Short and sweet

Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church

Father Joseph Abraham holds a confessional stole in the confessional at Our Lady of the Snows.

Father Joseph Abraham holds a confessional stole in the confessional at Our Lady of the Snows.

Photo By David Robert

When I attended Catholic school many years ago, and we attended morning mass every day, I was always impressed by the people who took a moment out of their busy days to go to church. I wasn’t what you’d call a devoted Catholic, so it was hard for me to understand what drew people to church on days other than Sunday. I certainly never had extra time for anything but TV, partying and work in those days.

I’m a little less ignorant than I used to be (not by much, and probably not as much as I should be), but I do have more understanding why people would want to begin their day with worship.

The first thing I should point out for people who are unfamiliar with the Catholic tradition is that the weekday mass is a simplified version of the Sunday worship. There is rarely music, other than the chimes of the bells at the high points of the consecration of the bread and wine, and the sermon is often very short. Much of the pomp of a regular Sunday Mass is missing. The 8 a.m. mass at Our Lady of the Snows is no exception—25 minutes from beginning to end.

The interior of the church is elegant, without a lot of statuary or intricate design elements. It’s generally off-whites and eggshell colors, with lamps hanging from a high ceiling. The pews are wooden with padded seats and kneelers. There are beautiful stained-glass window renderings of the saints on the side walls with smaller, backlit pieces above and behind the congregation. If I’ve learned nothing else from this Filet of Soul column, I’ve learned that somebody should make a coffee table book of Northern Nevada’s stained-glass windows.

The chancel (stage, loosely) is raised only a foot and a half or so higher than the floor of the nave, where the congregation sits. On the wall above, there’s a large wooden crucifix. It’s book-ended with two other wooden statues. The colorfully fronted tabernacle is below it, and there are a couple potted plants. The altar is stone (marble, I think). There are a pulpit and lectern on either side. To the right of the chancel, the drum kit and other remains of the Sunday band were still apparent.

All in all, it’s a very pleasant, clean and meditative place. The brick church, which is on the corner of Wright and Walker streets a block off Arlington Boulevard, is easily confused by visitors with the parish center, which is a half-block south.

The theme of the Monday morning service was that God asks us to turn the other cheek, and when Father Joseph Abraham began his sermon, he explained the passages from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew, chapter 5, verses 38-42. While I’m sure the priest has a much longer version of this homily, I like the short version. Part of the reason Jesus said people should turn the other cheek, Father Abraham said, is that when we offer no resistance to the ones who are evil, we give them pause; we get into their heads.

It is in this moment, when they are wondering why we do not resist that, “There is a possibility of converting the evil person to what you believe.”

Want to introduce Brian to your place of worship? Call 324-4440 ext. 3525.