St. Mary’s

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Last Saturday we attended evening Mass at St. Mary’s because Albert Garcia, Brother Knight and longtime parishioner whom we recently met, enthusiastically invited us to see the changes in the church since its remodeling.

Shared thoughts

Although I’d talked to Steven about St. Mary’s over the years— prayer meetings; Sister Margaret; our beloved Monsignor, “Father Gus;” Masses; teaching CCE; Segy’s first communion; and so much more— he really had no idea what the church looked like or even where it was located in Brownsville.

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St. Mary’s

I hadn’t been to St. Mary’s since Fall 2005, so I had no idea what to expect when Steven opened the door for us to enter.

What a transformation!

The once dark-carpeted vestibule, now spacious and brightly lit, is impeccably tiled; and a beautiful glass-and-wood wall divides the entryway from the pewed section.

“La casa de Dios y la puerta del cielo”

Within moments parishioners and visitors alike can walk in, brush off the outside world, acclimate to the silence, and proceed to the heart of the church.

               

               

       

               

       

               

               

Prayers

Daily prayer of Our Lady…  I prostrate myself in your presence, O God Most High, and I give you thanks and praise for your immutable being, for your infinite perfections, and for having created me out of nothing.

I acknowledge myself as your creature and as the work of your hands.  I bless you, and I adore you.  I give you honor, magnificence, and divinity as the supreme Lord and creator of myself and of all that exists.

I raise up my spirit to place it into your hands.  I offer myself with profound humility and resignation to you,StMC62312- 76 and I ask you to dispose of me according to your holy will during this day and during all the days of my life.  I ask you to teach me to fulfill whatever would be to your greater pleasure.

I consult you.  I ask your advice.  I ask your permission.  I ask your blessing on everything that I do today.  I ask your permission to use my body as your temple, my mind as the mind of Christ, my soul as the souls of Jesus and Mary.  [I ask your permission to use] my memory to remember only you; my will to use it in conformity to your will; and my understanding to understand you, your wisdom, and my brothers and sisters.  Amen.

Morning consecration to Mary…  My Queen, My Mother, I offer myself entirely to you; and to show my devotion to you, I offer you this day my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve.

Wherefore, good Mother, as I am your own, keep me, and guard me as your property and possession.  Amen.

StMC62312a        StMC62312b

September 5, 2015

“Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless” (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta).

September 7, 2015

“Only after the Last Judgment will Mary get any rest; from now until then, she is much too busy with her children” (St. John Vianney).

November 21, 2015

From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s will in all things.  From Mary we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone.  From Mary we learn to love Christ her Son and the Son of God.  For Mary is not only the Mother of God, she is Mother of the Church as well (St. John Paul II).

February 6, 2016

“When we feel our cross weighing upon us, let us have recourse to Mary, whom the Church calls the consoler of the afflicted” (St. Alphonsus).

January 1, 2017

“Mary’s task as Mother of God and mother of humans has always been to lead her human children to her divine Son” (Catherine de Hueck Doherty).

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Pdf files…  MMM novena from CAMM / Stations: 1-7 & 8-14 / audio / for families

Links of interest…  Mary: beloved of the Trinity / celebrating May / corner / devotion / gate of heaven / litany / meditations / mother (of the church) / page prayers (miracles – more – novena – queen of angels) / untier of knots…  St. Mary, Mother of the Church: diocesan pagefacebook / Mass times / website…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Angels all around…  Angels keeping watch…  Christ’s sacred heart…  Faces of Mary…  Faith and prayer…  Familiar yet new…  Father now retired…  Father’s guided tour…  Guadalupe Church…  Heart of hearts…  Lady of sorrows…  Lourdes novenas…  Marian devotions…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  May flowers…  Memory lane…  My Franciscan Crown…  Our Lady…  Our Lady’s church…  Promise of hope…  A real church…  Repeated prayers…  San Juan Diego

4 Responses

  1. After humbly greeting God in his house, I settled back in the pew and let my eyes take in this edifice. I was slightly taken aback when I noticed that there was no crucifix or cross of any kind behind, above, or on the altar. This is the first and only Catholic Church I have visited that did not have one. I noticed that the stained-glass window behind the altar has a vertical red inlay (signifying the descent of the Holy Spirit or the Ascension of Jesus or the Assumption of the Virgin, perhaps) and a horizontal frame member that made a cross. Aha! But then I saw another lower frame crosspiece, so that was not it. And then I saw that every one of the stained-glass windows had a similiar vertical red inlay, so the artist was consistent and probably not making the main window symbolize the cross.

    Deli says this is because the church is dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Church. Hmmm, maybe so, but it just seems odd that there is no central figure at all. To the right of the altar is the statue of Mary holding the Christ Child, and to the left is one of Christ Ascendant. Furthermore, the Catholic Church, like all of Christendom, is centered on Jesus, embracing the cross as the symbology of our faith; and that’s why it is always displayed center stage.

    Of course, the focus of the worshipper then falls on the celebrant during Mass and on the tabernacle containing the Eucharist when the celebrant is absent; so there is some vision-based logic to accompany the dedication to Mary.

    But at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, also dedicated to Mary in the version that appeared to Juan Diego, there is a small cross above the tabernacle below the much larger and dominant reproduction of Nuestra Señora. (Refer to posts on OLG in this blog.)

    Interesting emphasis.

    • Interesting observation.

      This reminds me of the story Margo shared at Sacred Heart in Nacogdoches. The bishop was so thoroughly upset to see the cross over the exit/entrance of the church, opposite the Risen Christ behind the altar, that the situation was quickly reversed.

      Come to think of it, some Brownsville churches don’t have a Crucified Christ behind the altar. St. Luke’s altar has its Jesus statue prominently emanating from a faded cross (painted on the wall), while Immaculate Conception, Christ the King, and Sacred Heart have the Crucified Christ not behind, but near, the altar.

      I’ll certainly be looking at the altar with a different perspective from now on!

  2. I have visited Catholic churches in Sorrento and Rome, but they are very different. Many times we have visited Orthodox churches in Greece and again there are differences. In Orthodox churches there are no pews. Think about it.

    What a stroke for me that the pews were padded. In Finland they are wooden.

    • Yes, yes. (I’m chuckling here.) Imagine a church without pews.

      The possibilities are endless when I think of how many more can be accommodated in that space; the movement that can occur; and the freedom, most of all, of not having to sit. I would imagine attendees being much more proactively engaged!

      As for the padded pews… Believe it or not, we do have churches without those pads. And, oy vey. Together with the very straight backs, such pews keep one’s attention span on high alert, especially if one has back problems.

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