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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Very Miami Easter

No matter where you are, chances are that if you're a Roman Catholic, like me, you're not far away from a church celebrating the resurrection of Our Lord.

For today is Easter Sunday, and on this special day, Sundries is taking you on a very special travellogue...a trip around 3 of the many Catholic churches in South Florida!

Yeah, a little church is good for you, for me come to that, ya hear?

At least, every once in a while, if only to hear some of the most beautiful voices singing their little hearts out for you, doubtlessly after many heated rehearsals all week, in the name of the Lord.

And it goes a little like this:





Young, old, woman, man, every section of society is represented in this humble church choir.

It also is your first introduction to one of our featured travellogue churches, which debuts this blogpost quite nicely.


STS PETER & PAUL ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH






You've been to the Silver Bluff-Shenandoah neighbourhoods before with me, on Sundries, even if you don't immediately recall. That's where the cutest little house in Miami is located, remember?

And where Robert of 26th Parallel held his wedding, at this very church, the much beloved, Saints Peter & Paul, which also features a school of the same name. In fact, all 3 churches pictured in this travellogue, have schools attached to its parish, one of the imprimaturs of a healthy and successful Catholic community.

You know, I don't know about you, but I've yet to know of a Catholic school that didn't have a yard long waiting list for its school, a fact which has always made me smile.

For the world says that the Roman and Apostolic Catholic Church is in frank disarray, with dwindling membership, and an embittered and suspicious faithful -- which I don't doubt is true for many.

But this opinion is also an exaggerated view, often culled up by secularists who in repeating this, hope to seed doubt in people's minds. Catholic Church is dying! No one is attending Mass! Catholic priests are all paedophiles!

Indeed?

Well, in these three churches, ranging from working-class to elite status are anything to go by, perhaps all what we Catholics really need is a little more faith...in our faith.

By the way, did you see, "Sts Peter & Paul -- Panthers"?

How MANY schools have "Panthers" as their mascot in America?? It must be the single most popular mascot animal in this country!

Why never "Home of the Chihuahuas", hmm, hmm?





Holy Week started with me deciding to be a little more devout than I usually am, so on that note, I told my parents that I would be accompanying them to Mass, whenever they went. They have never forced me to do so, and for that, I've always been grateful.

In my own way, I'm rather religious, but man, am I lazy.

But anyway, mother rejoiced, and dad snickered, but then he would, old agnostic that he used to be.

So off we went to Sts. Peter & Paul, since that's my mum's favourite church.

Look at that neighbourhood. PACKED, totally packed. Not even a spot to swing the proverbial handicapped parking space cat.

We walked from two blocks away, where we had finally found a space, having first left a sign in my car window saying that I was at Church, so irate owners wouldn't have me towed away.

Oh, in two languages, of course! After all, that area is almost completely Cuban-American.

...and 50 years after their exile began, some of them don't even speak ni un pepino de ingles. Ah well.





That's St. Peter to the left, and St. Paul to the right. Or is it the other way around? I forget.

Either way, as you can see from the wide wooden doors, and aged sconces outside, it is a modern church (built in 1939), but still not an ultra-modern mega church, just another barn-like edifice masquerading as a house of worship, which frankly, I've never liked.

I just never have found the presence of God inside those modern, Protestant-looking Catholic churches which seem to abound in the US (sadly), you know?

But Sts Peter & Paul doesn't have that problem. It is very elegant, with all that implies -- understated colours, muted stonemasonry, and yet stately lines.

If I had to describe this church in one word, that word would be SOLID.





I always enter this church by the left-most door, and you know why?

Because the right-hand door leads you immediately to a statue of St. Joseph, holding as is the custom, our baby Lord, Jesus Christ. I like me some St. Joseph, it's not that, but I LOVE ST. THÈRÉSE OF LISIEUX.

And that's where the left-hand door leads you to: to her beautiful statue, in those Carmelite robes, holding that famous spray of roses with which she is so closely associated.

