Saturday, April 12, 2008

Guardian Angels

I love visiting different churches, especially when there are in different areas of the country. My husband and I took a few days for rest and relaxation this weekend and ended up in a rather interesting cathedral.
This liturgical masterpiece is the Guardian Angel Cathedral in Las Vegas. The exterior and interior looks a lot like a teepee. I guess that it appropriate since it is Nevada. It took me a long time to get used to it, but the structure wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
The art; however, was worse. Above the altar there is a very modern painting of a flying Jesus surrounded by very odd looking angels. I spent a long time before the Mass wondering if the angels were also crucified or what was going on in the image.
Then I noticed that the altar candles and Paschal candle were fakes. They are shells which hold canisters of oil. The Paschal candle was much too shiny and ummm, glowing for my tastes. In a city filled with sequins and neon lights, I guess it could be considered understated, but this a church, not a casino.

It isn't a casino, right? Please assure me of that. When I arrived at the Cathedral, I wanted nothing more than to get away from the lights, bells, and casinos. I thought for sure that church would be one place where I could do that. Nope! I look to the right of the sanctuary and see
something, or a lot of something covered with a white sheet. I don't know what it is. My husband thinks they are chairs. I suspect it's a drum set. Take your best guess. Once I got over the sheet covered items in the sanctuary I grew thankful that they were there. They hid a stained glass window featuring the Las Vegas Casinos. I know it's supposed to be the guardian angels looking over the city, but I couldn't figure out if the casinos were burning in the fires of hell or if this was some sort of advertising.
Ok, it wasn't all bad. I attended the 2:30 Saturday vigil. Yes, I said 2:30. The church was almost filled to capacity. Unfortunately, there was only one child there. In fact, I was probably the youngest person there. The line for confessions was also impressive. There had to have been at least 25 people in line and confessions had been going on for quite a while when I arrived.
There were three altar servers. All servers were in their late 20's to early 30's. One man and two women. The 4 manual organ was located in the nave. The huge choir loft was filled with worshippers. There were only a few questionable musical selections.
Processional: Alleluia, Sing to Jesus (Hyfrydol)
Psalm: I don't know the setting, but it wasn't bad. Psalm of the day and the proper liturgical text.
Alleluia and Mass Acclamations: Mass of Redemption (Steven Janco)
Collection: Because He Lives
Offertory: Christ Be Beside Me (Bunessan)
Communion: Let Us Break Bread Together On Our Knees
Recessional: All Hail the Power of Jesus Name (Coronation)
The commentator came to the cantor stand and gave us our instructions. He told us how Communion would be distributed, to turn off our cell phones, and that we were to not leave before the celebrant. He then asked everyone to introduce themselves to the people sitting around them.
The number of people who had to turn their phones off surprised me. It was almost half of the congregation.
Two servers held lighted candles on either side of the ambo during the Gospel. The servers were awesome. They were so precise. Whoever trained them did a great job. I was very impressed. The homily was ok.
I am sure everyone is wondering why a collection hymn and an offertory hymn. There were two collections. Then the gifts and the money were brought to the altar and blessed. The baskets of cash were then placed in front of the altar. Eucharistic Prayer II was used.
The ushers controlled the Communion traffic and after Mass, they stood in the aisles in case anyone tried to make a break for the door and leave before the celebrant. No one dared.
Clicking on the photos will open a full sized version.
All Photos by Domini Sumus

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