Until 2002, I was a member of Our Lady Queen of Peace (aka "St. Southgate") on 27th & Euclid. (Sponsor's Name Here)'s Official Son, Mitten had gone to grade school there from kindergarten through sixth grade. For various reasons, when I separated from the Devil Reincarnate, I stopped going to that church. Since then, I have been looking for a new church to attend where I feel comfortable. I know this is going to drive the touchy-feeley churchgoing readers crazy, but I don't want a touchy-feeley church.
I have attended bunches of other churches for varying lengths of time over the last five years, but none have grabbed me and made me think "This is it!". The closest that I have found was Gesu Parish (aka "The Church of the Downtown Jesus"), however, going downtown is quite a trek some mornings (the offset is some of the Marquette students of the female race that attend that church!) Maybe Gesu is the church for me.
Another concern is the cadre of immediate family members that I need to think of. Between My-Sugar-Na and all of my children and stepchildren, only Mitten would be regularly interested in attending weekly (and if really pressed, he would rather play his PSP anyway). In my mind, attending church is a family activity, and the entire family should attend. But getting the entire family ready, on time, in church clothes, and combed hair, and without me wanting to put any of them through the living room picture window is a major task that I must admit makes me stay home more often than I go.
First things first... I am a Catholic and will remain that. "Experiencing" a new religion is not on the board. Neither is "visiting" a different religion's services to "see what we have to offer". I'm a Catholic, baby.
Within the Catholic church, however, my God differs with many other's God. My God is vengeful, my God is ominous (for example, some people see God in a sunset, I see God in a severe thunderstorm on the horizon). Many people like a Mass (or Service) with a piano playing music, or an acoustic guitar, or even a band. Not me... the most innerds-rattling pipe organ is the music of choice for me. Church should not be comfortable, so no padded pews... and they must be hardwood pews, not folding chairs. Sheesh.
Some churches stand during the Eucharistic Prayer (between the Holy, Holy, Holy and the Lord's Prayer). Not me, I was born a kneeler, and I'll die a kneeler. And what is with the holding hands during the Lord's Prayer? Just because I want the Lord to bless all who are reciting it, doesn't mean I want to hold them, too.
And for goodness sakes, dress for church please? Slacks for everybody (jeans are OK if in decent shape) and NO shorts in the summer. Dangnabbit, almost all cars and churches are air conditioned... you can wear pants for two hours. I don't want my kids (nor anybody else) wearing T-shirts with writing or logoes on them (as much as I love the Packers, you can go a couple of hours without your garish green shirt. Same with your Dale Erhnardt shirt, your suggestive shirt and your "This is Marlboro Country" shirt). The dirty baseball hat can stay in the car, too. Mass manners, people!
OK, with all that laid out, what Milwaukee-area churches can I attend that fits the bill? "Pretty" Masses are out, touchy-feeley is out, and some modecum of decent dress would be appreciated.
You know the perfect church I found (but am afriaid to try to get my family to attend)? St. Hugh of Lincoln (aka "OK, maybe a little too traditional"). Check it out... they require head coverings for the females! Now to practice my Latin:
Adeste, fideles, laeti triumphantes;
Venite, venite in Bethlehem.
Natum videte Regem angelorum.
Venite adoremus, venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus, Dominum.
On a separate, semi-related note, my prayers go out to Fr. Len Van Vlaenderen (center), who was one of the priests at Our Lady Queen of Peace for about the entire time that I attended that church regularly. Fr. Len has been battling some personal demons, and I hope he can pull through them and get back to being one of my favorite priests.