|986: The Church of the Resurrection, Sutton, Dublin, Ireland|
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|Mystery Worshipper: Peaceangel.
The church: The Church of the Resurrection, Bayside, Sutton, North Dublin, Ireland.
Denomination: Roman Catholic.
The building: This is a modern building, about mid-1960s construction, of red brick and white painted woodwork, with large triangular windows. The windows let in lots of light, so the interior is bright and airy.
The church: There are plenty of activities offered in the adjacent community centre, such as a craft club which makes the decorative wall hangings used in the church. There is a weekly parish newsletter about local events connected with the church, featuring a "Questions People Ask" section. All in all, the church seems to fit in very well with the local community.
The neighbourhood: The church is situated right in the centre of a large, fairly middle class housing estate, facing the carpark which serves both it and the small shopping centre beside it.
The cast: The celebrant was the Rev. Joe Kelly, and the prayers and lessons were read by a woman named Carmen.
|What was the
name of the service?
11.00am Mass for the feast day Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King.
How full was the building?
It was about one-half to two-thirds full, but there are four masses each Sunday morning and one at night, which I understand are well attended.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
It was a fairly quick changeover between the 10.00am mass letting out and people arriving for the 11.00am service, so there was no time for an actual personal welcome. However, during the exchange of peace there were lots of friendly handshakes.
Was your pew comfortable?
They were hard, wooden, cushionless long pews, but the kneelers were covered with plastic and were at the right distance from the pews to be used comfortably.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
The choir had started to sing the antiphon just as we were arriving, and this provided a good lead-in for worship.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
What books did the congregation use during the service?
There were no books but we were provided with a service sheet.
What musical instruments were played?
A small but pleasant-sounding pipe organ.
Did anything distract you?
There was a second offering, which threw me a bit! The first was for parish funds and the second was for the St Vincent de Paul charity, but they were both handled quickly and efficiently.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
More quiet and contemplative than anything. The choir was good, and people seemed to prefer to listen to them rather than join in. The choir sang all the usual chants, many in Latin.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 Father Kelly is an older man, open and friendly. He was able to get his message across clearly and succinctly in a seven minute homily, without the usual expanding of points I'm used to in a 20-minute Presbyterian sermon.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Father preached on one of the day's readings, 2 Samuel 5:1-3, about David being anointed king of Israel. Kings are associated with palaces, wealth and power, but power can be corrupted. We all have power, for good or evil. Jesus the King used his power for good. Even in death he was still reconciling and healing others, and we all have that power as Christians.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The choir sang as well as any heavenly choir! And the thought of me, an Irish Protestant, worshipping together with Catholic Christians was heavenly.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
As I left the building, I noticed an overflowing trash bag in which a large dog had discovered a juicy bone!
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I read the notices and looked at the Advent calendars and Christmas cards being sold. The lady selling them made some friendly remarks. Then I went out and spoke to the priest and he said he was pleased to welcome me there.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
It seemed too quick a turnaround to provide coffee, though I saw some parishioners go into the nearby parish hall where there may have been refreshments.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
1 It is too far from home, though if I lived there I might consider it. However, it is a big step in Ireland to convert from Protestant to Catholic.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Oh, yes, very definitely. I really felt part of the whole Irish Christian community.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
Feeling I had "crossed the divide" in a very positive way, and realising that there was nothing at all to be worried about in doing so! This may seem an obvious point to most people who read this, but anyone who comes from Northern Ireland will understand the real sense of a solid wall which prevents many from taking a step like this!