The Church of the Incarnation isn’t perfect. In fact, the topic of conversation during Sunday brunch often revolves around complaints about the day’s Mass: the architecture, the art, the musical instruments or the crying babies. But such negativity can easily divert attention from the fundamental blessings that the church provides for its students and parishioners.
Many complain that the tabernacle is not centrally located, and this is an important issue. More important still is the fact that we have a tabernacle. The church holds the Eucharist: The church holds God. The doors of the church are always unlocked, allowing continual access to all who might want to enter. The most important thing that any church can do is to celebrate the Eucharist in Holy Mass, which our church does on a more than daily basis. We have all this, while all over the country, Catholic churches must remain closed during the week for safety reasons and lack the means to celebrate daily Mass.
And it’s no small matter to have a full choir at every Sunday Mass. At one of the churches I attend at home, the cantor for the 8 a.m. Mass is a 70-year-old, tone-deaf man crooning the hymns. While I appreciate his ardor and selflessness, the community needs more volunteers for a choir. Fortunately, this is not a problem we have at the Church of the Incarnation. One may not be accustomed to the songs it sings or how it sings them, but we still have a choir that sounds good.
On a similar note, our congregation, student and non-student alike, really wants to be at Mass on Sunday. I speak mainly from my experiences at the morning Masses, but the people seem truly happy to be present: They greet each other amicably, participate in the songs and responses, and volunteer to help as altar servers, Eucharistic ministers and lectors. Even on a merely visual level, one often can see something as simple as a row of little boys in their matching shoes, pants, shirts and jackets; and while this image verges on cheesy, it also exhibits familial love and unity. At the Church of the Incarnation, the students can see the parishioners’ love for God and love for their community.
The sense of Christian love and community not only reaches the students and other parishioners, but reaches out beyond our campus by providing us with opportunities to help the less fortunate. Every week, the church hosts a canned-food collection that goes to Holy Cross Church to feed those in need. We are offered an extremely easy way to participate in acts of charity: I encourage you to buy a couple of cans during your next shopping trip and drop them off in the church. In light of all of these good things, instead of complaining at brunch next Sunday, perhaps strike up a conversation about the positive aspects of the Church of the Incarnation.