Saturday, October 8, 2011

Get Thee To the Church: Our Lady of Victory, State College, Pennsylvania

I've been here once before, the last time we made a pilgrimage to Joe's alma mater for a football game. Actually, it was Joe and his buddies who went to the game; I stayed behind at our friends' house where we were staying to entertain two-year-old Larry, and baby Curly. Moe wasn't even a gleam in our eyes yet. When we arrived at church on Sunday, it was crowded, and the priest invited families with young children to visit the "children's chapel" upstairs, a glassed-in balcony of sorts where there were comfortable seats, a changing table, and an unobstructed view of the goings-on in the church. Well, this would have been fabulous were it not for the families who let their kids use it as a playroom. One family in particular had two boys who clearly were old enough to know how to sit still in church, and they were crawling around on the floor playing with toy trucks, making loud truck noises. Every so often the unhappy-looking mother handed them MORE trucks. I didn't hear any of the Mass, and left church that day frustrated and annoyed.

That was twelve years ago.

It was much better this time around!

A very unusual sanctuary, but I didn't find it unattractive. I wonder if it's supposed to represent a grotto, like at Lourdes or someplace like that? (See all those organ pipes? We went to the folk Mass, so we didn't get to hear them. They played the guitar instead.)

I wasn't one hundred per cent certain that this was the tabernacle at first, to be honest, until one of the eucharistic ministers opened it up after communion. I've never seen one that looks like a golden egg.

I *think* this is their baptismal font. They've got it in an alcove in the back of the church.

I finally found the Stations of the Cross along one wall in the same area as the baptismal font.

Mass was crowded this day, too, and we ended up sitting in the front row. At this Mass, they were already singing the new translations of the Gloria and the Holy, Holy, Holy. I heard later that some parishes were already doing this, since the new translation begins in Advent when we don't sing the Gloria. I asked one of our priests about this the other day, and he said he hoped we would start using the new Gloria soon; otherwise we'll all show up on Christmas Day and be hit with something we've never seen or heard before.

(By the way, what's your take on the new translation? Personally, I love it, but at the same time I find myself feeling a little sad every time we say "and also with you," or some other phrase we won't get to say anymore. In Religious Ed, we're working with the kids to teach them the new translation, and I'm hoping to start sharing more here about the things I'm doing with my CCD class; maybe even starting this week--stay tuned for that!)

On any given weekend, Mass is the most important thing we do. Of course, it's also fun to visit other holy sites, like the Cathedral of Saint JoePa;

...or wait in an hour-long line at the Creamery Chapel;

...and, of course, to stop by the Shrine of the Nittany Lion.


  1. Fun site. I grew up and have returned to this church. Not sure about the grotto, but the tabernacle is rough,like the rock of the tomb,and egg shaped for life. The entire church has green supporting arches, like branches of a tree (of life). The railings are a new additions, to accomodate aging priest and Eucharistic Ministers, as are the images for the stations of the cross. 30 years ago we would all get up and walk to that area for stations, only represented by crosses with roman numerals. Now we hang banners in church during lent, and we stay in the pews while the priest walks to each station. The altar supports are like two hands holding up the table. It is a pretty neat church when you hear all the symbols. But, still very conservative congregation. In fact on of our boy scouts, for his Eagle Scout project, constructed a platform to place in front of the altar so we can have Latin Mass (priest on our side, facing altar) which is available once a month. (I have not been.) You are right about the "children's chapel." I went once and never returned. about 8 years ago we started a Children's Liturgy, so the 4-7 year olds could have their own Liturgy of the Word and return for Liturgy of the Eucharist. I also enjoyed see the photos of St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlottesville. We were members there when first married. They renovated the year we left. Nice to see the results.

  2. Thanks for visiting, Tracy, and thanks for your comments! I kind of thought the egg shape for the tabernacle was an image of new life, and I like the "tree of life" symbolism in the architecture, although you can't really see that in my photos here.

    I've switched to WordPress, and if you want to visit my new blog there, it's I haven't been posting much these last few months but I hope you'll stop by!


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