Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament

It is all about communion this weekend.

My friend Amy is the interim minister at a church in Pawcatuck and she is doing communion for the first time tomorrow. I have been thinking about that all week.

Tonight, I went to see my friend Sam in his band 'Entrain'. They were the headline act at the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament in New Bedford. Nguyen and the kids and I ate Portuguese food and drank the Madeira wine that the church uses for the Eucharist for the rest of the year. I am sorry I missed the big parade. I suspect they put some of the consecrated host into a monstrance and walk through the streets of New Bedford with it. I am sure it is a wonderful spectacle. Maybe I'll go next year!

While we were waiting for the band to start, we wandered around the side streets towards the church. It had all kinds of wonderfully gaudy decorations, a big plaster statue of the Virgin under a plexiglass cover. She was sporting a crown of blue Christmas lights and plastic flowers. At the entrance to the church, there were oak wine casks flanking the doors, to symbolize the Madeira wine that is made just for this feast.

We peeked in the door and realized that a mass was in progress, so we quietly backed away and wandered back towards the feast grounds.

Dinner was terrible, but wonderful, nonetheless. The food was pretty dreary. Overcooked and over salted. We had goat stew, baccalau, broiled chicken, caldo verde soup and fine Portuguese bread. The folks behind the buffet line offered to cook burgers for the boys and gave them an order of french fries to go with them. We sat at a table with a man who told us he had flown in from Seattle to attend the feast.

After dinner, which sat like a rock in the bottom of my stomach, I danced off all the calories while watching Sam and his band play. They were absolutely fantastic. I have to add music to the list of things that bring us together.


Ming said...

"They were the headline act at the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament in New Bedford."
I thought "Rachel has really lost it, now", but your explanation of the Exposition and Procession of the Blessed Sacrament made me realize that this was the festival afterward.

I've been to Anglican versions, but that was a procession down Beacon Street with bagpipes playing (yuck!) Amazing Grace, followed by a spiral sliced ham and a wheel of Brie in the parish garden.

Rachel Nguyen said...

Oh, your Mingness,

the Portuguese Catholics clearly know how to put on a party. There was free flowing Madeira wine and beer everywhere, 4 days of partying in a huge compound that is owned and operated by the 'Feast of the blessed Sacrament society' and bands playing on three stages. Not a single slice of spiral ham or brie to be found. And thank heavens, no bagpipes. (I'll take drums ANY day!)

There was even a raffle, with a trip to Madeira for the grand prize. No need to be present to win.