Sunday, August 2, 2009
Secret and ancient rites
I could not believe the weather this morning at 8.
It was dark as night!
It was like the middle of winter! That is what Howard said. Well, it has brightened somewhat since then.
Today is the anniversary of the dedication of my church, St. Anthony of Padua. It is 118 years old!
It is a miracle St. Anthony's is still in business but it is. Today I stood across the street looking at it and it does look humble from the outside. I did not think to take a picture because zut alors, I had not had enough coffee. But above is a picture I took back on St. Anthony's Day.
Our priest, Padre Secondo, he was telling us that when St. Anthony's was built it served the poorest Italian immigrants. It made me wonder if Leonard Pennario had fibbed to me about where he was baptized. He did not tell me St. Anthony's! I remember our conversation about that as if it were yesterday.
But then again I remember when I had to find my baptismal certificate because I was getting married. I completely forgot where I was baptized. I thought it was a whole different church. I mean, it is not as if you remember being there, you know? And naturally they could not find the certificate and we were all sitting there wringing our hands wondering what to do. So perhaps I should give Leonard the benefit of the doubt. He never fibbed to me about anything else.
Today the padre was telling us about what it takes to consecrate a church. I read somewhere that the rite is ancient and takes three hours. I also heard that it involves incense and holy salt and blessed cement. That is a wonderful idea, blessed cement! And you just know that St. Anthony's being an Italian church, cement had to figure in there somewhere.
Padre Secondo did not say that but he did did tell us of arcane rituals pertaining to the cornerstone and the altar and the relics that are placed in the altar.
Anyone who is as curious as I am about all this will enjoy this lengthy and exhaustive rundown of what it takes to consecrate a church. It is fascinating!
When they de-consecrate a church and return it to secular use it is not allowed ever to be used for profane purposes. Father Secondo told us that. There is another rite for de-consecrating a church. They remove the relics from the altar and also the Stations of the Cross.
That is sad to think about!
It makes me happy that my old church, St. Gerard's, is not going to have to be de-consecrated because it is being moved to Georgia. Here is a question. When Gerard's goes down to Georgia, will they have to re-consecrate it? Or will it count as already consecrated because it was consecrated up here in Buffalo?
How about the land at the corner of Bailey and Delavan where it sat? Will that have to be de-consecrated? Can that be used for any purpose or can it not be used for profane purposes?
Is a liquor store a profane purpose? How about a store selling 100 percent human hair? Because in that neighborhood with Gerard's gone those are the only two things that are there.
It is interesting, this business about holy water and oil and salt and cornerstones and objects acquiring supernatural significance. We will have to explore this subject more in the supernatural month of October.
As of right now, I must get out and take exercise. That is a Victorian phrase I am bringing back, to take exercise.
I might be mistaken but I think the sun is coming out!
Nah, can't be.