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Reviews from
The Last Mass


A musing on this first Sunday of Advent

  22 total reviews 
Comment by
Bill Schott
 
Poet Rating
  Rank:  41
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  60
Author Rating For Novels
  Rank:  21
Script Rating
  Rank:  1
Review Stars
  Rank:  40
 

#1 Ranked Script Writer!
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Such a meaningful, soulful story. You have presented this piece with the spiritual essence, the historical relevance, and the sheer gift of storytelling. One has to be absorbed by the ambience of the setting and the emotions of changes and loss. This was a privilege to read.


 Comment Written 06-Jan-2019



reply by the author on 08-Jan-2019
    Thanks so much, Bill. To me this was about trying to hold on to faith when, both individually, and as a society things are falling apart. I'm so glad it resonated with you. Thanks for taking the time to read (especially after the certificate had expired) and for the generous rating.
Comment by
C. Gale Burnett
Premier Author
C. Gale Burnett
 
Poet Rating
  Rank:  30
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  77
Review Stars
  Rank:  186
 
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
I have only been a member of FS a very short time, so have not had opportunity to explore the writings of all the many wonderful authors on this site. Forgive me for that.
This was the best story I have read in many years. With the direction this country is going in, I can't imagine what it's going to be like for our grand- and great-grandchildren. There seems to be no 'absolute truth' any more.
This story drew me in from the start, held my intent interest as it built up, until I was applauding you at the end.
Everything about this was exceptional: flow of story, grammar, punctuation, dialog. I really enjoyed this because, though fiction, it could easily become reality. You have such awesome creative talent!
Thank you for sharing!
Gale


 Comment Written 06-Jan-2019



reply by the author on 08-Jan-2019
    Thanks so much for reading this, for the thoughtful review, and for the generous rating. Even without the sort of dystopian government interference that the story describes, we're seeing, at leas in my church, a decline in the relevance of faith. This was my attempt to comment on that while also creating a story.
Comment by
Tpa
Premier Author
 
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Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  137
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Review Stars
  Rank:  180
 
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Congratulations on such a heart warming pierce of artistic writing. The topic is indeed sad and troubling for many of the conflicts in the Church. Your ending was very surprising, and I liked your creativeness of interweaving the poetry that brought out the text of your prose. VERY WELL DONE.


 Comment Written 05-Dec-2018



reply by the author on 06-Dec-2018
    Thanks so much for taking the time to read this (it was kinda long - sorry) and for the great review and generous rating.
Comment by
Earl Corp
Premier Author
Premier Reader
 
Poet Rating
  Rank:  102
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  Rank:  25
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  Rank:  27
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Review Stars
  Rank:  201
 
Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
I was truly expecting this to be a story if the second coming when yo wrote about only one unified church. Actually the only thing missing was the mark of the beast. This story built up the suspense enough to keep reading to the end.


 Comment Written 05-Dec-2018



reply by the author on 06-Dec-2018
    Thanks, Earl. It was a long story - I'm glad t held your attention to the end.
Comment by
2014 Story Writer Of The Year
humpwhistle
Level 9 Pro
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  Rank:  111
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  Rank:  3
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Review Stars
  Rank:  81
 

#3 Ranked Author
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Mark, I'm not sure I grasp all the nuances of this story, but there's plenty I do grasp. A lot of symbolism and sadness. I suspect there's a degree of anger, too.
Father Dan and Mercedes are apt characters for these times. Your prescient view of state-sponsored secularism is not out of the realm of possibility. I think your story is meant to serve as a warning. An alarm.

I'm disturbed by the 'Nationalist' leanings, too. It's a global trend. And it reminds me of a past I hope not to revisit.

Well done, Mark. I expect this was a difficult write. Peace, Lee


 Comment Written 05-Dec-2018



reply by the author on 06-Dec-2018
    Thanks, Lee. In a way, the Catholic Church in the U.S. is dying. Attendance is down, the average age of priests is 63, the parish isn't as central to neighborhoods as it use to be. I wanted to take that dynamic to an extreme to explore what it would feel like through the eyes of someone who had devoted his life to the Church - and perhaps use the story to muse on on some more general topics.

    While I was working on the story, I saw that Trump tweeted the following: "something has to be done" (about CNN) " including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the world the way we really are, GREAT."
    It made me feel that perhaps I should have set this story earlier than 2023.

reply by humpwhistle on 06-Dec-2018
    Yes, the Church (all churches) have taken a hit lately. Your story is reminiscent of 1917 and the fictional 1984. Not beyond possibility tomorrow.

    Despite my innate cynicism, I believe Trump is a wild aberration. But his template is not unfamiliar. His followers are rabid, and he delights in stoking them. We need to be vigilant, but, for now, short of paranoid. 2020 will be telling.

