Last week after RCIA I was invited by Brother Antoninus and Padre (Catholic Father at AU) to Sunday Mass at the Dominican House of Studies. So, after spending the day in Baltimore with my sister for my birthday, I woke up early to make my way to the Dominican House for the 11:15am Mass. So, I made my way to the ever dysfunctional Metro train with my white Sunday mantilla, and Missal (Catholic prayer book) in hand. When I arrived at the Dominican House I was slightly nervous about possibly being the only non monastic at the Mass as I did not see anyone else walk up to the front door of the House of Studies but I was not alone. Others were making their way to the entrance. I was very glad that Br. Antoninus had shown the sanctuary on a previous visit. I was one of the people to arrive at the House of Studies so I made my way to the sanctuary and pulled out my mantilla (chapel veil) to wear during Mass. The sanctuary was so beautiful when lit up and with the Brothers sitting in the choir.
The Mass started with two of the Brothers chanting the opening hymn in Plain Chant. From there the Mass continue with the Misse Ordo (Ordinary Mass). I was thankful to have my Sunday Missal with me that lays out the Order of the Mass. So, the mass was similar to the Ordinary Mass but their was more use of Plain Chant and Latin than in an typical Misse Ordo. The Kyrie, Gloria, and statement of the mysteries of faith where all chanted in Latin by the Brothers and the congregation with provided inserts in Latin. Then during the communion the Brothers took Communion first and then the rest of the congregation. What I loved about the Mass was the use of Latin, Plain Chant, and the breaking out of the incense at the beginning of Mass to incense and purify the high alter.
After Mass Br. Antoninus invited me to have brunch with the Brothers. Before brunch Br. Antoninus introduced me to a few other Brothers and showed around the cloister particularly the four statues of different Dominican saints that can be found in each corner of the cloister. Then the Brothers and a few of their guests lined up along the wall next and in front of the dinning hall to say the pre-meal prayer. The prayer that was said was The Angelus and Br. Antoninus kindly provided me with a copy of the prayer that is taped inside the cover of my Missal. The Angelus prayer is a follows:
The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit if thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Behold the handmaid if the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Pour fort, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.
After praying the Angelus the guests were introduced to the rest of the brothers. There were three other guests other than myself who were visiting family as far as I could tell. After introductions it was time to have brunch. Brunch was simple and modest but wonderful. The menu consisted of grits, sausages, hash, eggs, fruit, and pastries. I had girts, hash, sausages, a biscuit, and fruit. Br. Edmond, who taught RCIA last year, joined Br. Antoninus and I for brunch. We talked about Timothy, my boyfriend, and how he asked me out. This had Brs. Antoninus and Edmond laughing! I think Br. Edmond was a little shocked that we were dating. After catching up with Br. Edmond the three of us moved on to a new topic: The South. I made the attempt to describe Southern culture to Brs. Antoninus and Edmond but Southern culture is just one of those things that you have to live and experience to know what it is like. Br. Edmond and I talked about what it means to be truly Southern, specifically geographically and historically Southern versus culturally Southern. Br. Edmond holds onto geographically and historically Southern belief (making him and Maryland ‘Southern’) while I believe that being Southern is based off of geography, shared history, and being culturally Southern within the geographical South. Towards the end of brunch Padre, the Catholic priest at AU, joined us for brunch. At the end of brunch Br. Antoninus, Br. Edmond, and I part ways.