Loading...

Menu

An Outburst of Prayer at Mass Today – Now that was Interesting . . .

by David Gray, July 27, 2014
Saint Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church in Gahanna, Ohio

This is a photo of the inside of Saint Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church in Gahanna, Ohio.

Saint Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church in Gahanna, Ohio seems to have all of the appearances of being a very blessed parish. The Church building itself is very beautiful, spacious, with oaken and cream accents, and they are in the process of setting aside space in the building for perpetugal adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. From the outside of the Church it looks as if there are three naves in the form of a cross, but on the inside the seating forms a half circle around the circular sanctuary that is classically adorned; all except for communion rails. A large crucifix falls from the sky above the altar, from which Jesus seems to be hanging off us if not for the nails through His Body, rather than His Body being pressed against the Cross, as is typical. This is a predominately White parish. Besides myself I think I noticed one African family, and there was a White couple with a Black toddler in the first pews. Many young families at this Mass and a number of men who had come alone; including myself.

Right now there are five priests and two permanent deacons on staff there, and the liturgy they offer is as traditional and solemn as a Novus Ordo Mass could possibly be, especially during the weekday. The Sunday bulletin is essentially a ten page magazine that is filled from cover to cover with programs and activities for every demographic of the parish. Saint Matthew the Apostle church is the closest thing I’ve found in Columbus to my Dominican Parish back home in Youngstown, Ohio. At this particular 10:OO am liturgy, the Mass was being celebrated by Most Reverend Edward J. Burns, Bishop of the Diocese of Juneau, Alaska, who was in town visiting family who would have their new child Baptized at a later Mass.

I hope I’ve painted an adequate enough picture for you here, so that you’ll appreciate the rest of the story.

So, there we were standing and awaiting the final blessing from the Bishop and out-of-no-where in the center circular section near-rear of Church a woman, short in stature, perhaps in her mid-fifties, wearing a white veil over that had slightly fallen over her eyes stands up, with her arms up and outward in the direction of the sanctuary, palms slightly inward. She was wearing a long sleeve open-vest black sweater over, perhaps, a summer dress, which was white with some black patterns on it. I was standing in the next section to a right and hadn’t noticed her until she began praying very loud, “The wrath of God is upon this nation. It is time to repent of our sins.”

After she said that, the thought that immediately came to me was that this woman was a Protestant who was about to say something about the Whore of Babylon next, but she didn’t. She did start praying aloud and very loud about why the wrath of God is upon the country. She was praying about things like abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and lesbianism. She prayed about a number of other things, but those are the ones I can remember, because they stuck out for me.

So the next thought that came to me was that this might be a regular occurrence at Saint Matthew’s. I thought that because the woman seemed quite scripted and everyone was quiet. Most people were still looking towards the sanctuary. The longer it went on, the more people started to turn around, and it went on for about a whole minute.

Things are bad in this country, but wrath of God only seemed to be concerned today with sexual evils, and not all the other stuff. Towards the end of her prayer, some men in black suits and slicked-back hair started moving fast towards her pew, and just when they squeezed past the guy sitting on the end, she sat down. The man immediately to her right was taller than everyone else at Mass, and may have been her husband. He was very supportive of her throughout and after. I should mention that no one said, ‘Lord hear our prayer’ after she had finished . . .

Now that was something I never saw before at Mass. I mean, I use to be a Protestant, and stuff like that was normal-hat, but at Mass? I actually appreciated the spontaneity of it all and I wanted to ask the guy next to me if this happens here all the time, but then I collected my thoughts a little more and realized that when the Priest stood up and said the prayers for the community, and offered a moment of silence for the intentions in our heart, that was the appropriate time for this woman to pray her intentions interiorly, and then we all could have joined her intentions by saying, ‘Lord hear our prayers.’

A moment or so passed after the woman sat down, before the Bishop stood up to give the final blessing. It was then that the next thought came to me, ‘WOW! That must have been pretty embarrassing to the pastor the other regular parishioners’. LOL You ever had new company over at your house and your kids start to act like lunatics fresh out of Hell? And all you can think is, ‘I hope my guests don’t think this happens all the time,’ and you tell them, ‘They don’t usually act like this. I don’t know what’s wrong with them.’ I think that is how the good people at Saint Matthew must have felt today.

You ever been driving and traffic starts going very slow, and you wonder why? Then some time passes and you pass by some sort of collision that is over in the medium? Then right after you pass the accident scene the traffic speed picks back up? That anyways annoys me, because I’m like the only reason why traffic was slow was because these nosy people are rubbernecking instead of driving. Yeah, that’s how it was trying to get out of Church! Everyone and their momma was rubbernecking the God’s Wrath Prayer Lady and trying to ear-hustle what the men in black were saying to her and her husband(?) instead of walking out and getting into their car!

