16 March 2011

Newman Hall/Holy Spirit Parish (Berkeley, CA)

Thank goodness it's Spring Break! I spent the beginning of my vacation in the Bay Area, visiting a friend from high school at UC Berkeley. On Sunday, I figured I'd check out UC Berkeley's Newman Center for Mass.

The Newman community at Berkeley has a huge facility close to campus. Their worship space is like no church I've ever seen, with stark stone walls, as well as a stone altar and podium. There was a large stone cross that appeared to be incorporated into the wall. I thought the stone was a very interesting choice, it reminded me of the biblical verse where Jesus tells Peter to build the church upon a rock.

There was a small student choir giving hymns at the Mass, and instead of hymn books, the lyrics to the hymns were displayed on a sharp-looking projection screen above the choir. I couldn't figure out exactly why they were doing this, but my guess was that not having hymn books was a way to save paper. All in all, a very cool, modern place to worship.

Cal Newman Center


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06 March 2011

Holy Redeemer Church

This has been a very busy semester for me, but I knew I should get back to this blog so as not to worry my regular readers (and by regular readers, I mean my mother, Fr. Blaise, and my loyal Catholic reader Patsy Anne, from Texas!). This week, I visited Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, near the border of Northwest and Northeast Washington, D.C. It was a short walk from the Mt. Vernon Sq./Convention Center Metro stop.

I was actually a little bit late for the 12:00 PM Mass, but it didn’t appear to matter. As I walked in, I found the entire church empty, except for myself, the woman setting up the Mass, and another parishioner who walked in the same time I did. They told me that the 9:15 AM Mass was more well-attended than the 12:00 PM one was (I made a note to come back and see the 9:15 Mass). They ended up starting the Mass around 12:15, and there were about six people present for the Mass, including the priest. The small crowd made for a very intimate service. My favorite moment came when everyone gathered in the aisle of the church building and held hands when praying the Our Father.

The church itself was reasonably sized, with a brick exterior, and a pentagonal shaped fa├žade with a circular window at the center. The inside of the church wasn’t overly decorated, with patterned white walls and a tabernacle of a variety of different types of stone and marble. They had stained glass panels along the sides of the church, but only a few at the front were really carved out. It appeared that they were a work in progress.

Father Bava gave what I thought was a fairly long homily for such a small audience, but he had some interesting things to say nonetheless. In this week’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells his disciples to build their faith upon rock, not upon sand. Father Bava told us, too, that we should base our actions on our faith in God, and not our desire for money or attention.

Holy Redeemer Church


Churches I've Been To So Far:
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