And in other news, water is wet

2008 02 01It appears that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has a new co-cathedral, which is the kind of thing that happens when a little inland town called Houston grows into a megacity and you need a giant new sacred space to symbolize that. It's formal name is the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. The Houston Chronicle did your basic dedication story on this, stressing precisely what you would expect a newspaper to stress -- multiculturalism and the details of the three-hour rite. I have no problem with that at all. I mean, Houston is one of the giant, complex, sprawling, multi-ethnic cities in America, if not the world.

"The church is genuinely a sacred space, and holy people have assembled in there and have been nourished," Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo said after the service. "That means it is ready. It is ready from now on." ...

At the interior door, DiNardo accepted the keys, plans and designs to the co-cathedral from the architect, builder and designer of the artwork. During the ceremony, symbols, words and actions blessed, cleansed and consecrated the walls, the altar and the people gathered in the co-cathedral. Water was blessed in the baptismal font that sits in the middle aisle of the co-cathedral. It was then sprinkled on the crowd and walls throughout the building.

Passages from the Bible were read in Spanish, Vietnamese, Latin and English. ... Incense was burned for the first time in a brazier on the altar as a Psalm was sung to the tune of a traditional a Vietnamese folk song. The previously bare altar and the sanctuary were decorated with flowers, linens and candles and then the lights were turned on for the first time, resulting in a gasp from the congregation.

So far, so good.

But then comes the really strange passage that left me shaking my head a bit. I am a fan of simplicity in reporting and writing, but this is a bit too simple.

And then Communion, a main ritual of Catholicism, was celebrated for the first time.

Yes, and I know that Baptists baptize people. Actually, I think that the term here should be "Mass," since Communion is usually a term used more by Protestants. For Anglicans, it's usually the Holy Eucharist and the Orthodox service is called the Divine Liturgy.

Now I know that these terms are often used in different churches in different ways. It is also possible that the reporter was searching for the right word for this piece of the ritual, inside the structure of the whole dedication Mass.

But, at the very least (help me, Catholic readers), shouldn't the reference here be, at the very, least "Holy Communion"? Also, isn't it safe to say that the Mass is more than "a main ritual" in Catholicism? Could we call it "the" main ritual?

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