On Sunday, January 15, 2012 I attended St. Paul’s Parish in Combined Locks, Wisconsin. This was my third time attending this Catholic church in the past year. Coming from a Lutheran background, there are many similarities between the two churches, but enough for me to distinguish the differences and feel a little out of place. As I sat down I looked around and noticed that the age gap between the audience was newborn to 90. The priest had to accommodate his speech so that all listeners would be able to relate. In order to do this he invited the children of the audience to the front of the congregation to give them a more simple version of the lesson he would give to the rest of the congregation a little later on. It was a great way to get the younger kids’ attention.
When he gave the sermon he discussed what our place in the world was, whether we were to stay single and independent, get married, become nuns or priests, whatever the reason may be, he encouraged his audience to find God and figure out why we are here on earth. During the sermon he varies his voice well, but does not make very good eye contact. He relied heavily on his speech that he had written out and he didn’t use any hand gestures. I am used to my pastor talking and sounding very excited about his sermon, rarely looking at his notes, and moving around in front of the alter in a swift way. This priest never moved from behind his podium, which made him see nervous and inexperienced in delivering an attention grabbing sermon. One thing that he did a wonderful job on was including pauses which gave the congregation time to reflect on what he was saying.
Overall, my experience at this church was great. It was interesting comparing prayers and communion rituals to that of my own religion. I learned many different hand gestures and movements that the congregation gives simultaneously as a response to the priest.