Polka Mass tradition continues at St. George in Hermann
“Jesus, we’re not worthy ever, to receive You here today. Say the word, denying never. Make us pure again, we pray.”–Catholic Missourian
Plaintive stanzas of contrition and thanksgiving envelop the altar of a hilltop church in Hermann.
Then it hits you: this is “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain!”
The lovesick ballad, recast with pious lyrics and a Slavic tempo, seems right at home in this place of grace, where generations of plainspoken immigrants once knelt in worship and sought redemption.
Before the final blessing, the people will have tapped their toes to an array of folk compositions, ranging from the jovial “Let the Son Shine In” to the haunting “Beloved Mother” — a translated Polish Marian hymn reported to have brought tears to Pope St. John Paul II’s eyes.
They will have responded to the principal parts of the Mass in cadences reminiscent of festivals and firesides of Northern Europe and the prairie frontiers of the American Midwest.