When I was a little girl, my maternal grandmother made me read her famous autobiography, Story of a Soul, and like millions of Catholics after her death, I instantly fell in love with this saint, who preached a Catholicism we could all do -- The Little Way.

Whichever church I go to, she's always my first port-of-call.





Like many churches, Sts. Peter & Paul has two little side rooms, an antechamber of sorts, where you can pray quietly and give a few dollars to help the church meet its expenses.

Right next to St. Thèrése, we have just such a room where a wonderful, unadorned crucifix of Our Lord hangs.

I'm not too keen about this newfangled modern candle thingie, where by a mere push of a little button, it lights up an electric "light" in memory of your loved one, and so forth.

Yeah, the old versions were fire hazards, but if the Vatican doesn't mind being engulfed in a conflagration to preserve the custom, with its holdings which are beyond price, why should a more modest church not do so, too?

Bring back the real candles!!





Every Catholic country has its particular Saint this, or Our Holy Virgin Mary of the other, and Cuba is no different.

Next to the prie-dieu above, there is a tiny little space for the Cuban "Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre" (Our Lady of Charity, which a Cuban friend once mistranslated as Our Lady of Sweet Charity with a totally straight face).

The French have Lourdes, the Portuguese have Fatima, the Mexicans have their Guadalupe, and the Brazilians have their Conçeicão, but the Cubans revere the story of this apparition of Our Lady for many reasons.

Three fishermen, one white, one black and one indigenous (the first totally Politically Correct santico crowd in the world, and to think, Barbara Walters had nothing to do with it...), chanced upon a statue of a lady in the waters where they fished. Attached to her was a little wooden plank with the words, "Yo Soy La Virgen de La Caridad" (I am the Virgin of Charity), which is some calling card, boy.

Her legend grew in Cuba, to the point where both Catholics and voodoo priests worship her with equal fervour. Interestingly, she was appointed patroness of Cuba by another Benedict, Pope Benedict XV in 1916.

I've never seen this little statue without some little old Cubana senior citizen praying reverentially under her.

(Ooh, I don't like the look of that panel in the ceiling, all peeling and yucky, which isn't noticeable when you're actually there, though. Never mind fire. What is the church doing about its damp and rot?)





Obviously, a cute little sign in brass asking parishioners not to use calculators inside church.

Sucks for the 6th graders cramming just before an exam.





Jam packed for Holy Week services, this elegant lady had to stand up, and do her devotions on the floor.

Mother turned to me and whispered, "I think that's Catherine Deneuve".

Oh totally, mum, definitely.

Catherine Deneuve flipped the bird to La Madeleine and Notre Dame and chose to attend Mass in an obscure Cuban-American Miami neighbourhood church, Sts Peter & Paul.

Anyway, is she even religious? Belle du Jour, indeed.





My favourite chorister is the lady allll the way to the back-right, who looks like a Cuban Barbara Bush. Que nice.

And what a booming alto! She's the topmost voice you hear singing "La Gloria Del Señor" in the Youtube clip above.

(In case you wondered, many of the Masses we attend are in Spanish, but neither my parents nor I, mind. Dad just pretends it's Latin, and mum sings in a mixture of French and Italian, much to the amusement of the viejitas around her)





A lovely, long view of the actual interior of the church.

You can get a fair idea of what kinds of people attend services, although I do have to say this is most probably 100% Cuban-American (minus stray gringos like myself, or other Hispanics).

Funny thing about it, is that some of the kids actually wore their school uniform, I noticed! It had the logo of the school on their yellow polo shirts, and blue trousers. You couldn't have paid me to put on my school jumper after hours, back in England...

Lastly a word about the "cura", the priest.

He's from Spain, apparently, and has a wonderful voice. Mass and services around the world are made or broken by the voice of its vicars, priests, imams, rabbis, etc.

