President Biden attended Mass this Sunday at Georgetown’s Holy Trinity Catholic Church, a Jesuit Church. The Mass doesn’t begin until about four and a half minutes into the video below, but get your gin and tonic and enjoy the soothing bar music as you prepare for Mass. Also look at the church building. There are many aspects of it that I like. The altar and ambo are beautiful and go with the architecture of the building. Things are clean and tasteful. But that cross, nice but not there. A crucifix is needed.
For about the first 11 years of the my ordination and because I was formed by the Sulpicians who staffed my seminary in Baltimore, I would have been creative with the altar candles as they are at Georgetown. And the Sulpicians and Jesuits are very similar liturgically. And guess what, Sulpician Father Eugene Walsh lived in Washington, DC during his most influential time on the liturgy. What you see here is Fr. Walsh’s ethos for the liturgy. He influenced the Jesuits countrywide.
I knew Fr.Walsh very well. He was best friends with my pastor at my first parish assignment in Albany, Georgia where Fr. Walsh would visit frequently. He was there for Holy Week and attended from the congregation. I had the Good Friday liturgy at which he took a photo of me holding up the cross for veneration. It made it to the cover of one of his pamphlets.
You see Fr. Walsh’s influence on this celebrant who is maybe my age or a bit older. Fr. Walsh influenced a whole nation of priests and seminarians in the 1970’s and well into the 80’s. This influence created very friendly, smiley, folksy celebrants for Mass where the friendliness of the priest was the single most important thing for the celebrant with a lot of off-the-cuff banter prior to the penitential act, prior to the readings, during the homily and after the post Communion Prayer. Banter, banter, banter or mini homilies here, there and everywhere! The cult of the personality of the priest at Mass is due in large part to Fr. Eugene Walsh.
And no Gloria at this Sunday Mass. We were taught in the 70’s if a hymn isn’t sung, don’t say it!
I was puzzled watching the video before Mass began as to where the celebrant’s chair is. There are two side chairs, is one of those it??? And of course the altar is removed from the top of the three steps where it originally was. But it appears that nothing is up there. It looks so vacant. But is that true, nothing is up there? Make sure you watch the beginning of Mass to see where the priest presides and sits.
As I post this, I did not watch the entire Mass (great camera system by the way) so I don’t know if this is the Mass President Biden attended or not. This parish is very progressive. It is what I was taught in the late 1970’s a post Vatican II parish should be liturgically and otherwise.