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of Our Lady of Lourdes, Spokane, Washington, USA
Worshipper: The Roamin' Catholic.
of Our Lady of Lourdes, Spokane, Washington, USA.
A large church of red brick in the Italian Romanesque Revival
style, begun in 1903 and elevated to the status of cathedral
in 1913. Steep stairs lead to the great west bronze doors,
but the side entry is easier for access. The inside is simply
beautiful, featuring ornate stained glass windows and the
sacrifice of Cavalry depicted on the high altar. The cathedral
was beautifully decorated for Christmas.
As a parish church, the cathedral hosts among their ministries
a chapter of the Knights of Columbus and a social concerns
group that carries out projects to help those in need. There
are two masses each weekday plus the Saturday vigil mass,
and three masses on Sunday mornings plus one in the evening.
The sacrament of reconciliation is administered on Wednesdays
and Saturdays, with exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament
held at the conclusion of the Saturday schedule.
Spokane is a city on the eastern edge of the state of Washington,
bordering Idaho. Served by four railroads (Northern Pacific;
Union Pacific; Great Northern; and Chicago, Milwaukee, St
Paul and Pacific), Spokane became one of the most
important transportation hubs in the western United States
by the early 20th century. However, the railroads are gone
now, and the city suffered a steady decline as the century
wore on. Spokane's fortunes revived briefly after it hosted
the Expo '74 World's Fair, but became stagnant once again
during the recession of the late 70s and early 80s. In the
21st century Spokane has experienced a revitalization of the
downtown area that includes renovation of old landmark structures
as well as new modern construction. The game known as speedball
(sort of a cross between football and soccer), an essential
part of many high school physical education programs, was
invented in the late 1970s at Spokane's Lewis & Clark
The Revd Jeff Lewis, parochial vicar, was celebrant and homilist.
He was assisted by a deacon whose name was not given.
The date & time:
Christmas Day, December 25, 2011, 10.00am.
What was the name of
Mass for Christmas Day.
How full was the building?
About three-quarters full.
Did anyone welcome you
A musician greeted us outside as he was arriving with his
instrument in tow. At the door, ushers very well trained
ushers welcomed us and provided handouts including
special music. We were early and so we found our own seats.
Was your pew comfortable?
Standard hard pew nice kneelers.
How would you describe
the pre-service atmosphere?
Very welcoming yet reverent. The musician greeting us outside
was a nice touch, we thought. People seemed to be arriving
on time and there was some "merry Christmasing" as people
came in and greeted their friends. Some folks, including myself,
went up to see the Nativity crèche.
What were the exact
opening words of the service?
"Welcome and merry Christmas" spoken by the
What books did the congregation
use during the service?
Song sheets and missalettes.
What musical instruments
Organ and other instruments. The musicians and choir were
in the loft behind us.
Did anything distract
Some of the architectural and decorative features of the cathedral
were a pleasant distraction.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
Standard well done Catholic liturgy with excellent music.
Exactly how long was
On a scale of 1-10,
how good was the preacher?
10 The young priest spoke with great vigor. This young
man is a blessing! I complimented him afterwards.
In a nutshell, what
was the sermon about?
He tied the scripture readings to the present day and brought
things into perspective.
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
The singing and organ playing were outstanding!
And which part was like
being in... er... the other place?
The distribution of communion left a lot to be desired. Eucharistic
ministers were stationed at various points, but for every
two who were ministering the hosts, there was only one chalice
bearer. This caused congestion. The two with the hosts on
our side stood much too close together.
What happened when you
hung around after the service looking lost?
Father Lewis and the deacon were available at the back of
the church. We wished them a merry Christmas and I complimented
Father Lewis on his homily, but we did not linger after that.
How would you describe
the after-service coffee?
Being Christmas, I doubt that they had a hall set up for fellowship.
How would you feel about
making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 =
9 If I lived in Spokane, yes, but unfortunately I live
1200 miles away.
Did the service make
you feel glad to be a Christian?
What one thing will
you remember about all this in seven days' time?
It has been seven days and I remember the homily.
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