Monday, November 2, 2015

Mass in Quebec

Travelling between provinces is not recommended on weekends when there is a time change. It is just too confusing.

That said, I left Nova Scotia early Saturday morning and arrived to stay the night in Edmunston NB. I had checked on mass times at the cathedral there and was set to go to Mass at 9:15 am and then hit the road for Ontario.

I had forgotten that this meant a double whammy. This weekend, we observed Daylight Savings time which means turning the clocks back on Saturday night (actually early Sunday morning, at 2 am) in order to get an extra hour of daylight in the mornings. Kind of sad that this means losing an hour of daylight at the end of the day, and night now drops down on us at 5 pm.

Even though I took French in high school, I still get confused by basic differences. Like thinking "est" means west since it is just missing the w.  This resulted in taking Highway 30 east rather than west when I got to Montreal. But I also made an error in NB when reading the sign outside the basilica for Mass times. One sign in French, one in English and I somehow thought "great, there is a 7:15 am Mass Sunday morning as well as 7:15 pm on Saturday" - no stupid, you just saw 7:15 written in both English and French and concluded there were actually two different masses.

So this means I woke up early Sunday morning, went to the basilica and wondered why no one showed up but me. Duh, when I realised my stupid mistake, I debated whether to wait in Edmunston for the 9:15 mass or head towards Quebec and find a mass there. I figured there was plenty of time and there would be plenty of churches in Quebec so off I went towards Riviere de Loup.

I had no clue of that small city, but it is built on a hillside and you can actually look for steeples and head towards them. So I easily found one church, which had no signs at all for Mass times. The place looked deserted and I wondered if it was closed. I headed towards the next steeple in the distance, and saw that this church had mass at 10:30 which would be just great. So then it was off to find Tim's for breakfast.

What I failed to realise was that the clocks go back at the Quebec border and I had in fact lost two hours on Saturday night, not just the one I had accounted for. Tim Hortons in Riviere de Loup had two clocks, both with different times and I was really puzzled as to the real time.

Final result was that I just had to do the wait for Mass in Riviere de Loup and ended up in the first church for a 10:15 Mass. I got there at ten to nine, so plenty of time for personal prayer, gazing at all the stained glass windows and the stations of the cross. Quebec churches are beautiful and someone is keeping them up well inside. The floors gleamed and it looked very well cared for. Probably a team of lay people who are doing all this work.

Mass was incredibly short for a Sunday mass. I timed the homily, five minutes exactly and read from a script, none of which I understood. Bad music, sorry but a young adult choir with an organ that sounds like French dance songs is not very inducive to prayer or worship.

And of course, the problem we see everywhere but perhaps even worse in this once-Catholic province. A church filled with people upwards of 60 years old. I could count on two hands the number of people under 50.

What is the future for this church and all the others like it? Without a younger generation bringing up the rear, they will be abandoned. There isn't the money to pay for the upkeep and there certainly isn't the manpower to do the work required to maintain them.

Definitely a smaller church on the horizon, as Pope Benedict foretold. Not everywhere, I know there are some churches experiencing booming attendance and there are some parishes that are having great growth. We even have one of those in Halifax - St. Benedict's parish in Clayton Park. But the vast majority are declining in numbers, in financial means, and in the necessary manpower to keep them open. I won't even mention the lack of young priests to take over, that one is perfectly obvious.

A sad state of affairs. I wonder what is down the road for our church. Whatever it is, it is coming soon in the next 10 to 15 years.


Rebecca said...

Do you remember we went to mass together in Rivière du Loup years ago? We were driving with Kinsey and Angel and it was about negative one million degrees outside. I remember listening to the homily and we turned to each other and said, "did he just say Saddam Hussein had been captured?" Then we found the paper and realized that yes, that was what he had said.

Julie Culshaw said...

I had forgotten that. I do remember how cold it was and you fell on the ice when Angel pulled you over. And I remember seeing a French woman wrapped up in a fur coat with high heel boots, they really do know fashion there.
I had forgotten about Saddam Hussein, that is funny.