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2049: St Joan of Arc, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
St Joan of Arc, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Photo: retled3
Mystery Worshipper: Noogalator.
The church: St Joan of Arc, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
Denomination: Roman Catholic, Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
The building: The building, in the Roman basilica style, dates from 1929 and is the work of Chicago ecclesiastical architect Henry J. Schlacks, who based his design on two Roman churches: Santa Pudenziana and St Paul Outside the Walls. The exterior is notable for its fine portico and very Italian looking campanile. The interior is rich in mosaics. The high altar, sitting under a baldacchino topped by figures of St Joan of Arc and St Michael the Archangel, was hewn out of marble from Pisa. Stained glass windows depict the seven sacraments and scenes from the life of Jesus.
The church: They sponsor a number of social and spiritual groups all documented on their website. Each year they hold a French Market, a festival of food, music and crafts.
The neighborhood: The church is very near the Indiana State Fair Grounds. In fact, the state fair was in progress at the time of my visit, and "state fair folk" made up a fair portion of the congregation.
The cast: The Revd Guy Roberts, pastor.
The date & time: Saturday, August 21, 2010, 5.30pm.

What was the name of the service?
Mass.

How full was the building?
The left side was full of visitors, as it was a reunion weekend for their school, but the rest of the nave was more spread out.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes. I was greeted by a nun as I waited in the confessional line. She shook my hand and told me a little about the history of the church.

Was your pew comfortable?
Yes. They were wooden, but they were very comfortable.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Noisy! As it was a reunion weekend for their school, there was a lot of noise!

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
A hymnal entitled Gather Comprehensive.

What musical instruments were played?
Organ and Piano.

Did anything distract you?
Yes. There is no air conditioning in the church and the temperature outside was in the upper 80s to near 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If I had known about the lack of air conditioning, I would not have worn a vest! The noise level before the service was also a little distracting.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Very reverent within the Roman Catholic tradition.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
10 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
9 – The pastor preached well.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Salvation and the fact that there is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The musical accompaniment and the sermon itself. But then again the holy mass is heaven on earth!

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The heat! While they had fans going, it was still very hot within the building! For the 21st century the church really needs air-conditioning!

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Since it was a reunion weekend, all of the members of that class gravitated to one side of the nave and then we just left. I did feel a little out of place not knowing anybody there.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
They did not have any coffee.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
5 – Since the church that I regularly attend in Indiana has been disappointing me recently, I have thought about making this my home church, but I would have a hard time with that since it is so hot in the building during the summertime.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The quality of the sermon! It was very good.
 
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