Wednesday 24th May 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.

Planned Parenthood Closing Multiple Abortion Clinics in Iowa After State Defunds It

The abortion chain Planned Parenthood announced plans Thursday to close four Iowa clinics as a result of a new state law that defunds it. At the end of June, Planned Parenthood facilities in Burlington, Keokuk and Sioux City, Iowa will…Continue Reading

Graduates walk out on Pence at Notre Dame commencement

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Dozens of graduates and family members silently stood and walked out Sunday as Vice President Mike Pence began his address at Notre Dame’s commencement ceremony. Pence, the former governor of Indiana, was invited to speak…Continue Reading

Trump nominates Callista Gingrich for ambassador to the Vatican

President Trump has nominated Callista Gingrich, the wife of former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), as ambassador to the Holy See, the White House announced Friday. The nomination comes just five days before Trump is set to meet with Pope Francis…Continue Reading

The murder case of Blessed Oscar Romero has been reopened

San Salvador, El Salvador, May 19, 2017 / 01:14 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A nearly 40 year-old murder case was reopened this week to properly prosecute the suspected killer behind the Salvadorian archbishop’s martyrdom. Because of an amnesty law that prohibited…Continue Reading

Notre Dame Protest of Pence Twists Catholic Social Teaching

This Sunday, vice president Mike Pence will return to his home state of Indiana to deliver the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame. For the third time in several years, the school’s graduation ceremony will be plagued by…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood is Ditching the Failed “Pro-Choice” Label. Here’s Why

The “pro-choice” label has not been working out so well for the abortion chain Planned Parenthood. The labels pro-choice and pro-life have been used for decades to help identify people’s positions on abortion, but young adults seem to be moving…Continue Reading

Bishop Conley: The Pro-Choice Political Dictatorship of Relativism

In 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would soon be elected Pope Benedict XVI, preached that “we are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and…Continue Reading

These Republicans Voted Against the Bill to Defund the Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

Republicans in the House of Representatives yesterday voted for a Reconciliation bill that would defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business. This was the second attempt to get enough votes on the reconciliation bill that would not only defund the nation’s…Continue Reading

Cecile Richards Comes Unglued After House Defunds Planned Parenthood: Republicans Hate Women

Planned Parenthood abortion business president Cecile Richards it’s not happy that the House of Representatives voted yesterday to defund Planned Parenthood. The main response of the CEO of the nation’s biggest abortion conglomerate can be summed up in three words:…Continue Reading

Despite pro-life provisions, healthcare bill raises serious concerns

Vatican City, May 4, 2017 / 05:27 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The House passed a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and a replacement health care bill on Thursday, but one bishop warned that the new bill poses serious problems for…Continue Reading

Nine Catholic Colleges to Honor Opponents of Catholic Teaching at Commencement Ceremonies

This spring’s commencement honorees at nine Catholic colleges include pro-abortion politicians, a dissenting priest, and advocates for same-sex marriage, according to The Cardinal Newman Society’s annual review of commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients at more than 200 Catholic colleges…Continue Reading

Matt Walsh: Dear Christians, there’s nothing ‘compassionate’ about helping people get to Hell

I received this email yesterday. The subject line, as you could guess, was “Compassion”: Matt, you call yourself a Christian but you have no compassion. The Jesus I believe in just wants people to be compassionate towards each other. We…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

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Trump budget completely defunds abortion providers, and Planned Parenthood is furious

May 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-abortion feminists are bemoaning and pro-lifers are celebrating President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal that would withhold all federal funds from abortion-provider Planned Parenthood. Breitbart reported yesterday that Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney told the media on Monday that the new budget would defund the abortion business, but only if the new Republican healthcare legislation passed recently by the House is also passed by the Senate and…Continue Reading

Catholic Church Sues St. Louis to Stop It From Becoming a “Sanctuary City” for Abortion

Several Missouri Catholic groups filed a lawsuit Monday challenging a St. Louis ordinance that could force them to hire abortion activists and rent to pro-abortion groups. The Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis, the pro-life maternity home Our Lady’s Inn and a local Catholic businessman said the city ordinance violates their constitutional freedoms. In their lawsuit, they ask the court to block the city from enforcing the measure. In February, the St. Louis Board of Alderman…Continue Reading

Canon lawyer tells diocese to follow guidelines allowing Communion for remarried

May 19, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A canon lawyer told priests at a workshop run by a U.S. diocese that Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia has allowed them to break with the Church’s tradition practice of refusing Communion to “remarried” Catholics. Since the diocesan bishop has not issued his own guidelines on the Pope’s exhortation, the canonist said, the priests can follow the controversial interpretations from the bishops of Malta and Buenos Aires. The workshop was recorded…Continue Reading