Get a really boring, monotone chap, and that 1 hour of devotion will inch second by second, until all you do towards the end, is count the moment when you can bolt out the door.

But this guy? He has charisma, and a lot of presence.

Mum says she doesn't understand a word he says, because his Spaniard accent is too thick, but she loves going there at nights, just to listen to his voice.

If only our Church had more like my dear old mother.


EPIPHANY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH






Our next church is located in upscale Pinecrest, the old neighbourhood of ex-Governor Jeb Bush, and in fact, used to be his and his family's local parish.

Yes, Pinecrest is a very wealthy area, with million dollar homes strewn all over Old Cutler Road, but for all that, its citizens are not to the manner born, like in Coral Gables.

Epiphany Church (yes, with school next door) reflects their non-fussy attitude, where Catherine Deneuve would never deign to appear.

It's actually a fairly new, ginormous church, resembling a cathedral in size and import, but still just a church.

It's not exactly to my taste, since it has a hint of that modernist architecture which I told you I greatly dislike, but their services ARE mostly in English, so my family and I sometimes go there just for that.

Makes a change to understand what's actually going on, you know?





Massive doors frame the entrance. It's not as minimalist as it seems, though. It's just a bit new, and hasn't grown into its character, like Sts. Peter & Paul.

Give it time. 60 years, which in Miami-time, is 300.





Not too sure I approve of the wicker ceiling (I think that's what it is). But at least the stained glass windows and depth of the transept give Epiphany a nice glow in daylight.

This is the Good Friday liturgical Mass, which was preceeded by the Stations of the Cross devotional.

(My favourite part of the whole Easter calender is Good Friday, when the Passion takes place. And yes, I was first in the queue when Mel Gibson's movie came out some years ago)

The priest in this church was a young, American chap, and very nice too, I'm sure. But he just doesn't have the gravitas the other Spaniard priest had, best illustrated by the lack of timbre in his voice, which he used to RUSH through the Mass (40 minutes flat, in what usually takes 1 full hour!).

My parents and I kept looking at each other, wondering where the fire was?

A Winchellesque performance, which I hope he will grow out of, as he ages gracefully into his role -- just like Epiphany church itself.





The paddles for the "offerings", or what you heathens know as the "begging for money" baskets.

I took a photo of the open door because it reminded me of an Oxford boatrace, when the oars (blades) are lined up just like that.

Fitting, because the service was over faster than an Eights Week bumps race...





Yes, there are poor folk in Pinecrest, which is like saying the poor of Kensington or Park Avenue, heh.

And here is the proof.

That's my mother opening up her purse and putting in a whole 3 bucks into the poorbox, one dollar for each minute of the Mass...





I'm very conscious that I'm taking pictures of reverential places for this travellogue, so I make sure I never catch anyone in actual prayer, which would be wrong.

I break this rule of mine, only once in the travellogue, and here it is.

Mother, child, looking up in devotion to Our crucified Saviour. Every photograph I have shown you has been taken with the joy of sharing my world with you.

But here, in this one photograph, I am showing you what my religion means to me, through the faceless body of a devout mother introducing her child to our faith.

What can be more beautiful than that?





If you guessed that I wasn't particularly bowled over by Epiphany church, you would not be wrong.

But I'll give them this -- that's the best church bell tower in all of Miami, bar none. On a fine day, you can hear them clear across Coral Gables, calling its faithful to pray in their Grand Prix.


CHURCH OF THE LITTLE FLOWER






So far, you've followed me to upwardly-mobile working-class Cuban-American Silver Bluff. Then you've traipsed with me to services in flexingly nouveau-riche Pinecrest.

But now, we're in the heart of the elite world of Miami -- Coral Gables!

You remember the Church of the Little Flower, surely? Well, here it is for Holy Saturday Vigil Mass.

Mum and I lost the armwrestle match with the old lady you see emerging triumphantly from the illegal parking space just in front of the church, so we parked three blocks over.

