I wasn’t quite sure what I was walking into, so to speak, when I tapped on the worship video for Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, at St. Francis Catholic Church in Ellsworth.
It took me a minute to realize this particular combination of voices speaking unfalteringly in unison with background music that sounded almost symphonic was a recording being played at the start of the live mass on Saturday evening. We saw various decorative features throughput the sanctuary, including an iconic depiction of the saint with a bird on his wrist, a statue of Mary with lovely blue drapes to the fabric of her cloak and the substantial nativity set (with sheep probably bigger than a breadbox).
Some words of the Rosary’s mysteries of faith included: annunciation, visitation and presentation.
During the lesson with Father Jerzy we learned more about invitation and hearing God’s voice when we’re called by name, like with Samuel. Live music added images of kind smiling eyes.
The message was about morality — basically putting others first — not prudishness, rather being “self giving” instead of self-absorbed.
We were told, “What happens in Corinth, stays in Corinth.” But one “can’t just sit at the piano of life and say every note is right because you struck it.”
“It takes a lot of courage and determination to be Catholic,” we were told, which probably starts with the school children. When I first heard “boys and girls” on a prior worship video it took me a moment to realize the priest was being literal, not making a generalized reference to all of us being children of God. I thought maybe the “please” before “hear our prayer” was a special touch to remind the children to have good manners, but it was incorporated with the adults, as well.
When the children were congregated, they were told to ask their parents about their baptism, how they behaved, what the parents promised. During mass that day, I saw no shenanigans. Maybe the kneelers got set down a little louder than necessary, but that’s all I noticed. The children were told to “encourage yourself daily.” I couldn’t help but wonder about how a young Joseph Biden behaved at his catholic school, imagining him flashing a smile at someone, and perhaps feeling he, too, had been called by name and spiritually replied as the music notes, “Here I am, Lord.”