Pope Francis announces new June 28 consistory

Vatican City, May 21, 2017 / 04:56 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his Regina Coeli address Sunday, Pope Francis announced to pilgrims that he will be holding a June 28 consistory to create 5 new cardinals he said represent the “catholicity” of the Church. “Brothers and sisters, I wish to announce to you that Wednesday, June 28, I will hold a consistory for the nomination of 5 new cardinals,” the Pope said May 21, adding that…Continue Reading

CDL. BURKE: RUSSIA MUST BE CONSECRATED TO IMMACULATE HEART

ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) – Cardinal Raymond Burke is publicly calling for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. His comments came in front of an audience at the fourth annual Rome Life Forum, which included co-author of the dubia Cdl. Carlo Caffarra, as well as Bp. Athanasius Schneider and more than 100 pro-life leaders from around the world. In his address, “The Secret of Fatima and a New Evangelization,” Cdl. Burke spoke of a connection between the Third Secret…Continue Reading

Kentucky Printer Can Refuse LGBT Message

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling on May 14 affirmed a printer who objected to promoting a message for Lexington’s Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) which conflicted with his sincerely held religious beliefs. Hands On Originals’ managing owner, Blaine Adamson, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, refused to print T-shirts for the…Continue Reading

No Help For Minor Children… Gender Confusion Prevails In The Courts

By DEACON MIKE MANNO (Editor’s Note: Deacon Mike Manno, an attorney, is director of deacons for the Diocese of Des Moines and host of Iowa Catholic Radio’s Faith On Trial program [www.iowacatholicradio.com]. He can be reached at deaconmike@iowacatholicradio.com.) + + + This month the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a Ninth…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… Conservatism, Economics, Social Welfare, And Catholic Social Teaching

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly, sometimes bimonthly. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . Pragmatism Revisited

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Putnam, Hilary, and Ruth Anna Putnam. Pragmatism as a Way of Life: The Lasting Legacy of William James and John Dewey. Edited by David Macarthur. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017. xi + 475 pp. Cloth, $49.95. This book consists of twenty-seven essays, thirteen by Ruth Anna Putnam, eleven by Hilary Putman,…Continue Reading

Can The U.S. Fix Afghanistan?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate distributed this column.) + + + Three days after the 9/11 attacks both houses of Congress voted correctly — and without objectors — to authorize the president to use force against those who perpetrated the attacks and…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… 25th Ordination Jubilee Solemn High Mass And Celebration

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK (Editor’s Note: The staff of The Wanderer congratulates Fr. Cusick on his upcoming 25th anniversary of Ordination.) + + + Thank you for reading my column so faithfully over the years and for all that you have done to support the apostolate of The Wanderer. As we mark the 25th anniversary of my June 6,…Continue Reading

Our Savior And Redeemer… More On The Gabirah, The Queen Mother

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 8 St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, in his celebrated book True Devotion to Mary, explains that our Lady is not only the Mother of Christ, the Mother of God Incarnate, but she is also the spiritual Mother of All Christians, of all those who are baptized into the Church founded by her Son. He…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Of Healing

By DON FIER When we began our examination of the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on the seven sacraments several months ago, it was noted that they are often grouped into various categories: sacraments of the living and of the dead; sacraments of initiation, healing, and vocation or service; sacraments that can be received only once…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I find the following passages in the Gospels puzzling. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and they asked Him if He was Jesus the Nazorean, He replied, “I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” John says that “this was to fulfill what he…Continue Reading

Do Not Be Ashamed!

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER The Seventh Sunday Of Easter (YR A) Readings: Acts 1:12-14 1 Peter 4:13-16 John 17:1-11a At the end of the second reading today St. Peter says that anyone who is made to suffer for being a Christian should not be ashamed, but should glorify God because of the Name of Christian. Before there is any possibility…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Peter Sanz And Companions

By CAROLE BRESLIN In 1748, the Viceroy of Peking with great frustration asked, “What are we to do with these men? Their lives are certainly irreproachable. . . . Their jailers and their families become their disciples and embrace their religion. To prolong this state is only to give them the opportunity of increasing the number of Christians.” Thus Peter…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Celestine V

By CAROLE BRESLIN After the death of Pope St. John Paul II, faithful Catholics rejoiced at the election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as the next Vicar of Christ. The German prelate took the name of Benedict XVI for two reasons: in memory of Pope Benedict XV who led the Church during the turbulent times of World War I, seeking peace…Continue Reading