Celebrating the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

Monday, May 21, was the inaugural celebration of the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. Pope Francis had declared that this new feast day was to be celebrated by the Universal Church on the Monday immediately following Pentecost Sunday. In a way, it’s the Catholic Church’s very own Mother’s Day.

The Archdiocese of Detroit celebrated the feast day by holding a special Mass at Old St. Mary’s in downtown Detroit. I had never been inside Old St. Mary’s. In a word: celestial. It’s a couple days past the feast day, but I wanted to share some pictures I took, as well as my thoughts about the Mass itself and the church.

Old St Mary Detroit Catholic Church

Choir Loft

Old St Mary Detroit Catholic Church

Side Altar; Mary, crowned with flowers

Old St Mary Detroit Catholic Church

Rose Window

Old St Mary Detroit Catholic Church

High Altar

Old St Mary Detroit Catholic Church

Ceiling Above Sanctuary

Old St Mary Catholic Church

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, one of several grottoes

These photos barely do justice to the church’s magnificent beauty.

Construction of Old St Mary was completed in 1884. Its restoration and preservation is beyond description – to me, this is what a Catholic Church ought to look like. The soaring ceilings, the ornate stonework, the exquisite stained glass, the prominence of the tabernacle, artwork in every nook and cranny, recognizable confessionals that don’t resemble broom closets, finely carved statues of Christ, Mary, and numerous saints…it is heaven on Earth.

The Mass was reverent as every Mass ought to be. No goofiness or silliness. Clouds of incense, the tolling of Sanctus bells, majestic organ music, use of the communion rail – those things and more, reminding us the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is so much more than a meal, or community hospitality function. It is at once our earthly worship of God, united with the eternal worship of God in heaven, and a re-presentation of Christ’s death on the cross. Nothing about that Mass nor the church’s architecture or design brought the focus back to me – everything was directed towards God, through Jesus. As every Mass and church ought to do, but sadly so many don’t.

After the Mass, a Marian procession was held (indoors due to inclement weather – otherwise it would have processed through the Greektown distict), followed by adoration and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. A fitting end to the celebration – Mary always points us to her Son.

If Old St Mary’s wasn’t so far from my home, it’d be my home parish. At the very least, I can attend the daily 12:15 PM Mass once or twice a week. This church – like so many others built at that time, and fortunate to still be in use – represents the tiniest of fractions of Heaven’s beauty, directing our thoughts, aspirations, and desires of being forever united with God. I can’t wait to go back.

(All photos property of Larry Denninger and A Catholic Misfit. Please ask if you’d like to share.)

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Posted in Catholic, Feast Days, Mary | 1 Comment

A Catholic Misfit’s Handy Dandy Guide to Priestly Homily Styles

We’ve all been there: you attend Mass at a new church, or a visiting priest is presiding, and when it comes time for the homily, you start to wonder. What kind of homily does this priest give?  Or maybe the deacon will deliver the sermon. What’s he going to do? How’s he going to preach?

Well, worry no longer. A Catholic Misfit has produced the Handy Dandy Guide to Priestly Homily Styles to help you navigate through such an experience. We’ve highlighted six major styles, complete with signs to look out for, and tips on how to respond and react.

There are no right or wrong styles, mind you. Personal preference on the part of the preacher is not an indication of the homily’s quality (or lack thereof). Our own inclinations say more about us than any particular style, too. This is simply a reference guide to assist you, and provide peace of mind when confronted with an unfamiliar situation. And have a little fun, too.


  • The Wanderer

Indicator: Immediately upon kissing the Lectionary, the priest descends from the pulpit or ambo and delivers the homily outside the sanctuary. He may stroll up and down the main aisle, or move from one side of the Church to the other.
Response: Try to maintain visual contact without undue exertion; do NOT crane your neck around if he walks past you! If you can’t see the priest while he wanders, just gaze longingly at the ambo, or the cute baby in the pew in front of you. If there are no cute babies in the pew in front of you, you’re on your own.

  • The Quizzer

Indicator: This style includes asking the congregation questions, with the expectation that someone will either raise their hand or shout out the answer. Sometimes The Quizzer will ask someone directly – typically a young child – with the hope he will respond with humorous effect. This is often combined with The Wanderer, so be prepared!
Response: Never EVER make eye contact with The Quizzer! You don’t want to be called upon. Keep your gaze down, looking at your hands in your lap. Forcibly restrain your children from raising their hands if you must. Offer up prayers for souls in Purgatory.

