Dan Burke is an award-winning author, writer, and speaker on Catholic spirituality. He has written and/or edited nine books on faithful Catholic spirituality and is the President and Chief Operating Officer of EWTN News, Inc. Dan is the president of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and the creator of Divine Intimacy Radio and SpiritualDirection.com.
In St. Ignatius’ eighth rule of discernment he admonishes us that when we are in desolation we should comfort ourselves that we “will soon be consoled.” And so it is that on the final leg of our vacation trip home we encountered a jewel of Catholic worship in Dallas, Texas. As God in His providence obviously provided, we selected a parish purely based on our interest in the beautiful architecture and convenience of location. He had much more in store for us than we could have ever anticipated.
The Church truly was stunning. Adding to the beauty was the delightful surprise of a faithful liturgy. Here’s my litany of what was done right to balance against the lament of my last post “Tidings of Discomfort and Liturgical Abuse.”
- The architecture was stunning and thus in keeping with the norms - tabernacle centered on a high altar behind a elegant and substantial white marble low altar.
- The sanctuary was treated as a sanctuary - with reverence, calm, and order.
- Silence was observed before mass so that we were able to pray and prepare our hearts to worship.
- The priest faithfully prayed within the bounds and beauty of the missal.
- “Pride of place” was given to sacred polyphony and chant perfectly led by a single cantor and grand pipe organ (throughout the entire Mass).
- The lectors did a find job in their readings and had obviously been well trained.
- The homily was thoughtful, focused on the readings, and practically applied.
- The “Agnus Dei” was in Latin and appropriately sung.
- All hymns were reverent, joyful, and in keeping with the season.
- The nativity display was magnificent in detail and positioned away from the altar with prayer candles.
All received communion kneeling at an ornate marble communion rail.
As you might expect, the environment was transcendent and a powerful draw of the heart to a disposition of worship. So much so that my children remarked that they were not distracted and my wife was moved to tears at the communion rail.
If you live in the Dallas area or are traveling through, please don’t miss the 7:30 AM Sunday Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church on 6306 Kenwood Avenue. If you would like to get a taste of the music and environment, here’s a Youtube link for your enjoyment.
This is a great example of how the Mass can and should be as guided by the wise and beautiful boundaries of the magisterium of the Church.
God’s blessings to you on the Feast of the Holy Family.