I'll say one thing for my newfound religiosity. What with the genuflections during Mass, the ups, the downs, the hiking of miles from parking space to church, I must've lost at least 3 pounds.

Catholicism is not only good for the soul, but it tones your abs, too.





I'm not exactly sure whose bust of a saint that is -- frankly, it looks not a little like Machiavelli or Savanorola.

(Just behind it is the requisite school of the Little Flower, which is $$$ to get into, as can be expected)

Keeping up my tradition, I always enter through the left-hand door of the church, though since this whole CHURCH is dedicated to my Little Flower, I don't do so to encounter her statue, more of which anon.





It's just that I like the view from the left, as one enters.

High vaulted ceilings. Flouncy alcoves, and a massive cupola above the Altar. I love it.

Yeah, a little ornate, but ornate is better than a modernist Costco Warehouse. Who can find God next to the Rice Crispies?

The only thing I found a little disappointing, was that the crowd was almost all older, and not very enthusiastic, as at least the Epiphany crowd were.

And I tell you what else disappointed me, now that I am in quibble-mode.





The outdoor statue of St. Thèrése, my beloved saint.

Nooooo, that's so totally not her face! She looks like a young Mirta de Perales! Look at that nose. Cubanaza and a half!

That's another thing about us Catholics -- we're fussy about our faith, and we each of us have in our minds, how certain things should be relating to it.

Take me, for example.

I can only worship in a church I like, which gives me the right "feeling" inside, when I enter it. If there is a priest I don't care for, or a statue which rubs me the wrong way, I may shun its comforting purpose, because I can always find another church which suits me better.

Sure, many religions have that peculiarity too, and furthermore, I do so because I have a wealth of choices around me -- but Catholics are notoriously sentimental about their churches, their priests, and their saints.

Anyway, just because the Church of The Little Flower has a snub-nosed St. Theresa outside, who looks like she just came out of the ring with Leila Ali, doesn't mean I have to look at her all day.

That's why I bring my Little Flower rosary box with me, so her more recognisably beatific face stares at me, whether the priest be boring, speedy or folksy.





Ahh, that's more like it. The Little Flower looking at me, for once a good little Catholic girl, observing her duties to her faith, and sharing it with all and sundries. But now, I must say...

This travellogue is ended. Go in Peace!

And Happy Easter, everyone!


UPDATE: Blogger colleague, Class-Factotum, makes an amazingly similar observation for the "workout" portion of the Catholic ritual. Read the blogpost here.

I know I shouldn't be sacreligious on such a day, but that's never stopped me before.

Why, I ask myself, hasn't a priest ever realised he could treble his parish numbers, if he instituted step classes in CYO?

Just a thought.

Please also read Benning's Easter post on the Resurrection. Very moving!

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30 Comments:

  • Hey Vicky, here's a very happy Easter Sunday to you too! I don't actually celebrate it, even though the Bulgarian Easter is today this year, because I'm agnostic, and the only thing I'm sure of is that Jesus died (whether on Passover or later). And death is hardly a reason for celebration, as I was just pointing out to a Bulgarian cleric in another forum.

    Anyhow, here's the traditional greeting to you:
    Hristos voskrese!

    By Blogger El Kot, at Sun Apr 08, 03:42:00 am GMT-4  

  • My catholic school allowed us one day a week without the wearing of the uniform for girls and no ties for boys. So the boys just wore tshirts and the girls...dressed like they like to drink Bailey's. (in the Sundries expression) One of these days we also had to go to Mass, this particular time presided over by a priest we called "Father Fiscal," due to his obcession about the revenues that were coming in. During his sermon he had to stare at a row of guys, then a row of girls that looked like they just left the Moulin Rouge! It was too much for the old bird, who proceded to lecture about how women should dress generally, and how they could wear these clothes, but [Chuck Heston voice] in THE HOUSE OF GOD?!?

