|1153: Sw. Jozefa w Podgorze, Krakow, Poland|
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Mystery Worshipper: Leo.
The church: Sw. Jozefa w Podgorze, Krakow, Poland.
Denomination: Roman Catholic.
The building: An over-the-top, baroque, kitschy building, both outside and inside.
The church: There was a preponderance of very attentive young people. I don't see that very often, coming from England, where the churchgoing young seem few and restless.
The neighbourhood: The Podgorze district of Krakow is the site of one of Poland's oldest Jewish communities and the place where, in 1941, the Nazis built two-metre-high walls to seal off the ghetto. More recently, Stephen Spielberg filmed much of Schindler's List here. Schindler's enamel factory, which now produces electric component parts, is nearby.
The cast: I could not find out the name of the celebrant. I will say, however, that he was handsomely vested in white.
The date & time: Thursday, 2 May 2005, 6.30 pm.
What was the name of the service?
Mszw swieta (holy mass), on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
How full was the building?
About 100 people (some two-thirds of whom were teenagers) turned out for this weekday evening mass.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Was your pew comfortable?
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Fairly quiet. Teenagers here seem better behaved than in most places I know.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
I don't speak Polish, but since everyone signed themselves during the opening words, I assume they were "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen."
What books did the congregation use during the service?
None, but the words of the songs were projected onto what I can only describe as a "gothic" screen suspended over the lectern – a white screen surrounded by ornate iron work.
What musical instruments were played?
Did anything distract you?
Whoever was operating the overhead projector kept flashing up what appeared to be the wrong words in the wrong places. The visuals looked as if they had been produced on an old typewriter.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Unstuffy, brisk but reverent.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
6 I didn't understand a word he said but I liked the fact that he was brief!
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
I would assume that the celebrant spoke either about the Gospel lesson or the significance of this particular feast day.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Being in a congregation with so many young people – maybe there is a future for Christianity.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Realising that when I returned to England, I would rarely, if ever, be in a congregation with such a diverse age-mix.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Nothing – the young people stayed quietly in their seats while a nun kept adjusting a microphone that emitted shrill noises. I guessed that perhaps a catechism class was about to take place.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
There was none.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
8 It seems to be thriving and growing.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The healthy age-mix.