Tuesday 24th May 2016

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

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

‘Biblically wrong’: Oklahoma lawmakers urge Obama’s impeachment over transgender bathrooms

Lawmakers in Oklahoma have introduced legislation calling for President Barack Obama to be impeached because of his administration’s support for transgender bathrooms. Another bill calls for a declaration of emergency in the state. In a measure called Senate Concurrent Resolution…Continue Reading

Oklahoma legislature passes bill making it a felony to perform abortions

Lawmakers in Oklahoma approved a bill Thursday that would make performing abortions a felony and revoke the medical licenses of most physicians who assist in such procedures. This sweeping measure, which opponents described as unconstitutional and unprecedented, now heads to…Continue Reading

Unanimous Win for Little Sisters of the Poor at Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the government cannot fine the Little Sisters of the Poor.  The Supreme Court vacated the lower court rulings against the Little Sisters, accepting the government’s admission that it could meet…Continue Reading

Conservatives outraged over Obama transgender directive to public schools

The Obama administration’s directive Friday that every public school provide transgender access — or face the loss of federal funds — drew swift and strong condemnation from conservatives, with one public official blasting it as presidential “blackmail.” The administration’s directive…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Leaders Decry Scandals, Urge Catholic Colleges to Reject Culture of Death

Concerned by recent high-profile events at Catholic colleges featuring pro-abortion leaders — including Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, Bill Clinton, Wendy Davis and Vice President Joe Biden — 31 Catholic and pro-life leaders joined a statement urging Catholic colleges to “stand firm…Continue Reading

ACLU launches campaign to strip Catholic hospitals of federal funds

NEW YORK, May 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic hospitals across the U.S. are “withholding emergency care” and denying “essential health services,” the ACLU is alleging in a new campaign. They also inflict harm on “transgender and gender-non-conforming patients” “when seeking…Continue Reading

Harvard Law Professor Says Pro-Life Christians Should be Treated Like Nazis

Every day, it seems, the United States is becoming a more hostile environment for people with pro-life and conservative positions. Abortion activists constantly challenge pro-life laws, stall abortion industry investigations, force religious objectors to pay for abortions and attack life-affirming…Continue Reading

Obama plans new push for transgender rights in schools

The divisive and politically combustible issue of bathroom access for transgender individuals is about to become further inflamed, as the Obama administration is expected in coming weeks to aggressively reinforce its position that transgender student rights are fully protected under…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Notre Dame is Wrong

Notre Dame’s Great Scandal: Honoring Vice President Biden By Thomas McKenna, President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family: The University of Notre Dame has announced that they intend to confer the Laetare Medal, an honor given to Catholics “in…Continue Reading

DoJ to North Carolina: You Have Until Monday to Reverse Bathroom Bill

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory received a letter from the Department of Justice that gives him until Monday to reverse his state’s controversial bathroom bill, reports The Hill. The DoJ said the law is in violation of the federal Civil…Continue Reading

Lavender Graduations Harmful to Students at Catholic Colleges

At least eight Catholic colleges across the country are hosting “lavender graduations” this spring — many of them as part of an annual campus tradition — to celebrate and honor students with same-sex attraction (SSA) or who identify as lesbian,…Continue Reading

Serving LGBT Students in Catholic Schools

April 28, 2016, at 9:03 AM  |  By Dan Guernsey  |  Opinion How do Catholic schools best serve students who struggle with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria (popularly called “transgendered”)? What should a school’s policies prescribe in order to prevent…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  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 145 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 . . .

Commentary

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .      

Today . . .

Pope Francis: Christians live God’s love with joy, astonishment

(Vatican Radio) No Christian can exist without joy: that’s what Pope Francis said in his Homily at Mass Monday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta guesthouse. The Pope stressed that even through life’s difficulties, the Christian knows he can trust in Jesus and find hope. The Pope also reminded the faithful they should not allow riches to dominate their lives because they ultimately lead to sadness. Christians live in joy and amazement because…Continue Reading

Pope Angelus: The Holy Trinity, where there is love there is God

(Vatican Radio) “The feast of the Holy Trinity invites us to engage in the daily events to be the leaven of communion, of consolation and of mercy.” Those were Pope Francis’ words during his Angelus address on a sunny Trinity Sunday from his studio above St Peter’s Square. Drawing inspiration from the Gospel of St. John, the Pope said that Jesus knew how to be close to the realization of the Father’s plan, which will…Continue Reading

Pope emeritus: Third Secret of Fatima was released in full

popeben

(Vatican Radio) Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said he never told anyone the publication of the “Third Secret of Fatima” in the year 2000 was incomplete, and confirmed the document was published in its totality. A Communiqué was published Saturday by the Holy See Press Office on various articles regarding the “Third Secret of Fatima.” “ Several articles have appeared recently, including declarations attributed to Professor Ingo Dollinger according to which Cardinal Ratzinger, after the…Continue Reading