    I bit through my lip with tears of laughter coming down the side of my face, and looked down the row of guys...and most of them were doing the same thing, not wanting to burst out laughing in that huge barn of a church...

    See what memories you give me?

    I wish I could afford ham today; just rice and beans for me!

    Have a good Easter, dear Victoria (and family of course!)

    P.S. I just went back to my blog in time to read your wonderful, sweet comment! Whatever wit and grace I have, I have on loan. You, on the other hand, are their owners in abundance! I am always grateful for your writing, and your prayers, both!

    By Blogger Ron, at Sun Apr 08, 05:59:00 am GMT-4  

  • I have a topic idea for you! Having noticed several flavors of Sundriesism lately, I have wondered about "English" Sundries vs. "Latin" Sundries. Do these two cultures ever conflict in your own mind? Are there times you prefer to lean more in one direction or another. Are there things about both you wish you had more (or less!) of?

    It could be very good!

    By Blogger Ron, at Sun Apr 08, 06:04:00 am GMT-4  

  • Happy Easter, my dear Vics, for you and yours...
    Thanks for this very good travelogue of churches, with one of my very favorite churches in Miami, the Little Flower.
    In my days in Miami Beach, I used to attend to mass at Saint Francis of Sales. I have to confess that I only used to go to La Ermita de la Caridad when there was no mass or any other celebration, and that for me the sound of silence within that temple is something that will accompany me forever.

    By Blogger Charlie Bravo, at Sun Apr 08, 07:49:00 am GMT-4  

  • Happy Easter, Vicks! Thanks for stopping by. :D

    I just got home - sunrise service at the folks' church in Tarpon Springs - having passed on the church breakfast, and have a pot of strong coffee brewing.

    Love the travelogue! The Church on the Bayou, in Tarpon Springs, is one of those small, barn-like churches, though it sits across a tiny road from Whitcomb Bayou, so it is a very pretty site on Easter morning. The pastor has a fine voice, and sings well. He does seem to want his congregation to eventually sing every song in the Presbyterian Hymnal. So I find myself lost during the hymns, what with so many "modern" hymns being chosen.

    This morning was a gathering of five or six churches at the Bayou, and it was a sweet service. But it was a chilly morning! I wore my good clothes but passed on the suit jacket and went with a big leather coat! Glad I did, as my step-dad shivered through the whole service.

    The different pastors all had a part in the service, but we rose in prayer at the start and remained on our feet (while a mean old lady behind me kept mumbling, "Sit down.") until the home pastor stepped to the microphone for his part. He opened by saying, loudly, "The congregation may be seated!" I'm afraid I laughed out loud!

    A blessed Easter to you, Vicks, and yours!

    By Blogger benning, at Sun Apr 08, 08:46:00 am GMT-4  

  • Christ has risen today, Hallelujah!

    Happiest of Holy Days to you and yours. I enjoyed the pilgrimage and appreciated your witty comments. Step classes would definitely be a boon! I'd go twice a week!

    Love and Peace, Caroline

    By Blogger Caroline, at Sun Apr 08, 09:37:00 am GMT-4  

  • Christos Anesti!

    I don't like the modern architecture churches, either, Victoria! Give me a church that looks like a church!

    Someone told me that going to a Catholic service brought to mind the "Stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight!"

    Happy Catholic noted, "Though I must add a warning to the ladies that it is highly recommended not to cut your knee shaving your legs on the morning of all that kneeling. Oy veh!"

    By Anonymous class-factotum, at Sun Apr 08, 12:48:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Neat Churches, Happy Easter as well.

    But come now Vicky, even a lazy Catholic should know that Good Friday is the 1 day of the year that doesn't have a "Mass." There is a Liturgy of the Word which is followed by a Eucharistic service, without Consecration. The Hosts that are given in Communion are leftovers from "The Mass of the Lord's Supper," the night before.

