring mass. A typical light bulb in your home might produce about 1,000 lumens. Lumen is related to the word luminous, which means ‘bright’ or ‘radiant’.”
The pastor of a large Phoenix Catholic church, St. Thomas the Apostle, tried out the lumen difference last Advent, and, because of subsequent positive reaction, plans to offer it again for Advent 2014.
It might be an adaptation worth thinking about in other liturgical seasons and celebrations, too.
St. Thomas the Apostle added an 8 p.m. candles-only Mass during the four Sundays of the Advent season in 2013. Aside from small reading lights turned on for the lector and priest to see Scripture, there was no electric lighting whatever in the central Phoenix church that seats about 1,100 people.
Each of the Masses also had meditative music before the service began, and continuing through the ceremony — a half-hour of music before two of the Masses, a full hour before the other two.
Still, this was a standard English-language liturgy that most U.S. Catholics attend — no legions of deacons or acolytes or foreign rituals added.
Impatient Catholics may chafe through the length of an ordinary Sunday Mass. But St. Thomas the Apostle attracted increasing hundreds of people each Sunday evening to sit reflectively through about two hours of music and liturgy before exiting into the crisp December night.
With the drastically lower illumination, there was no temptation to look around to see who else was at church, who might arrive late, or who wore what kind of clothes.
The church building was completed in 1960, before changes by Vatican II affected numerous facets of Catholic life including architecture.
St. Thomas the Apostle, with Spanish-colonial design and a big traditional bell tower, has all seating facing toward the main altar at the western wall of the structure. Seating isn’t semi-circular; the altar hasn’t been repositioned out amid the pews.
Explaining the idea for the candles-only ceremony, the pastor, Fr. John Ehrich, STL, told parishioners he actually had a dream about it.
Ehrich told The Wanderer: “I wouldn’t call the dream a mystical experience or anything. I simply had the image of my parish church dark with candles all around. From there I began to consider the idea of doing something a bit different during Advent — the idea of the entire world being in darkness until the Light of World was born of the Virgin, and tapping into that idea for our Advent observance. Also the idea of silence, contemplation, and also music, of course.”
He added, “I don’t suspect this was an original idea in the least.”
The main altar had six large candles on it, plus three large candles standing to either side. There were 72 candles in small, floor-level holders on the steps leading up to the sanctuary, and candles in holders at floor level on either side of the main aisle, next to every second pew. These extended all the way back to the vestibule, which also was candle-lit.
So, despite a number of candles, the large majority of them weren’t visible to people seated in the pews but cast their light upward.
Finally, there were the candles of the Advent wreath.
The Wanderer asked if Ehrich hoped to minimize distractions to the congregation by eliminating electricity. “I really didn’t think about that at all,” he replied. “In fact, it was so dark that I couldn’t really see the congregation at all from my vantage point.”
As to whether he thought this brought about a more reverent atmosphere, the priest said, “What I noticed most of all was the necessity to slow down and take my time a bit more. There was no pressure to finish on time or within a particular time constraint, which I found very rewarding.”
Still, the ceremonies didn’t extend deep into the evening. The Masses lasted only about ten minutes longer than a standard Sunday hour-long service.
People’s response, he said, “was overwhelmingly positive. People were very grateful for the opportunity to observe Advent in a special way. . . . Some parents weren’t pleased that I didn’t allow children under 12 to attend. However, the Masses were at 8 p.m. and were intended for a more mature audience. We do so much for children and families already, so I wanted to try something different. Many parents came and brought their teenagers, however.”
He estimated that about 700 people attended the first of the four Masses, and the number grew steadily to about 900 for the last one.
Because St. Thomas the Apostle’s final Sunday Mass normally ends around noon, the parish made extra efforts to let people know there would be Advent Masses also occurring in the evening.
Asked if he’d hoped to bring in new parishioners or even make converts from attendees, Ehrich said that because “we advertised it diocesan-wide I suspected there may be others,” in addition to current parishioners.
“We also had a number of non-Catholics, which we did anticipate, given that one of the musical groups was non-Catholic and has a local nondenominational following.”

Focusing On The Cross

Before becoming a priest, Ehrich was a professional musician. Drawing on this background, he staged two popular jazz festivals in a picnic atmosphere under the stars on the parish grounds during 2013, drawing perhaps 2,000 parishioners and others each time.
Many children dashing around and playing on the grass during the jazz events almost may have made one think this was back in the 1950s, before Planned Parenthood started destroying many families’ lives.
Asked about how he selected the musicians to play at the Advent Masses, Ehrich told The Wanderer:
“I have an extensive music background, having been a music director for a number of years and studying music theory and composition in college. The music I selected was varied. One Mass featured Palestrina, another featured more traditional chant and polyphony. The other two Sundays featured a more contemporary Christian group called ‘The Brilliance.’
“I was looking for music that didn’t demand an active response so much as music that set a particular ethos and experience to the liturgy. I was quite pleased with the result,” Ehrich said.
“I would say that, combined with the environment, the music allowed people to focus on the cross, the altar, and the Eucharist more intently. I don’t think it is something I would do every Sunday, but given how easily the season of Advent gets lost in our culture, I believe it bore a good amount of fruit for those who were able to attend,” he said.
A Corpus life-size or larger hangs above the main altar at St. Thomas the Apostle.
As to whether anyone stumbled in the dark, Ehrich said, “We did have a number of seniors present, which actually surprised me. However, we told people to assist each other and we…had active ushers assisting as well.”
Perhaps the greater danger of stumbling in the dark occurred when people left the spiritual enclosure of the church and had to return to the surrounding secular world, with its snares as near as the daily newspaper rack at the convenience store just across the street.
Yet the light shone in the darkness, though the darkness knew it not.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Popular priest disinvited from Catholic University’s seminary after protests over his LGBT book

