Now one thing I would like to get started is some sort of Ultimate Fantasy
During my time as a Church Hobo, I have seen some pretty great Cathedrals (such as those seen while I was in France. I have seen some very humble (and beautiful) churches in my dad's village in Portugal. I have seen parishes of all shapes, sizes, and ages. I have even sat a few pews back from Stephen Colbert (quite possibly one of the biggest distractions ever encountered in the world of Catholic Mass). To make a long story short, I have decided to start building the Ultimate Fantasy Church based on the best things I've encountered in my days as a churchgoing hobo.
Right now, I am working on the Ultimate Church based on some places around where I live now.
Choir: Saint Cassian Parish in Upper Montclair
Holy cow! This choir is amazing and features people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Whenever they start singing, you can just hear and picture the choirs of angels singing before God in heaven. It is just that beautiful. No wonder they get some singing time at the end of mass before the closing announcements.
Latin Mass: Holy Face Monastery in Clifton
It almost feels like yesterday when the Fool and I went to our first Latin Mass. I can still smell the incense, feel the wooden pews, and hear the beautiful Latin prayers. The cozy and dark atmosphere of the church certainly added to the whole experience, transporting us to days long since passed....when the language of the land was Latin and times were simpler (memorization of Latin conjugations aside). To this day, I still believe I was born 500 years or so ahead of my time. Who needs penicillin and all that other good stuff when you got Latin mass....and badass (and extremely gorgeous) knights in shining armor.
Let the gratuitous John William Waterhouse knight in shining armor painting mini-picspam begin....
|I'll take this one too!!!|
Awe-inspiring Church Interior: Church of the Immaculate Conception in Montclair
If I hadn't already heard that Tolkien's white city of Gondor was based on the Holy See (don't care if this is 100% true or not...I'm taking it)...I would have believed it's white halls to be based on the marble interior of this church. The architecture is stunning and the stained glass alone is worth the trip to see this church. The best part about this place is that it was all constructed in a tasteful manner. It is simply stunning...and a church like this is probably what Christ was walking about in Luke 19:40.
Luke 19:40 Refresher
"To whom he said: I say to you, that if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out."These stones much, surely, echo the prayers whispered in that church, the masses said, and the songs sung in that church...even when no one is around. They simply must...They are so beautiful to behold that it is simply impossible for me to imagine that they aren't alive and crying out to the Lord that dwells within that beautiful tabernacle.
Media Savviness: Newman Catholic Center in Montclair, Little Falls, and a Corner of Clifton
When it comes to getting the word out, be it on Facebook, Twitter, or Lino Rulli's Catholic Guy Show...hands down, this place wins. Father Jim Chern has to be one of the most prolific homily bloggers out there...and certainly one of the people most likely to be updating his Facebook status at 1am in the morning. With that said, this place certainly gets the word out. This is no small feat considering the fact that they are based in one of the most liberal and not-always-so-Catholic-friendly schools out there. I guess I am a little biased here because this place was, in most ways, my spiritual home for a good 6 years during my tenure at MSU.
Homilies: Columbia Catholic Ministry in NYC
Father Dan O'Reilly's homilies are some of the best, if not THE best, homilies I have ever heard in my entire life. He not only manages to back up his words with historical facts, anecdotes, and faith...but he does so without a single sheet of paper in front of him. That's right, he doesn't read off a single word. Yet, it all flows from his mouth with a fluidity that would be the envy of all American Legion Oratorical Contest participants. I don't have the time to attend mass downtown...but the days I did make it to mass were the days where my Catholic brain and soul were given a spiritual and intellectual feast of epic proportions. I cannot express just how amazing it was to sit in those wooden pews in Saint Paul's chapel and listen to this padre speak. It was like witnessing the Holy Spirit in action...and we all know that there are no words to describe that!
That's all I have so far for my Ultimate Fantasy Church....so that means I have an amazing choir, a beautiful church and a media-savvy padre who does Latin mass and gives great homilies. I know I don't have too many categories figured out yet...but man, a church like this one could potentially make everyone in the world go Catholic.