August 24, 2013
The largeness of the Church
I grew up in California, so very little surprises me. There are exceptions, however. During a recent stay in Berkeley, CA, I went to the Newman Center on a Monday, for Mass. The practice there at Newman Hall, of inviting the members of the congregation to voice, one by one, their own general intercessions -- a practice begun long before my happy and cherished law school days at Boalt (1990-93) but greatly 'utilized' during those years -- persists. On that Monday, one elderly, ardent, and articulate soul prayed, to my great astonishment, "for the conversion of Russia," and the sizable congregation replied, "Lord, hear our prayer."
Little about the Mass celebrated there at Newman resembles the Mass that included, after Low Mass, the Leonine Prayers, but the power of those prayers endures, as my recent experience demonstrates. The celebrant of the Mass on that Monday, Fr. Al Moser, who is 89 years old and whom I remember very fondly from the early '90s, breathes the presence of Christ. It's a joy to experience him celebrate the Mass, preach the Gospel, and share Holy Communion. I owe my relationship with Al Moser to Jack Coons.
During the same visit to northern California, I went to a parish in San Bruno, just south of San Francisco. There, posted (sic) in the vestibule, was a sign announcing "Price Increases." Baptism in that parish now *costs* more than it did before. Other sacraments also went up in price on that menu, in case you're wondering. I won't give you the numbers.