    Ok I know I'm picking a nit but, nits are always such fun to tease.....

    By Blogger conv442, at Sun Apr 08, 01:18:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Happy Easter Vicky and Sundries readers!

    Lovely tour Vicky, I like the range of Churches displayed and their unique character. They're much nicer than our 67 flat roof-bricked special.

    Went to the service in Italian today. Our argentinian priest of Italian origin had a nice service although he was a little heave on the incense.

    I hope everyone has a blesses day with their families and loved ones.

    By Blogger Renato, at Sun Apr 08, 02:22:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Child of the suburbs that I am, I actually rather like #2. It'll grow on you eventually...

    By Blogger JSU, at Sun Apr 08, 06:31:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Happy Easter, Vics! Thanks for the church travelogue - really enjoyed it. Made breakfast for my mom this morning. Whole family is getting together for dinner tonight, which reminds me that I need to get dressed! (Thanks again for stopping by.)

    By Blogger Internet Ronin, at Sun Apr 08, 07:37:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Victoria,

    Happy Easter! And thanks for the comment love over on my blog - I'm sorry I haven't appeared in your comments lately but take a gander at your Sitemeter stats and you'll find I've been ever faithful dropping by every day first thing. Can't miss a day of my favorite South Florida blog! You're so kind to come looking for me and let me know I've been missed.

    When I lived in South Florida oh so many years ago, we were members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Opa-Locka. I attended kindergarten and first grade there as well before entering the public school system in second grade.

    Here in Oklahoma, I joined the Baptist church and, boy, do they think Catholics are strange! Still, reading your post, I'm reminded of what makes the Church great. (We have a Church of the Little Flower here as well, in the Hispanic neighborhood, as well as an Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Is it some kind of franchise thing I don't know about?)

    When we visited NYC the Christmas before last, we took our daughters to St. Patrick's. These good Baptist girls were awed by the church and when I explained some of the rituals, my oldest cried, "I wanna be a Catholic!"

    Today in church, though we dwelled extensively on the meaning of Easter in Sunday school and the sermon, it was much like any other Sunday.

    Sigh.

    Perhaps my daughter has the right idea. There's something to be said about being awed by ritual and architecture in our worship of God.

    By Blogger Pete, at Sun Apr 08, 08:20:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Happy Easter.

    By Blogger SippicanCottage, at Sun Apr 08, 09:58:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I notice that in the Cuban church pictures, that someone appears to have parked backwards near the curb. The driver must have been in a hurry to not turn around. Perhaps he was racing someone to the parking spot?

    Near the Epiphany church, is that a gigantic sphere on the sidewalk? I can only guess that it is meant to block automobiles.

    By Blogger Alcibiades, at Mon Apr 09, 01:50:00 am GMT-4  

  • Thank you SO VERY MUCH for your replies and good wishes my friends!

    I'll be here tomorrow with more chit-chat, for I am totally knackered tonight!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Apr 09, 02:45:00 am GMT-4  

  • Victoria,

    These church travelogues are truly beautiful. It's obvious they reflect a genuine admiration and deep faith. Thanks for sharing them.

    A joyous Easter to you and your dear family.

    By Blogger Pastor_Jeff, at Tue Apr 10, 06:20:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Hey Vicky, here's a very happy Easter Sunday to you too! I don't actually celebrate it, even though the Bulgarian Easter is today this year, because I'm agnostic, and the only thing I'm sure of is that Jesus died (whether on Passover or later). And death is hardly a reason for celebration, as I was just pointing out to a Bulgarian cleric in another forum.

    Anyhow, here's the traditional greeting to you:
    Hristos voskrese!


    Nothing could make me happier than eliciting from a non-believer, a kindly word in recognition of the faith I hold dear.