The Rev. James Martin, a popular priest who published a book earlier this year encouraging a bridge between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church, has been disinvited from giving an address at Catholic University’s seminary. Martin, who was planning…Continue Reading

Latin Mass fans celebrate 10-year anniversary _ without pope

Fans of the old Latin Mass descended on Rome on Thursday for their annual pilgrimage, facing indifference to their cause, if not outright resistance, from none other than Pope Francis. Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI passed a law allowing greater use of…Continue Reading

Pro-gay Vatican adviser gets Catholic group suspended from Twitter

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A faithful Catholic lay apostolate was suspended by Twitter last week after Vatican adviser Father James Martin complained about a tweet that teasingly stated the pro-gay Jesuit had been bested in a theological…Continue Reading

Durbin, Feinstein and Catholic judges

Washington is currently embroiled in one of its “gotcha” controversies, which often arise when minor missteps are blown into major crimes. It’s a game both parties and a variety of activists play whenever they see political advantage in it. The…Continue Reading

Pope issues new directives on revision, translation of liturgical texts

Vatican City, Sep 9, 2017 / 08:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy See has released a new “motu proprio” from Pope Francis outlining a shift in the responsibility of local bishops and the Apostolic See for the revision and approval…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke ‘treasured’ work with deceased dubia Cardinal to oppose ‘gravely harmful confusion’

ROME, September 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke paid tribute today to fellow dubia signer Cardinal Carlo Caffarra on his passing after a long illness. In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Burke said he was “deeply saddened” by the 79-year-old’s…Continue Reading

Some Personal Reflections on the Late Cardinal Caffarra

As Steve Skojec reported this morning, our beloved Cardinal Carlo Caffarra died today, in Italy. Our hearts are broken over this news since he was such a lovable and charitable and truthful man for us. Just to know that he was out…Continue Reading

Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Day of Prayer Proclamation

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Americans have always come to the aid of their fellow countrymen.  Friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger — we’ve seen it perhaps more so than at any time, so vividly at…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: The Pope who ‘seems to’ permit adultery bears a ‘grave responsibility’

POLAND, August 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia “seems to” go in the direction of a pastoral “discernment” that “allows the adulterers to continue in adultery,” says Bishop Athanasius Schneider. The consequences for many could be…Continue Reading

REPORT CARD: Faithful college praised for financial aid; Praying for Notre Dame; ‘Pride Prom’ at Marquette

With college affordability becoming an increasingly prominent (and problematic) issue, Thomas Aquinas College’s recognition by The Princeton Review’s national Financial Aid Honor Roll is especially refreshing. “We are pleased that, once again, The Princeton Review has featured Thomas Aquinas College in its annual guide,”…Continue Reading

JEFFERSON CITY’S CATHEDRAL SCHOOL RESISTS LGBT POLICY

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – The flagship school for the diocese of Jefferson City has updated its handbook with clear Catholic instruction to counter the LGBT agenda being foisted on schools. Just in time for the new school year, St. Joseph…Continue Reading

Australian priest rips confession proposal as government ‘intrusion’

An Australian priest has called the Royal Commission’s recent proposal to enforce law requiring that clergy face criminal charges if they do not disclose details of sexual abuse revealed in the confessional a breach of religious tolerance. Fr. Kelvin Lovegrove,…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Today . . .

Pro-Life Speaker Ben Shapiro Answers Pro-Abortion Student’s Question With an “Epic Takedown”

Popular conservative author and speaker Ben Shapiro continued to impress his audience Thursday at UC Berkeley when he rapidly refuted a young man’s abortion arguments. Shapiro’s speech at the liberal California university drew massive media attention because of the violent protests that have broken out on campus during past conservative speakers’ talks. The university and local police increased security, and several people were arrested Thursday. Inside the sold-out auditorium, Shapiro received a huge applause when…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah: Reverent liturgy is essential to fighting the culture of death

ROME, September 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the chief antidotes to a world “marked by the blight of Godless terrorism, of an increasingly aggressive secularism” and an “advancing culture of death” is to restore primacy to God in the Catholic liturgy, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said Thursday. The cardinal was speaking to an international gathering of cardinals, priests, religious and laity at the Fifth Roman Colloquium on Summorum…Continue Reading

Pope to new bishops: ‘Discernment’ means avoiding ‘rigid’ answers to moral questions