Pope: Understanding for sinners, no negotiating the truth

(Vatican Radio) Announcing the word of God should never be dissociated from the understanding of human weakness. That was Pope Francis’ message during the daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. Commenting on the Gospel passage in which Christ speaks with the Pharisees about adultery, he said the Lord overcomes the human vision which would reduce the vision of God to a casuistic equation. The Gospel, the Pope said, is full of examples of the…Continue Reading

Pope: the rich who exploit the poor are bloodsuckers

(Vatican Radio) Exploiting the working people to enrich oneself is like sucking blood; it’s a mortal sin. That was the message of Pope Francis during the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. The rich who suck the blood of the poor The day’s first reading, taken from the Letter of Saint James, is a forceful warning to the rich who accumulate wealth by exploiting the people. “Riches in themselves are good,” the Pope explained,…Continue Reading

Eastern Orthodoxy And The Particular Judgment

By JAMES LIKOUDIS In previous articles (The Wanderer, July 3, 2014; June 25, 2015), it was observed that: “Perhaps to the surprise of some Catholic ecumenists, Catholic doctrine regarding the Particular Judgment remains obscure, confused, or even denied among the Eastern Orthodox. They have no clear official teaching that the just go to Heaven immediately…Continue Reading

Obama To Visit The Land Of State-Owned Enterprises

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate provided this column. All rights reserved.) + + + President Barack Obama will visit Vietnam, which his own State Department last month certified is still controlled — four decades after the fall of Saigon — by the Communist Party.…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Why Should Pro-Lifers Be Concerned About Dissent?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of the book Call to Action or Call to Apostasy, consisting of a detailed description of the current forms of dissent and how to fight them, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) +…Continue Reading

Sharpening The Mind With Words

By DONALD DeMARCO My biology teacher of many moons ago took perverse delight in terrorizing his students while they were taking an exam. “Plagiarism,” he would bellow, “is arousing the suspicion of the proctor.” He enjoyed the sound of his own voice and repeated this warning many times. He intended it to be more intimidating…Continue Reading

Jesuit Higher Education

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK Jesuit universities have been the topic of criticism several times in this column over the years. We don’t apologize for that. Odds are that when you hear about a performance of The Vagina Monologues, an honorary degree being awarded to a pro-abortion politician, or campus activities led by LGBTQ groups, it…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Spiritual Exercises

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The way the human body physically works can teach us something about virtue and the way God’s grace works spiritually for each of us: We must use it to grow it. As I reminded our Life Teens and their families at Mass recently, if they slack off on physical exercise during the summer, come fall…Continue Reading

The Marvel Of The Catholic Church . . . One, Holy, Catholic, And Apostolic

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 1 After investigating the Inquisition, now we take a good look at the greatest marvel on this side of eternity: the Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. To rule a country is not an easy job. That is why no head of state these days can…Continue Reading

The Seven Sacraments — Categories And Effects

By DON FIER Each of the seven sacraments, according to the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church, was personally instituted by Christ during His visible stay on Earth. As we saw last week, the details of institution for some — even the precise words for administration — are taken directly from Scripture. However, as Christoph Cardinal Schönborn states in Living…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. What is the official standing of Fr. Nicholas Gruner, who believed that the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary had not been done properly? He was known as “the Fatima priest,” but I always thought that title belonged to Fr. Robert Fox. — M.S., Kentucky. A. Fr. Gruner died at the age of 72 on April…Continue Reading

Brought Together In The One Sacrifice

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER The Solemnity Of Corpus Christi (YR C) Readings: Gen. 14:18-20 1 Cor. 11:23-26 Luke 9:11b-17 In the first reading today we hear about Melchizedek who is the Priest of God Most High and the King of Salem. The town of Salem became known as Jerusalem after Abraham brought Isaac to that place in obedience to the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Augustine Of Canterbury

By CAROLE BRESLIN A Celtic cross erected in 1884 marks the spot in Ebbsfleet, Thanet, East Kent, where St. Augustine of Canterbury is said to have landed in 597. While some form of Christianity in England may be traced back to the times of the Roman occupation, it did not become a strong presence until the arrival of St. Augustine,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Crispin Of Viterbo

By CAROLE BRESLIN In March 1986, Pope John Paul II visited the Basilica of Our Lady of the Vine (Oak) located in Tuscany, Italy, to proclaim our Lady patroness of the Diocese of Viterbo. The tradition of visiting the image of Our Lady of the Oak began 600 years ago in 1417 when Mastro Baptist Magnano Iuzzante commissioned an image…Continue Reading

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading