For my sins I attended the 6pm mass at St Vincent’s this evening. I counted a total of 14 people in the church, including the two incumbent Neocat “pastors” (No. 2 came in late, but was not publicly castigated for his sin as various members of the community have been), 3 seminarians (one of whom played the guitar and sort of sang), a Neocat couple from Leichhardt, one regular with her little daughter, a couple of locals (Mary and Tonina), another woman I did not recognize, my daughter and myself.
No. 1 officiated, delivering in his inimitable style a homily that was an embellishment of the 10am version. My daughter commented on the eclectic delivery, expressing the opinion that such a stumbling sermon could only have been delivered off the cuff without any preparation. Mary rose to the occasion and left at this point, returning during the consecration. I felt duty bound to stay and observe.
There was even a moment of comic relief when the congregation burst into a sorrowful rendition of “Come as you are, feel quite at home”. Had my heart not been so heavy from the morning’s ordeal, I might have been able to enjoy the humour in this surreal spectacle.
As I made my way out of the church at the end of mass I wondered in awe at the Neocat magnetism that has the capacity to attract such crowds.