    As for the church, I think Pope Francis is a good rallying point. But the road is still rocky. Lee

Comment by
tfawcus
Level 1 Pro
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  Rank:  89
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  Rank:  3
Review Stars
  Rank:  45
 

#3 Ranked Novelist
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
A bleak prediction indeed, and a sobering one. It does sometimes seem that we are headed towards 'a widening gyre' - a vortex from which there is no escape.
This is fine writing indeed, and Mercedes' words, "We don't bring it, Father, we carry it forward like a baton in a relay race" reinforce the fact that we seem to have dropped the baton. It is a powerful simile.
I admire your use of words and always look forward to your writing. Your description here of church architecture as "earthly materials reaching up to touch the hem of the divine" is a fine example of what I mean.


 Comment Written 05-Dec-2018



reply by the author on 05-Dec-2018
    Thanks so much, Tony. I spent a lot of time on this one so your words are particularly affirming, especially given the level of your talent.
Comment by
damommy
Premier Author
 
Poet Rating
  Rank:  19
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  139 (+21)
Author Rating For Novels
 
Review Stars
  Rank:  38
 
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
I see the political, governmental points you've made in this story. I don't think we're headed any way near Nazi Germany. Things are getting better in this country all the time, but the news doesn't show you that.

I especially enjoyed this story because it reminded me of the time when my school had nuns who really cared about our education and our lives. Loving people who dedicated themselves to serving others. I ignore all the sex scandals in the Church. They aren't unique to the Roman Church, just more publicized.

This is a wonderful piece of writing. The characters rang true and so did their thoughts and feelings. I'm glad Father Dan died before he lost his church.


 Comment Written 04-Dec-2018



reply by the author on 05-Dec-2018
    Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and comment, and thanks for the six! The WB Yeats poem was the inspiration for this, so that's where some of the dystopian threads come from.
Comment by
estory
Premier Author
north carolina
 
Poet Rating
  Rank:  158
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  92
Author Rating For Novels
 
Review Stars
  Rank:  115
 
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
I thought this was a moving story on the decline of religion, done with superb characterizations, symbolism, and detailed descriptions and conversations full of personality and emotion that put us right there in this rectory with the old priest, preparing for his last mass. I think its a great warning of the persecution that is really beginning already; but this really brings it to life, in the sad contemplation of the monument that the old church has become, particularily of the parking lot strewn with broken glass where the old school used to be. This puts us in touch not only with the loss of faith in general, but the human toll on the change; the forgotten priest dying alone in his chair. There are some thinly veiled allusions to Trump here, and the current politics of the day, I don't know if you need them in the general theme of this piece. It flattens what is a brilliant three dimensional story. estory


 Comment Written 04-Dec-2018



reply by the author on 05-Dec-2018
    Thanks - I didn't initially plan on including the Trump allusions. The inspiration for this was the WB Yeats poem and my observation that attendance at my own church has been declining. Once I decided to make this as end-of-days piece, I needed an explanation and that's what came to mind.

reply by estory on 05-Dec-2018
    I know Yeats pretty well but I don't remember this line...what poem is it from? estory
Comment by
Roxanna Andrews
Premier Author
Premier Reader
 
Poet Rating
  Rank:  103
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  89
Author Rating For Novels
  Rank:  19
Review Stars
  Rank:  75
 
Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
Oh my, that's a bit depressing. But in many ways very true. There will come a day when we can no longer worship as Christians. It may not be that far off. Very well done. Great writing. Rox


 Comment Written 04-Dec-2018



reply by the author on 04-Dec-2018
    Thanks, Roxanna. I know this was a longer-than-average piece so I really appreciate to taking the time to read it.
Comment by
robyn corum
Word Twister
Story Catcher
 
Poet Rating
  Rank:  9
Author Rating For Short Works
  Rank:  17
Author Rating For Novels
  Rank:  40
Script Rating
 
Review Stars
  Rank:  20
 

#9 Ranked Poet
Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
Mark,

My, my, what a pleasant statement on the world as we now know it. *smile* Sorry, but card-carrying optimist that I am, I can't agree. And look, the proof stares you in the eyes-- Aren't your very Notre Dame boys rushing to the top of the ranks? Isn't that a sign of something marvelous?

I think this is one MORE thing we can add to our long list of differences. Such a long list it is. How on earth is it we get along?

Some small notes:
1.) "It looks like the snow's about to start, Meche(.) You better get going

2.) A line (from) a Yeats poem came to him:

Your writing is so well-done. You should do lots more. Thanks!



 Comment Written 03-Dec-2018



reply by the author on 05-Dec-2018
    Yeah, things have been a bit bleak around the Valentine House of late. My mom lives with us and her health has nose-dived which means we're doing a lot of diaper changing and bottom-wiping, and commode-emptying and consoling - and no going out for dinner or to see friends.

    But there is Christmas and there is Notre Dame and there is Robyn Corum, so things can't be that bad. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this - it was really long by Fanstory standards and I'm happy that anyone chose to read it to the end.

    if I don't interact with you before Christmas, Merry Christmas, my friend!

reply by robyn corum on 05-Dec-2018
    Merry Christmas!
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