13 July 2010

St. Monica's Church (Santa Monica, CA)

It has been a few months since my last post, and I have been enjoying my summer back in California. I’ve enjoyed Mass a few times at my home parish, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, and I figured it was time to start exploring other churches in southern California. My mom suggested St. Monica’s in Santa Monica, which we had previously visited for a family wedding.

Built in 1926, St. Monica’s had much of the same feel as many of the churches I’ve visited in Washington, with a high, arched ceiling and two sets of colonnades leading to the altar. The church also had a touch of Spanish design, incorporating a beige color scheme and several iron chandeliers.

My mom specifically remembered the music at St. Monica’s, and it didn’t disappoint. The main cantor, a very talented woman, led a group of about ten singers and a full rock and roll band. They had the audience singing and clapping through the whole service. There was definitely a feeling of energy and community in the church; one of my favorite moments was when everyone crossed over the center aisle to hold hands as we recited the “Our Father.”

The priest, Fr. David, had an entertaining and important reflection on the day’s readings. He started by discussing the feeling of having love for someone who just wants to be friends, and cited old high school crushes, Ray Charles’ song “You Don’t Know Me,” and Jacob Black’s love for Bella in the Twilight series as examples of this feeling. (Father David said he rated movies based on how many homilies he can make out of them. He was disappointed that The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was only a “two-homily” movie.) He said that this feeling is what God experiences when we sometimes “just want to be friends” with Him. Most of us, he said, are still falling deeper in love with God. He called on the congregation to pray for God’s grace, and reminded them that in the story of the Good Samaritan, we are the robber’s victim and God is the Good Samaritan, who helps us up and nurses our wounds.

After Mass, I was chatting with someone who told me that Arnold Schwarzenegger was sitting a few rows behind me during Mass. I’m always very skeptical of such claims, but sure enough, I spotted the Governor chatting with a few parishioners outside the church after Mass. I got the feeling that he was a regular at this Mass because there didn’t seem to be a throng of people around him. I managed to get a quick picture of him before he left. Wonder who I’ll run into next week!

St. Monica's Website


The Governator Himself:

Churches I've Visited in California So Far:

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