    So for coming across to my world, if only for a moment, thank you my friend. :)

    Christos anesti!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 10, 10:49:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Thanks for your sweet words yourself, Ron, and for that hilarious Father Fiscal visual. ;)

    I have a topic idea for you! Having noticed several flavors of Sundriesism lately, I have wondered about "English" Sundries vs. "Latin" Sundries. Do these two cultures ever conflict in your own mind? Are there times you prefer to lean more in one direction or another. Are there things about both you wish you had more (or less!) of?

    It could be very good!


    Hmm, interesting!

    I am not terribly "Latin", but then I suppose like many Third Country Kids, I don't really notice that about myself.

    I COULD write a post in that guise though. We'll see! :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 10, 10:51:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Happy Easter, Vicks! Thanks for stopping by. :D

    Always happy to, Benning! I noticed the comments section took a while to load -- I almost left without doing so!

    I just got home - sunrise service at the folks' church in Tarpon Springs - having passed on the church breakfast, and have a pot of strong coffee brewing.

    You won't believe this, but I think I've been there...or at least, have seen it.

    I have been to that Greek fishing village, Tarpon Springs, twice.

    Isn't Charlie Crist, the new Fla governor, from there??

    Love the travelogue! The Church on the Bayou, in Tarpon Springs, is one of those small, barn-like churches, though it sits across a tiny road from Whitcomb Bayou, so it is a very pretty site on Easter morning. The pastor has a fine voice, and sings well. He does seem to want his congregation to eventually sing every song in the Presbyterian Hymnal. So I find myself lost during the hymns, what with so many "modern" hymns being chosen.

    Yeah, I never sing the hymns either, since (a) I don't sing well (b) I always lose my place!

    That went double for Anglican services, which were mandatory for us schoolgirls.

    This morning was a gathering of five or six churches at the Bayou, and it was a sweet service. But it was a chilly morning! I wore my good clothes but passed on the suit jacket and went with a big leather coat! Glad I did, as my step-dad shivered through the whole service.

    Blimey, we were less cold down here, but I'm sorry your step-dad shivered.

    How were you all dressed? :)

    I notice people are still decked out beautifully for Easter services (we were normally dressed).

    The different pastors all had a part in the service, but we rose in prayer at the start and remained on our feet (while a mean old lady behind me kept mumbling, "Sit down.") until the home pastor stepped to the microphone for his part. He opened by saying, loudly, "The congregation may be seated!" I'm afraid I laughed out loud!

    LOL! I like moments like that in church. :)

    A blessed Easter to you, Vicks, and yours!

    Thanks, Benning! I hope you had a restful post-Easter too. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 10, 10:54:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Step classes would definitely be a boon! I'd go twice a week!

    Caroline, I'd be the first to sign up alongside you.

    And don't tell me that the RC church would wrinkle its nose at such a thing. Come on, didn't you see Father Ted? ;)

    Thanks for coming over!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 10, 10:55:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Congrats on being blogrolled over at Happy Catholic, Class-Factotum!

    I especially liked your Ten Commandments of the Left. *g*

    # Thou shalt take public transportation, or, if that is not available, drive a Prius

    Oh brother...and the foie gras one. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 10, 10:58:00 pm GMT-4  

  • But come now Vicky, even a lazy Catholic should know that Good Friday is the 1 day of the year that doesn't have a "Mass." There is a Liturgy of the Word which is followed by a Eucharistic service, without Consecration.

    No, no, not nitpicking at all, Conv442, you are right!

    Drat, even my mother pointed that out, but I have to say, it still seemed fairly fast. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 10, 11:00:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Went to the service in Italian today. Our argentinian priest of Italian origin had a nice service although he was a little heave on the incense.

    I love love love incense, and frequently buy it at religious memoriabilia stores. *gg*

    I gave a nasty burn to my couch lighting one up, once. And dad always complains about the smell.

    Hey, at least it's not Patchouli.

    Happy Easter too, Renato!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 10, 11:01:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Child of the suburbs that I am, I actually rather like #2. It'll grow on you eventually...

