Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July Weekend

I've been on the other side of ordination for over three weeks now.  After a few weeks of off time (spending time at the beach with friends, moving in to the rectory, and travelling to St. Bernard Abbey and EWTN), I've officially started my assignment as parochial vicar of St. Pius X in Mobile.

The weekend was a blessed one.  I preached all three Masses, and was the principal celebrant at two of them.  The parish threw a reception for me after each one, and it was a great opportunity to begin getting to know all of these new faces.

Next came July 4th, which is also my birthday.  I celebrated Mass in the morning (saying Mass on your birthday is pretty cool), and I was glad that daily Mass was in the church and not in the chapel, because there is no better place to celebrate Mass on July 4th in the city of Mobile than St. Pius X. 

The main stained glass window at St. Pius X, Mobile; there
are more to the left and right that depict similar motifs.
The great stained glass windows above the main doors depict, simultaneously, God's providential care of the United States of America and a certain parallelism between Judeo-Christian stories/themes and the history of the US.  It has everything from the Constitution (or maybe the Declaration of Independence?) to the Spirit of St. Louis and even a lunar module.  Watching over everything is the resurrected Christ showing his wounds.

Detail showing the Visitation and spacewalk.

It's certainly a unique depiction, and it provided the idea for my Fourth of July homily: as we celebrate our Independence from the British Crown, we should all take time to remember and rejoice in our dependence on God.

One particularly intriguing parallel is made between our Lord in the womb of the Virgin Mary at the Visitation (or maybe it's John the Baptist in Elizabeth's womb?) and a man on a spacewalk, complete with umbilical cord.  I think this is the first time I've ever seen inculturation of the Faith into the American ethos.  The church was built in the late Sixties, when the space race was captivating the hopes and imagination of the American people.

I'm looking forward to learning more about the artwork from the parishioners and from the founding pastor, Msgr. Jennings.