Reviews for SPRING BREAK
a chapter 2 . 11/28/2012
It's too bad Theresa didn't take Joan to Easter vigil mass instead of Easter morning mass. Joan wouldn't have been so bored. Everyone is given a candle as they enter the church. Then to start things off, a bonfire is lit in the back of the church. The new Easter candle has the appropriate symbols carved into it and is then lit from the fire. Candles are lit and then the flames are passed from person to person until everyone in the church is holding a lit candle. (The fire is put out.) The entire first portion of the mass is done by candlelight. There are far more readings than at any other mass and they start with Genesis 1:1-2:2 (or 1:1, 26-31), the story of Adam and Eve. Then they move through the Old Testament (including stories of Abraham, Moses, and Noah) and into the New Testament. When it's time for the Gospel all the lights are thrown on and trumpets are sounded and the choir starts singing boldly and joyfully and the church bells are rung. Then comes the story of the resurrection. (The story of the passion is traditionally read on Good Friday, but I have heard it on Easter morning.) The vigil mass also includes the blessing of the holy oils and of the holy water. And any adults joining the Catholic Church are baptized (including kneeling in a small plastic pool filled with water while water is poured over their heads) and confirmed at the Easter vigil mass. Then everyone renews his or her baptismal promises before communion. The priest does use a palm frond (or a special tool) to fling holy water on the parishioners at all of the masses during the Easter season, but other than that (and the content and decor) Easter morning mass is pretty standard.

Actually, there's quite a bit of deviation from a "standard" mass during the Lenten and Easter seasons. Ash Wednesday I think is familiar to everyone. On Palm Sunday the palms are handed out as you enter the church and most churches lead the parishioners through some sort of procession. Then on Holy Thursday there's the Washing of the Feet and the Eucharist is removed from the tabernacle and carried in procession around the church before being placed on a table for benediction (which lasts until midnight). The tabernacle is left open and empty. (Normally it is kept closed and veiled.) The story of the Last Supper and the Agony in the Garden are read. Then on Good Friday services are held in the middle of the day despite it being a weekday (and although it isn't uncommon for churches to offer an evening service 3pm is traditional). It's not considered a mass because there is no consecration of the Eucharist. The cross is unveiled (during Lent they are hidden underneath purple or gray fabric) and the priest carries it through the church. Then the cross is placed at the front of the church and everyone is invited forward to kneel before it and touch it (or kiss it). This is done in complete silence. After that, leftover Eucharist from Holy Thursday is distributed. The readings for the day always include the story of the Passion. Most churches also have Stations of the Cross or some sort of cross-walk at noon before the 3pm service. (Or directly before an evening service.) And some churches have a "Midnight Wait by Tomb" during which parishioners are invited to stay and pray in front of the cross in the mostly dark church until midnight (or leave and come back after supper). There is no mass on Holy Saturday (at least not until Easter vigil) but some churches will have a special blessing in the morning, the blessing of the Easter foods. People can bring their Easter baskets or hams or whatnot to the church to be blessed. Then on Pentecost some churches will have multi-lingual masses. The Pentecost mass at the church I attend (or sometimes attend, I don't always go to the same one) uses 6-7 different languages during the mass; including, German, English, Vietnamese, and whatever other languages the priest can find a volunteer to speak. And of course there are all sorts of prayer groups and bible study groups that meet during Lent, as well as gatherings for Stations of the Cross or taize prayer and communal confession.

Catholic masses don't have sermons. They have homilies. There is no standard book of them. Each homily is created by the priest giving it. The only guideline that I know of is that they must relate to the day's readings, especially the gospel. They vary in length, content, and style depending on the priest giving them. I distinctly recall one young priest (who was at the parish to be guided during his first years of priesthood by the older parish priest) who got rather flustered while beginning his homily and loudly declared, "Do good. Avoid evil." and that was the homily for the day. There are also priests that talk for long stretches of time and get rather off-track. Many priests tell personal stories. I even knew one priest who gave parish announcements when he was supposed to be giving a homily. (I got rather frustrated and switched churches.) Announcements are usually made after the mass is over.

Also, Joan should not have received communion, as she is not actually Catholic.

And, as with everything in life, what you put into mass effects what you get out of it. If all you do is kneel when everyone else does and repeat responses to go along with the crowd than, no, you won't get much out of the experience. Sincere prayer and meditation on the heavy dose of scripture go much further.
CharlesTheBold chapter 6 . 6/28/2011
Tyler's story is a suggestive mirror-image of Joan's. What would Joan's life be like if she thought that God, rather than the devil, had taken away her betrothed?
SamoaPhoenix9 chapter 6 . 6/26/2011
::facepalm:: Here we go again. Finally Joan has realized she's supposed to be with Dylan (I knew it all along!) and now Dylan's going to go all jealous again. I hope Joan can work this out with him quickly in the next installment rather than stringing us along.
CharlesTheBold chapter 4 . 6/19/2011
It's interesting to look back and see signs that Joan might have been manipulated. Her uncharacteristic "I'm going to seduce him" declaration, and her willingness to blab about unpleasant family matters to Tyler, all should have been clues that she was somehow being lured toward Tyler. Interesting to hear his explanation - some sort of evil power, or a neutral power like that lady's in the previous story?
SamoaPhoenix9 chapter 4 . 6/17/2011
Oh, wow, you had to drop that bomb on us at the end of the chapter. The fallout ought to be fun. As usual, you can spin a fantastic story. Looking forward to more!

Jillian chapter 3 . 6/12/2011
I'm so glad I checked back. For some reason, I either didn't get (or missed) a new chapter alert. I am excited to see where this thing with Tyler goes. And I'm curious as to what everyone at the office knew about Joan and what they were thinking as she walked by.
CharlesTheBold chapter 3 . 6/12/2011
So Joan finally has a confidante to whom she can speak frankly about her non-God problems. Wonder if Joan will entrust her with the big secret? Hope Tyler doesn't ruin everything.
SamoaPhoenix9 chapter 2 . 6/5/2011
...interesting. Joan seems to spawn instruments of God as she goes along. Good thing Steve couldn't tell Joan is a powerful instrument of God or he'd have been even more freaked out on seeing her again than he already was.
CharlesTheBold chapter 2 . 6/5/2011
So you're still using the opportunity to fill in Joan's background. An interesting new idea, that people (and not just relatives) become "instruments of God" because their lives intersect with Joan's.
CharlesTheBold chapter 1 . 6/3/2011
Nice idea, letting Joan's visit to Chicago allow an overview of her past. I suppose from here the story can develop in any of several directions: Tyler, Mr. Baker, or a secret from Joan's past.
Jillian chapter 1 . 6/3/2011
It seems you so often end with a shocker. :D I promise, you don't need a cliffhanger to keep me hooked.