I nearly forgot to post about my Catholic adventures yesterday!
I finally had a Sunday full of nothing to do, so I decided to check out the church next door (literally, it's the building next to my apartment, how lucky!) called Corpus Christi. It was a most wonderful experience! The mass was a bit of a special one, as it was a memorial mass for a recently deceased priest and a celebration of Pope Benedict XVI's beatification of the Venerable John Henry Newman, but I hope it's the same every week because it was wonderful!
All parts of the mass are sung in Latin (by a professional chant choir), something I have never experienced as a post-Vatican II child of the church. The church itself is a fairly modern take on the Medieval cathedrals of Europe, on a much smaller but just as ornate scale. It was almost reminiscent of Greek Orthodox or Armenian in its decor! The only reminder of its modern origins were the square ionic-capped pillars, simple and white in a very early American Protestant manner. Incense burned the entire time, the choir was hidden behind (but amplified by) a choir box situated to the left of the alter, and people wore a mix of jeans and church hats. I LOVED the Latin! Even though I've never taken a Latin course in my life, it really wasn't too difficult to follow. The "replacement" priest was a fresh, young, Oratory scholar (who's founder was Newman himself!) and he presided with the main pastor. His homily was impressive, and as a fellow Bible scholar I readily felt connected to him. He did a wonderful job at connecting the late priest with John Newman and making it very personal for those who knew the late priest without having ever met the man. The congregation was friendly and welcoming; I was quickly recognized to not be a member of the parish. No one pointed this out to me, but I did receive warm smiles and quick greetings.
I'm excited to go back again next week to see if it will be the same.