ROME, September 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis told a group of newly ordained bishops that “authentic discernment” cannot be reduced to repeating “rigid” moral formulas to persons whose situations “can’t be reduced to black and white.” Discernment, the pope said, “can’t be reduced to repeating formulas such as ‘high clouds send little rain’ to a concrete person, who’s often immersed in a reality that can’t be reduced to black and white.” He cautioned bishops…Continue Reading

Catholic leaders defend Trump after Pope challenges his pro-life views

September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life Catholic leaders are defending President Trump against Pope Francis after the Pontiff questioned Trump’s pro-life views, despite the fact that Trump has racked up major pro-life accomplishments during his short time in office. “If Pope Francis is so concerned with the commitment of others to the defense of preborn children, he should consider his own words and actions, as well,” said Michael Hichborn, founder and president of the Lepanto…Continue Reading

Sex, sanity, and beliefs that ‘live loudly’ within us

“I do not know any country where, in general, less independence of mind and genuine freedom of discussion reign than in America.” — Tocqueville, “Democracy in America” Alexis de Tocqueville was the great French chronicler of the early United States.  Nearly 200 years ago, he spotted a basic tension in our national character.  It’s this:  Americans place a big stress on individual rights.  But we’re also big conformists.  The dynamic of self-assertion and fear of being…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Who Were The Colombian Martyrs Beatified By Pope Francis?

By ELISE HARRIS ROME, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) — During his six-day visit to Colombia, Pope Francis beatified martyrs Bishop Jesus Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve and Fr. Pedro Maria Ramirez Ramos, who provide testimony as the country heals from decades of conflict. Bishop Jaramillo was killed by Colombian Marxist guerrilla forces in 1989, while Fr. Ramirez was…Continue Reading

20 State Attorneys General Lauded… For Opposing Pro-Abortion Judge Orrick’s Gag Order Against CMP

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — “It is definitely very encouraging, and it’s great news” that 20 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to oppose the gag order against videos by pro-life investigators, an official with one of the law firms representing David Daleiden and the California-based Center for Medical…Continue Reading

Preparing To Enter Into The Awesome Mystery Of The Mass

By JAMES MONTI For every Catholic, there can be no more important event in one’s spiritual life than Holy Mass. For in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist we encounter our God in a more intimate manner than in any other sacrament, sacramental, or form of prayer. I recall hearing of a modern writer who…Continue Reading

Moral Judgments — Facts Or Opinions?

By ARTHUR HIPPLER (Editor’s Note: Dr. Hippler is chairman of the religion department and teaches religion in the Upper School at Providence Academy, Plymouth, Minn.) + + + Allan Bloom began his Closing of the American Mind with this memorable observation: “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the…Continue Reading

The Complete Thinker

By DONALD DeMARCO “The Complete Thinker” is borrowed from the title of Dale Ahlquist’s 2012 book, the subtitle of which is The Marvelous Mind of G.K. Chesterton. “Thinking,” for Chesterton, “means connecting things.” Ahlquist regards G.K.’s thinking as “complete” in the sense that it deals with a wide variety of subjects and integrates them in…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Professor Josef Seifert… Amoris Laetitia’s “Immense Threat” To The Moral Teaching Of The Church

By MAIKE HICKSON (Editor’s Note: In light of Professor Josef Seifert’s recent essay examining some of the dangerous logical consequences of Amoris Laetitia — an essay for which he was dismissed from his teaching position by the archbishop of Granada — Dr. Maike Hickson of OnePeterFive.com reached out to the Austrian philosopher to ask him some additional questions about not…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Can Division In Worship Bring Unity Of Faith?

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Pope Francis has given authority through a new motu proprio, Magnum Principium, issued this month, to local bishops’ conferences to approve translations of the liturgy from Latin into local languages. By doing so he hopes to accomplish a couple of things. First, as we know by now Pope Francis places full trust and confidence in…Continue Reading

God The Sanctifier Of Men… Other Christs

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 In a previous article, I mentioned that sanctifying grace makes us brethren of Christ. It is, by the way, one more reason to have devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and Mother of us, our common Mother. The reason is quite simple to understand: Christ is the Head of the…Continue Reading

The Effects And Fruits Of Anointing Of The Sick

By DON FIER The proper time for receiving the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick for a baptized Catholic “has certainly arrived when the believer begins to be in danger of death because of illness or old age” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1528). However, as we saw last week, the sacrament is not exclusively for those who…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Please clarify 1 John 5:16-17. Does this refer to mortal sin? What is meant by not praying for one in deadly sin? Isn’t deadly sin a top priority for prayer? — P.S., Indiana. A. The passage in question reads: “If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Thomas Villanova

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord drew amazing men and women from the population of Spain to protect that country from the ravages that swept through Germany and the Scandinavian countries in the Reformation era. Two events marked by Augustinian monks sparked these events. In Germany, an apostate Augustinian monk who fell from grace led hundreds of thousands into error —…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Simon De Rojas

By CAROLE BRESLIN The subject of this article lived in a time of great saints, great Spanish saints, so it is not surprising that he is little known. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) who wrote the Spiritual Exercises, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) who reformed the Carmelites and wrote The Interior Castle, and St. John of the Cross who wrote…Continue Reading