  • The Rambler

Indicator: In this style, the preaching branches off with multiple tangents without ever really making a point, or rarely coming to a tangible conclusion. Repeating the same point multiple times is another sign. Just when you think the homily is about to end, the priest stumbles upon another thread, and goes on for several more moments.
Response: Once the rambling and repetition starts, you have little recourse other than to suffer through it. Fondly recall the times your five year old child told you how their school day went, and how you learned absolutely nothing. Similarly, accept the fact you won’t learn anything from the homily.

  • The Comedian

Indicator: Begins the homily with a joke or anecdote, followed up by a couple more cute quips, and once the laughter dies down, attempts to tie in the readings and Gospel. And throws in a few more one-liners for good measure.
Response: Laugh if you want, but more than likely, you’ll remember the homily more for the mirth than for the message. There’s nothing inherently wrong with using humor, but you may be tempted to heckle. Don’t though. That’s all sorts of wrong.

  • The Yeller

Indicator: You’ll know as soon as the priest proclaims the Gospel. So self-evident, it barely needs explaining. There are varying degrees of The Yeller: there’s The Spitter (that ain’t Holy Water, for those of you in the front row. Grab a towel!); The Pounder (what did the ambo do to deserve such treatment?); The EM-Pha-SIZ-er (hittin’ those syllables with clockwork precision). And if the microphone is still on? Ouch.
Response: Yeah, there’s no escaping this one, even if you shepherd your children into the cry room, teenagers or not. Or the gathering space. There really isn’t a discreet way to slip in a pair of ear plugs, and earbuds are just poor taste. You just have to endure. And not sit in the front row next time.

  • The Reciter

Indicator: When the folded papers come out of the back of his missal, or from beneath the Lectionary. This style isn’t so bad – unless it’s a sheaf of pages containing single-spaced typed text. Then you’re in for a looooong one. This style has two versions: The Originalist (his own homily); The Historian (a homily from a 19th century priest or saint).
Response: These are easy to pay attention to, because there’s minimal distraction. The Reciter tends to be a reformed Rambler, so that’s good. Delivery is the key thing; if it’s too rote and dry, you may soon be nodding off, and risk doing that funny head-bob thing. Or drool. Or snore. Any of those would be bad. The only way it’d be worse is if the priest is also The Quizzer.

There you go! Your Handy Dandy Guide to Priestly Homily Styles. It’s possible we’ve overlooked other common styles – heck, it’s not like we did this scientifically or anything. If you know of other styles, leave ’em in the combox.

Photo credit: Spencer Means on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

Posted in Catholic, Humor | Leave a comment

Pope Francis to Pastors: “Be Merciful and Accompany Those Who Hear Laurel and not Yanny”

[ACMPress] – VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis issued a short message to Catholic priests this morning: Be merciful to those who hear “Laurel”, and accompany them in their journey towards accepting “Yanny” as the truth.

“Around the globe, people are asked if they hear ‘Laurel’ or ‘Yanny’, and all too often those who hear ‘Laurel’ are berated and made to feel bad. Among you this must not be so! No, I say! Be merciful to them, and accompany them to a greater acceptance of their truth.”

He said that those who claim to hear ‘Yanny’ are too rigid, and must be more flexible in living out their truth.

“While it is plainly obvious ‘Yanny’, we must not chide those who believe they hear ‘Laurel’. The Holy Spirit works in surprising ways, and we must never stifle His mystical working among all peoples.”

He concluded his short message with this familiar phrase: ” If someone says they hear ‘Laurel’ and is searching for the Lord in good faith and has good will, then who am I to judge?”

Photo credit: Aleteia Image Partners on VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

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Posted in All The News That's Misfit To Print, Catholic, Humor, News That Could Be True, Parody, Pope Francis | 3 Comments

Jesus on Calvary – The Hill Worth Dying On

Whenever I hear the expression “That’s not a hill worth dying on”, I sometimes think, y’know what? Jesus already did that.

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Posted in Catholic, Meme | Leave a comment