    Yeah, it's precisely that -- suburban. It's got the touch of utilitarian about it, so as to fit as many people as one can.

    And yet, it's not ugly either.

    It might just grow on me, too. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 10, 11:02:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Happy Easter again, Internet Ronin!

    I hope that dinner was delightful.

    My Italian-American friend made ham. What did you guys have?

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 10, 11:03:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Victoria,

    Happy Easter! And thanks for the comment love over on my blog - I'm sorry I haven't appeared in your comments lately but take a gander at your Sitemeter stats and you'll find I've been ever faithful dropping by every day first thing. Can't miss a day of my favorite South Florida blog! You're so kind to come looking for me and let me know I've been missed.


    I have seen your visits on SiteMetre, trust me. Thanks, darling. :)

    When I lived in South Florida oh so many years ago, we were members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Opa-Locka. I attended kindergarten and first grade there as well before entering the public school system in second grade.

    Hmm, I don't know that one.

    There is a famous school NEAR Opa-Locka in Hialeah called Rose of Lima. Very elite, despite the surroundings...

    Here in Oklahoma, I joined the Baptist church and, boy, do they think Catholics are strange! Still, reading your post, I'm reminded of what makes the Church great. (We have a Church of the Little Flower here as well, in the Hispanic neighborhood, as well as an Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Is it some kind of franchise thing I don't know about?)

    Hehe. :)

    I think like Versailles Restaurant in LA and in Miami, it's just a lot of expats who want to evoke memories of other places.

    When we visited NYC the Christmas before last, we took our daughters to St. Patrick's. These good Baptist girls were awed by the church and when I explained some of the rituals, my oldest cried, "I wanna be a Catholic!"

    She's hooked, boy!

    Today in church, though we dwelled extensively on the meaning of Easter in Sunday school and the sermon, it was much like any other Sunday.

    Sigh.


    Ah what a shame. Our priest was very good -- and took 15 minutes, which is the perfect time for a sermon, methinks, even for Easter.

    Perhaps my daughter has the right idea. There's something to be said about being awed by ritual and architecture in our worship of God.

    I am of that opinion too, you can tell her.

    And it's great to see you as a loving papa, in mentioning your girls. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 10, 11:06:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Happy Easter again, and thanks for the visit, Sippican Cottage! :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 10, 11:07:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I notice that in the Cuban church pictures, that someone appears to have parked backwards near the curb. The driver must have been in a hurry to not turn around. Perhaps he was racing someone to the parking spot?

    As ever, observant, Alcibiades!

    I can only tell you that I myself noticed the same thing, but didn't attribute it to anything more than (with Jose's permission) bad Cuban parking. *gg*

    They're notorious for being shall we say, quirky drivers who use the horn more than their turn-signals.

    Near the Epiphany church, is that a gigantic sphere on the sidewalk? I can only guess that it is meant to block automobiles.

    Good observation!

    Only that you'll notice it's one solitary one to that side.

    Not much of a barrier, if so. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 10, 11:08:00 pm GMT-4  

  • These church travelogues are truly beautiful. It's obvious they reflect a genuine admiration and deep faith. Thanks for sharing them.

    A joyous Easter to you and your dear family.


    Said with such grace and elegance, as always, Pastor Jeff.

    Thanks for taking the time to leave these kind words. Yes, I do love my faith a lot, lazy as I am. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 10, 11:09:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Hi! I thought you and your readers might be interested in some post-Easter news about Pope Benedict XVI...
    The Pope's car is being auctioned off to raise money for Habitat for Humanity:
    www.buyacarvideos.com/popecar.htm
    The bidding is already more than $200,000! Personally, I think this is a really fun and creative way to raise
    money. The auction goes until April 14th if you and your readers want to check it out.

    By Blogger BJ, at Tue Apr 10, 11:32:00 pm GMT-4  

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