The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption hosted a Gregorian chant service this Christmas. The chanting was great, but only a minor part of the service. The space was beautiful, though perhaps a bit dated. I’m no architect, but the place occupies some strange space between modern weirdo and a dated vision of the future. In other words, it’s 70’s as hell. There was a bit more sing-songiness to the spoken words than in other Catholic services I’ve been to, which I thought was cool. The church was mostly empty though and there didn’t seem to be much sense of kinship amongst folks. Most people simply looked at each other and said “peace be with you” during the Sign of Peace and seemed confused by my extending my arm for a handshake. I’m used to and appreciate lots more handshakes, smiles, and hugs during that portion of mass.
Being a part of a service with Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone was particularly challenging for me, despite the words he was actually saying. If you are unaware of the hoopla surrounding Cordileone, this article does a good job of summing it up. And here are the accompanying bits from Episcopal Bishop Marc Andrus:
- (open) Letter to the Diocese of California concerning the installation of Salvatore Cordileone as Archbishop of San Francisco
- Bishop Marc Denied Seating at Archbishop’s Installation
- My experience at the installation of Archbishop Cordileone
Also, check out this sweet organ at the cathedral: