Cathedral of Saint Raphael

Posted On October 29, 2009

Filed under Religion

Comments Dropped one response

St. Raphael's

St. Raphael's Cathedral in Dubuque, Iowa

Dubuque, Iowa. Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009. Catholic.

Enthusiasm level (1 to 10, highest 10): 6

Average age of congregation: across-the-board (We were seated next to a college-aged girl, in front of us a toddler dumped her goldfish crackers and Life cereal over the pew, behind us a little boy drove his toy race car around our heads)

Serves donuts/coffee: no

Dressy attire: no (we saw lots of jeans)

Believes in Hell: yes. Plus, you get a bonus. Purgatory!

Sermon quote: “The Church was slow to accept the Copernican Theory because it threw the Bible into a dither.”

The moment had arrived.

It was our time to walk through the doors of the Cathedral of St. Raphael. Courtney reached toward the door and tugged. Nothing.

Our first church adventure began with an epic failure. Oh well, the next door wasn’t locked. The only person who welcomed us to church pointed toward those lovely little books with song lyrics inside and told us we had to sing. Sorry, friendly guy, but we only joined the first verse of Amazing Grace.  Maybe we’ll sing more next time.

It is traditional for people to genuflect, or kneel briefly on one knee, before taking a seat at a Catholic mass. Before sitting, we staked out in the back and observed other parishioners kneel on their right knee alongside the pews before they sat. Easy to mimic? No. Stacey had the most difficulty. For some unknown reason, she actually ended up kneeling halfway on both of her knees, like a half-ass curtsy. She quickly slid into a pew, hoping no one noticed.

Courtney was discouraged by communion. It’s an exclusive club (Catholics only) and she wasn’t invited.  However, our book encouraged us to “express in our hearts a prayerful desire for unity with Lord Jesus.”

Catholics do give a free communion pass to some other churches, including the Orthodox Church, Assyrian Church of the East and the Polish National Catholic Church. Though they didn’t check anyone’s church ID up at the altar, we remained kneeling on those convenient little padded bars. What ingenuity!

As the congregation lined up for communion, we watched in shock, and a little horror, as they sipped wine from the same cup. Seriously, this the day after the President declared H1N1 a national emergency? Don’t tell me wiping the rim of the glass with a handkerchief will disinfect it. Icky.

Our favorite part of the service was the greeting. Having someone give you a genuine smile, shake your hand and say, “peace be with you,” is not something that happens to us everyday.

In all, our first Catholic mass was a little confusing, a little entertaining and we still have a lot to learn.


One Response to “Cathedral of Saint Raphael”

  1. Erik Hogstrom

    The sipping from the same cup has always concerned me a little.

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