I often complain about liturgy, yet I would like to take the time to thank the priests, choirs, and staff of Immaculate Conception in downtown Jacksonville. I came into the Catholic Church at this parish and have been greatly impressed by the people in this parish. Being downtown where there are few residential housing this church still draws people for four Masses on Sundays. Many homeschooling families bring their families to this parish. The current Church was built in 1911 and the original one was burned down by the North during the Civil War. Being a geek it is surprising that I have not yet acquired a digital camera. When I do I will be able to display the beautiful high altar, tabernacle, and stained glass windows. Beyond just the architecture what draws people is the totally non stuffy orthodoxy of the priests who serve there. There is never the concern about the liturgy being played with and the choir has been steadily improving.
I have been blessed to hear lectures on Carmelite spirituality by the pastor Fr. Leon. He is a Spanish priest who after being ordained came to the United States. His talks on St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Therese were not just a reciting from the works of these saints, but explained with the obvious help of his deep prayer life. This unassuming and humble priest inspires those around him and is, I believe, a model parish priest.
I am not always able to attend this parish, though I wish I could. On Sundays they have a Latin Mass and on the first Sunday of each month they do a combination Latin/Vernacular Mass like what it done on EWTN. Today as a guest homilist they had what appeared to be a Dominican. He beautifully chanted the Gospel and in the best tradition of the Office of Preachers, preached an excellent homily on Pride, Humility, Humor and Marriage.
We hear so much of those who have fallen but not enough of those faithful priests who day after day preach the good news by action and word. Also those men and women who do so much in the Church, to assist in the liturgy, the education of children, helping the poor, and the millions of unknown people who pray for the Church.