i am tempted by tenebrae—for entirely heathenish reasons—i see there is a service tonight at st. alphonsus and i would like to see what their tenebrario looks like. st. alphonsus was built in 1845 and (their website informs me) was designed in the “Southern German neo-Gothic style” and “patterned after St. Stephen’s in Vienna.” okay. as a non-specialist, i might describe the style as “claustrophobic psychedelic sensory-overload old-world Catholic” and “crammed full of stuff”—as you can tell, i love the place. there’s a statue of st. martin high up over the main altar that i particularly like—he has a cute little goose with him that looks like an aged piece of decorative soap—if that makes any sense—anyway, i spent more than a few sundays squinting up at this statue from the altar rail, trying to figure out who the saint was by figuring out what the creature was—wondering if it was, in fact, a creature—wondering if it could be a goose—wondering why a bishop-type saint would have a goose with him—until i spoiled the mystery by informing myself all about st. martin’s goose-related miracle-anecdotes and associations—but of course now i spend my time at the altar rail thinking about curious folk traditions—(and how much i like stories with birds in them—and whether the altar boy holding the paten is grossed out—and how i should probably be thinking about the Real Presence but then again, it pleased God to give me a mind for minutiae)—and i digress. extremely. my point, to the extent that i have one, is that st. alphonsus is likely to have a nice-looking hearse—(which is what the special tenebrae candle-holder is called in english—i had forgotten this! i was talking to a friend this morning and trying to remember the word because i remembered it was strange and excellent—“it’s something really weird, like ‘buggy’ “)—all in keeping with (God forgive me) our rich Catholic heritage of stuff that is totally goth.
but tomorrow is the first day of the triduum—which is of course the latin for ‘big heaps of church.’ yeah. it’s a lot of church for a slack and crummy catholic. i had such an indifferent heathenish winter! i’m out of shape. i have to pace myself.