Immaculate Heart of Mary, Wayne, New Jersey, USA


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Mystery Worshipper:
Church: Immaculate Heart of Mary
Location: Wayne, New Jersey, USA
Date of visit: Saturday, 16 February 2019, 5:00am

The building

(Editor’s note: This report was filed on April 29, 2019.) The church is set upon a slight rise and truthfully from the outside looks more like a school building. The interior, however, is arranged nicely with a center altar and a few statues – all in all, much nicer than the exterior.

The church

They have a large number of ministries and organizations well documented on their website. The parish school, serving kindergarten through eighth grade, is well respected and much sought after by parents wishing to give their children a Christ-centered education. There are four Sunday masses plus the Saturday vigil mass, and one mass each weekday. There is a novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary each Monday, and adoration and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament on the first Friday of each month.

The neighborhood

Wayne, in northern New Jersey, lies about 20 miles west of New York City and is a slightly affluent bedroom community for New York, well served by public transportation. It features nice modest homes with a few strip malls as well as the Willowbrook Mall, the fourth largest shopping center in the state of New Jersey. The Passaic River runs through Wayne, and its banks often overflow after storms, affecting Willowbrook Mall as well as nearby residential areas. Famous sons and daughters include movie mogul Cecil B. DeMille and singer/actress Queen Latifah. The church is located in a residential neighborhood of modest well kept homes.

The cast

The priest, a reader, a cantor and a pianist.

What was the name of the service?

Vigil Mass for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

How full was the building?

Three quarters, probably 250 people.

Did anyone welcome you personally?

Yes, an older gentleman wearing a Knights of Columbus jacket.

Was your pew comfortable?


How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?

Quiet, with a little bit of a quiet murmur – nothing distracting.

What were the exact opening words of the service?

‘In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’

What books did the congregation use during the service?

Oregon Catholic Press worship resource as well as one of their hardbound hymnals.

What musical instruments were played?

Electric organ and piano.

Did anything distract you?

The cantor was extremely enthusiastic – she attacked each song at an up-tempo that was a bit tough to keep up with.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?

It was pretty much in line with most other Catholic parishes around the US. Most regular Catholic churchgoers would be comfortable there – no dancers or anything like that.

Exactly how long was the sermon?

15 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?

10 — The priest was an elderly cleric who I think was visiting, but visited often. He had a nice way about him and a good solid delivery.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?

He told a story about a man who became so obsessed with his wealth that he refused to spend, so he wore rags and let his home deteriorate rather than spend his money to fix it. He hid all his money down a well, and when someone discovered it and stole it, he was left with nothing. He could have had friends or personal relationships but he valued the wrong things.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?

The sermon was actually quite nice and edifying.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?

The tempo of the cantor. I couldn't even keep up with the psalm!

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?

We were headed to an engagement party nearby so we didn't stick around, but I am sure there wasn't a coffee hour, as it was evening and everyone else appeared headed for the parking lot as well.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?

Not applicable.

How would you feel about making another visit (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?

7 — It's not close to where I live, but I did enjoy the sermon.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?

Yes, nice sermon. Am I harping on that?

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time ?

The tempo of the cantor ... slow down!

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