Monday, June 30, 2008

An Angelic Weekend

(sorry, I know it's Wednesday already. I been busy!)

For those of you who are not remotely interested in the goings on of the Boston Celtics, the Angel of Mercy has answered your prayers: the NBA Finals are over and I won't be blogging about them again until the end of the year. Does the Angel of Mercy even handle prayer complaints? I don't know, but it's a super way to transition from Celticapalooza to the theme of the post, the theme of my weekend: assorted angel related affairs.

Saturday morning, dewy24, CJ, Cjr, P, and I headed out to Western Mass for our college friend SO'M's ordination as a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Springfield, which happens to be my childhood diocese. And since it was a priest ordination mass all the fathers and padres and deacons and pastors and bishops were out in full papal force to welcome their new brothers (or co-fathers?). So I felt compelled (Catholic guilt?) to go say hello to the two priests that I grew up with at Sacred Heart. "Hi Father _____. Danny Nolan from Sacred Heart. Just wanted to say hello. S's a friend of mine." One of them (the one I always thought was a dick) seemed to remember me and was friendly and said how much they all liked Fr. O'M, but didn't seem compelled enough to stop text messaging on his phone or ask me about myself. The other one didn't seem to remember me but said something like "oh, yes. Hello. Thanks for stopping." They must have smelled the sin on me. Oh, Danny. We had such high hopes for you. You could have been in the Cloth like us. When I was an 8 year old at Catholic School, under their soul supervision, I asked one of them, I forget which, how they knew they were supposed to be a priest and they said they just got a calling from God. And my immediate reaction was "Oh no. I'm going to get the calling. I know it." I wasn't just a Catholic kid growing up; I really bought it. During one period, after a noise in the night prompted me to offer a deal to God if he could save me and the fam, I was in the habit of praying for 45 minutes a night. But the Church couldn't faith me out of my rationalism and a couple years later I began my journey away from faith. That was about 25 years ago. And it's been about 20 years since I actually believed in God. The Catholic Church planted one of their crucifixes deep into my skull and it took a long time for me to get my head back. (is it back? why do I still pen titles like Business Casual Stag Devil Death Boy?) I've been to many masses since (weddings, funerals, Jesuit vows), but masses like that are about 45 minutes long. This one was a good solid priestapalooza hour and a half. Ninety reverent minutes in which my friend was finalizing his decision to take a leadership role in an organization that I have major ideological problems with. But I went to support him. But I also felt like I was betraying those who are discriminated against by or otherwise hurt by this organization. And those are very close to me. And close to him. It was troubling to say the least. But he knows that I feel this way. How do you be supportive of a close friend who is making a choice that you find to be deeply misguided? Tough one. I mean, of course there are good people in the Church. The Catholic parish in Detroit where my relatives go is extremely progressive in their ministry. Maybe one day, S will be like their bishop, anti-war and anti-homophobia hero, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton. But then again, guess what happens to progressive bishops like him in Pope Benedict's Catholic Church: mandatory retirement. My aunt (who used to be a nun and worked with Gumbleton) said that the church is going in the wrong direction and the trend is that the old, more liberal priests are retiring and that the young priests being ordained are more conservative. Here's hoping that my friend finds his calling as the next Thomas Gumbleton. I mean, it's a cool name, right? So, why not? C'mon, S. Jesus was a liberal.

Ok, that's not really "angel" related, but close enough. That was Saturday. Sunday brought the final match of the European Championship (soccer). Wait wait wait. Don't stop reading yet. This isn't going to veer into a sports post. I just wanted to say congratulations to Spain and my Spanish readers (there's at least one). Awesome match. After the match on Sunday came the angels relevant portion of the day - the reason this is a multi angels related event weekend review post: The Black Angels show at the Middle East Downstairs around the corner here in Cambridge.

I'd like to start with a "wow".

So, JS and BR swung by around 7 for a little pregame and then we headed down around 8:30 to check out the opening band, The Warlocks, which was actually the band that JS wanted to see and the reason he picked up the tix. I had never heard them and couldn't recall what the Black Angels sounded like, though I knew I'd heard a couple songs by them. But both JS and BR have excellent taste in music so when they tell me it's a must go and I can afford it, I go. The Warlocks were pretty great musically. Kind of like Brian Jonestown Massacre without the crazy. Which, I know, is a huge part of the BJM mojo. But my point is that the music was right there. Good stuff. Didn't blow me away though. What did blow me away, you ask? The Black Angels. I was nowhere near prepared for the sonic awesomeness that the Black Angels were about to spew on the crowd. Just a tremendous show - probably the second best I've seen at the MidEast D, behind the 00/01ish GBV show and tied with the 04ish Beulah show (which was incredibly underrated and underappreciated - and no, I wasn't just on more drugs than everyone else (more beer maybe, but that's not unusual for Mid East shows)). If you like having waves of steel wash over you, go see the Black Angels when they come to a venue near you. There were more than a couple points during the show when BR and I looked at eachother and were like "whoa". And we've seen quite a few shows together. At one point, he said to me, "I don't think I've ever seen a band that so lived up to its name they way they are doing right now". Seriously. And that closing imagery was just straight up rock and roll slamdunkery.

That's it for the angelic writing (really? thanks, you're too kind). One reminder for those within driving distance of Cambridge, MA on July 4th: The Third Annual Hot Dog Ho Down is happening at my place around 11:45 AMish. Viewing of the hot dog eating competition to be followed by a Yankees Red Sox game and possibly a beer. And all kinds o' dogs. Come on by.


Duffless said...

As a former catholic school girl current leftist atheist spinster etc I understand totally where you are coming from with regards to feeling torn. However, almost every choice in life has its drawbacks. I think it is wonderful you are supporting your friend, support without judgment is something nobel and something I'm NO WHERE NEAR achieving, but its a beautiful goal to have. Think of it this way, like a teacher going to the poorest, toughest, most in need school and giving all of themselves, your friend is spending his life going where he is really really needed. The church does a lot of good and as we all know a lot of bad, they are in dire need of people who will tip those scales to the good side. Your friend is going where he is REALLY REALLY needed, to put some humanity back in the church.

Dan said...

I'm not sure I'm near achieving it either - this post was pretty judgmental. I hope he does put some humanity back in the church, in part by convincing the church to be more humane. oops, judgment. oops, Catholic guilt.

You coming over for dogs on Friday, duffless?

Duffless said...

I will try to be there but my 4th plans are still up in the air, if i'm in town I'll be there.

Dan said...

We'll leave a dog on for you.

Dearest Cupcake said...

Congrats to Fr. O'm! Yeah, I have mixed feelings about the RCC; there is something so dear about it to me because of my family but there is so much that is the opposite of what I believe.

I'm spending my 4th of July in Dublin, so maybe I'll have some bangers n mash while you have the hot dog ho down. Sláinte!

Dan said...

I used to love those irish breakfast sausages that are mushy inside. Are those bangers? rashers? Whatever they're called, I'll take a few of them, some baked beans, a fried egg, fried tomato slices, some homefries and toast with butter. Veggies? We don't need no stinking veggies!