5/9/2010 ~ Today I visited St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Fort Walton Beach, FL.
I needed a really early service today and so, recalling my childhood, I immediately realized I'd only get that at a Roman Catholic Church!
I checked with my mother-in-law's friend "Lucy" at the dance Saturday night; and she confirmed my opinion: Her RC Church, St. Mary's in Fort Walton Beach would fit the bill. Early Mass, Sunday was at 7:30 AM! Indeed, I remembered that I'd taken my son there a couple years ago when he visited (though to a later service).
St. Mary's is located down around First St. and Coral Drive - on St. Mary's Ave., in fact; and, believe it or not: there are seven churches, almost back-to-back in that part of town! (I plan to concentrate on that geographic area shortly and visit the rest of those congregations).
I certainly was not disappointed. It was a large church in an even larger compound with a ton of ancillary buildings and apparently also a school. There were at least 250-300 parishioners present in the "T" shaped interior including a number of African-Americans and many more Asians than I'd seen elsewhere. The service was conducted by a high-ranking prelate, Rev. Msgr. Michael A. Cherup, the Pastor; and in typical RC fashion it was short and sweet and over in a mere fifty minutes. Nothing was lacking however: We had readings including the Gospel, hymns and chanting by the choir, a "collection", sermon, Communion ("Bread" only) and announcements. The congregation was of all ages, casually but tidily dressed. The priest wore vestments, and there was even a mini-processional at the end as the Pastor & acolytes exited (See the second video). There were the typical Catholic cushioned kneelers in back of the long pews that stretched between the isles, a section for votive candles just inside the front entry (which I just know contains the crèche at Christmas!), ...
... "Holy Water" for making The "Sign Of The Cross" upon entry and exit and an all "AH-men" environment. It felt like home - since that was what I grew up with! Except that then, we did it in Latin! ... I can still recall:
"In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti ... AH-men." (In
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.)
THE MESSAGE: "THE WORD OF GOD"
(Edited & Adapted from the Sermon by Rev. Msgr. Michael A. Cherup; 5/9/2010)
The Word Of God lives within your very being.
His words of love, friendship and truth speak to us. (And if we listen, we will hear ...) His Words of peace! The Word Of God is the power of God! Let us share with others what God has given to us. Share our insight.
In the beginning of Creation was The Word Of God. It permeates everything.
The First Council of Jerusalem was concerned with enforcing Jewish customs on the gentiles. Paul denounces this. The council was not one person saying: "This is it." The people came together (... to decide. They studied The Word so as to come to a decision). Families should come together like that.
(The power that) you receive in the Eucharist you bring to the world through The Word ~ in the family, in the workplace, etc. Therefore you must learn to listen to that Word of God.
Today is Mothers’ Day. You recognize her voice. It’s a primordial connection. So with God. He speaks to your very soul. But we’re so busy with the stereo, the T.V., the ‘Talking Heads’ that we don’t hear.
But we must listen; and pray. Pray the rosary fifteen minutes per day. Read - meditatively. We need that daily so as to let The Word speak to us.
Pastor then reminisced about his childhood, recalling that his Dad would go nowhere until he had read the word of the day. So if we can spend the time watching T.V., surely we can spend time reading scripture. Why don’t you read The Word and also revere the Eucharist for fifteen minutes, an hour or even two hours if you have the time?
You have the right and the obligation to study the scripture and know what The Church is teaching. Hear God’s Word. Know right from wrong. (There are a few really essential things in life): You have to attend to bodily functions and you have to pray and read The Word!
Also because you sin, you need Reconciliation.
Therefore, as we continue through Pentecost to Ascension Sunday, ask the Lord to speak to you so His Word will be in you. He will set up his tent in you and His peace will abide in you. Then you will know you are loved by God.
So get His Word!
Pd. Pol. Adv., paid for and approved by Dr. Bill Escoffery,
Candidate for U.S. Senate from Florida.
Copyright © 2010 by William Escoffery III. All