Our very first Holy Week–with heartfelt gratitude to CMRI priests Fr. Stephen Sandquist and Fr. Timothy Geckle, Mater Dei seminarians Dominic Lehnen and Philip Lawrence, Congregation Mater Dei Sisters Mary Catherine and Josephine Marie, and our own Ben Geckle for making all our ceremonies especially reverent and lovely.
We will have Mass at 8 am on Saturday, Feb. 22, followed by a chapel work day to finish projects and prepare for Holy Week ceremonies. Fr. Sandquist is bringing four seminarians to help. We are so grateful! Our chapel will not have Mass on Ash Wednesday. Fr. Sandquist will be going to Sacred Heart in Topeka that day for Mass at 6 pm.
On Friday night, Fr. Sandquist brought down six first and second-year seminarians from CMRI’s recently-acquired Iowa location to help us prepare for Candlemas and a High Mass for the Feast of the Purification, as well as lend their muscles to a chapel workday: Joe (Nebraska), Dominic (MN), Adam (MI), William (MI), Caleb (Scotland), and Frederic (France).
Saturday morning was dedicated to removing the Christmas decorations and Nativity, followed by server and choir practice. Then sheetrock projects began as the ladies boxed up the large Nativity figures. That complete, the women organized an assembly line to pull nails from salvaged oak baseboards. After the de-nailed boards were stained, seminarians whisked them off to be cut and then nailed in place while others taped so that a second coat could be applied. Fr. Sandquist took to his hands and knees to finish the staining–the baseboards and, he ruefully noted afterward, his hands. Between all the sheetrock dust, the blue tape, and everything being pulled away from the walls, including the altar, it looked like we couldn’t possibly be ready for mass on Sunday, but of course it all came back together with many hands making light work.
Sunday’s Candlemas ceremony and high mass were simply glorious. We couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day for our procession either. It was 69 degrees with sunny, blue skies. The seminarians were thrilled with the fantastic weather after enduring a tough winter in Iowa. All the practice paid off, and everything went smoothly. The choir finished with a stunning Stella Matutina. Afterward Adam asked if it was too loud, and I assured him that it was exquisite, and the volume was perfect. Truly, we congregants zoomed heavenward in a musical chariot powered by their strong male voices, sonorous with Marian devotion.
Below is a photo gallery from the Asperges, Candlemas ceremony, and procession:
Below is a photo gallery from the Mass for the Purification, with the final two photos depicting the new location of the statues of Sts. Peter and Paul and a zoomed-in look at the altar with the newly-acquired Jesus and Mary statues.
Since Fr. Sandquist will be at our chapel with four seminarians for a work day, we will have mass on Saturday, Feb. 1st, at 8 am.
Afterward we will eat breakfast, take down Christmas decorations, and have choir and server practice.
Then the work projects will begin, which will include installing double doors on the chapel entrance from the hallway so that we may have the Blessed Sacrament reserved on our altar and finishing sheetrock projects in the confessional, priest’s office, and cry room.
A SUNDAY MORNING LOW MASS
Fr. Sandquist will offer Mass for us at 10 am this Sunday to accommodate his travel schedule to the CMRI priests’ meeting. Father will hear confessions beginning at 9:30. We will return to the regular schedule the following Sunday: Confessions at 1, Mass at 1:30.
A SUNDAY AFTERNOON HIGH MASS
Four CMRI seminarians will be visiting our chapel on Feb. 1-2. On Saturday they will assist us with chapel work projects, and on Sunday they will sing, so we will be able to have a High Mass for the Feast of the Presentation/Candlemas.