I finally did get into my car, drove to Dunkin Donuts to grab an Oreo Cream-filled doughnut and an orange juice, and called my oldest daughter on the phone on the way to tell her about what happened at Mass. She laughed hysterically. I told her, “I’m gonna have to blog about this one. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

12 Comments


    • pml
      Reply Cancel Reply
    • July 28, 2014

    ... I wouldn't be one to judge her or her vocal prayer ... one does not know how the Holy Spirit moves ... Shalom

    • The Spirit blows where it wills.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo
          Reply Cancel Reply
        • July 29, 2014

        Where in Scripture did Jesus call the Holy Spirit an it? For that matter, where ANY WHERE in Holy Writ is the Holy Spirit called an it? Take your time, I'll wait David. (I lost track of you for a while there, but now I'm back.)

        • Really? Come on Laurence. We're being persnickety today? smh LOL

            • Phil Steinacker
              Reply Cancel Reply
            • July 29, 2014

            I agree, no reason to be persnickety, either, but that is only a question of tone. The truth is that the Holy Spirit is a Person, and I think we've unconsciously fallen into an unintentional de-Personalization of Him because we typically never use "Holy Spirit" as a formal name like "David." Another likely reason is that Holy Spirit is usually preceded by a particular article (the), and the natural antecedent to "the" would be "it." However, none of these reasons for the thoughtless practice - in which we all engage until we decide we won't - is a justifiable excuse for continuing in it. In prayer I address the Holy Spirit as "Holy Spirit" and in reference to Him I always use "He" or "Him" or "His" as appropriate. It feels a little strange at first, which may explain why it may feel too strange to you to even consider it, but if we understand and believe the Holy Spirit is a Person just like Jesus and His Father, why would we call Him "it?" I doubt most of us would appreciate that.

          • Phil, Laurence is always here, raising valid and odd questions in the com-box. That is why I didn't fully treat his question. He's been here long enough to know what I meant. That being said, I think both of you are absolutely correct. In my writings I tend not to use gender when speaking of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit 'is' - The Holy Spirit is God.- dwelling to both male and females, but simultaneously transcending the distinctions between sexes. When I must refer to the Holy Spirit in gender format it is always 'He'; following John 16:13, rather than the feminine ruach in Hebrew or the pneuma Greek, which is genderless. There are very few instance when referring to a person as 'it', when their gender is known, isn't rude, Yet, in this instance I wasn't being rude by reference to the Holy Spirit as it, rather simply acknowledging that the Holy Spirit transcends human distinction.

    • ThereseZ
      Reply Cancel Reply
    • July 28, 2014

    We have a few odd bods in our parish who might be taken that way once in awhile. We usually accept them. Some of them keep expanding their behavior until they go overboard, then they get talked to and quiet down for awhile, until they get moved again to do it. I remember just easing my way back into the church after years of sin, and went to a daily Mass and lo! there was a guy prostrating himself in the center aisle of the church before Mass. I froze; is THIS what I was going to have to do? I learned soon enough that he did that occasionally and everybody accepted it.

    • Great story Theresa! I lay prostrate during adoration sometimes. I guess I'm that guy too. Never thought about it. Haha

      • AugustineThomas
        Reply Cancel Reply
      • July 30, 2014

      Oh I know.. It would be so horrendous if you had to go to church for Christ and not your own enjoyment. Church really is more of a social club than anything else. Am I right fellow modernist?

        • ThereseZ
          Reply Cancel Reply
        • July 30, 2014

        My responses are out of order, see the one above. The people I am speaking of got into other people's way, got into the center of attention, drew attention to themselves. I have a strong feeling that the outward display of piety was foremost in their minds, and I charitably believe that they think they are being good examples, not just being egotists. Adoration is a good place, in a quiet church without hurrying commuters is a good place, at home (in "our closets") is a good place.

    • ThereseZ
      Reply Cancel Reply
    • July 28, 2014

    Prostrate during Adoration is cool. It was prostrate in the main aisle before Mass, with people stepping around him, that was odd. I don't want anybody to think that falling on one's face in Adoration before the Great Gift of the Eucharist is in any way strange. It's not, as long as traffic patterns aren't all snarled up!

  • "The wrath of God is upon this nation. It is time to repent of our sins.” . There appears to be credence to her prescience.

Please login to comment

Jesus Loves You and is There For You!