Okay, so, technically it's a chapel of ease. There are no Masses during the week but that's okay, I can always go to a closer parish for that. On Sundays there are only two Masses that are celebrated, both in the morning.
There are two priests: one (in his 70s-80s) who celebrates the first Mass and another (in his late 30s-early 40s) who celebrates the second Mass. I have never heard two other priests give homilies like they do. It's relevant and they aren't afraid to talk about topics that other priests wouldn't dare mention. They are honest yet approachable and charismatic.
This chapel has been in existence since the late 1700s. The altar has remainded unchanged for goodness knows how long. It is absolutely beautiful. It is very small but it feels more open than most other parishes I've attended.
The average age of those who attend is about 60. There are very few of us who are under 30. The children that attend with the parents are well behaved and when a meltdown begins, the parent quietly steps out with the child. More women wear mantillas than I could ever imagine in a single church. Most of the mantillas wearers are in their late teens to late 20s. No one is ever dressed inappropriately (read: miniskirts or other things that expose too much flesh). Have I mentioned that the altar boys are actually altar boys? They range from elementary school age to late teens/early 20s.
Everyone is genuinely attentive and active during the Mass. Never have I attended a parish in which everyone sings... loudly and joyfully. Even if it's off key, no one notices because we're all too focus on being there for God. When the organist starts playing and the beautiful music envelops the church, there is a sensation of happiness and openness that my heart begins to feel. Some people still mess up the "with your spirit" parts but we all smile and continue on. When the priest delivers the homily you can hear a pin drop. When you walk in or walk out, you get a smile and a handshake from one of the ushers.
There is no clapping (see the post picture) or anything that takes away from the Mass. Everything is done with reverence. Never, in the past month and a half that I've attended, have I ever felt that I am not there for God. It's not about us (which is how I've felt at most parishes; it's more about the people than God); it's about Him. It is about hearing the Word and taking it into our hearts. There are little to no distractions during the Mass and it makes it that much better.
Here is the thing that I best love about my new church: despite it being for the cremé de la cremé of those living in my part of Los Angeles, you don't feel it. There is no pretentiousness. Yes, they dress nicely and drive nice cars, but if you're not materially rich, you don't feel ostracized. I had no idea that some of the (economically) wealthiest people in L.A. attended Mass at this church until one of my Godmothers brought it up. Total shocker when I first heard it. Unlike some parishes where you feel like you get criticized for the smallest things or even given dirty looks if they deemed you unworthy (seriously, I've felt this on more than one occasion), all you feel is a sense that they've embraced you into their little tight-knit community. And, again, it's not about you or them... it's about getting together and focusing on God. He is the reason why we get together every Sunday morning.
Anyway, I just wanted to share these random thoughts that I've been having the past couple of Sundays. I've never felt so comfortable, at home, and at peace during a Mass as I have at this church. Thank God that mom and I not only agreed on a parish we both liked, but that we also look forward to every Sunday morning. :)
btw, yes and no, this was and was not a filler post. I would've posted it yesterday but I got preoccupied with something else. :) The CINO post is still a work in progress as I'm trying to be as diplomatic and uncritical as possible. It's hard but it can be done. :D
I hope you all had a great weekend and are having a great beginning of week. :D
As always, thanks for reading and God Bless! :D