First time I attended a Catholic Mass was as a missionary in Lambayeque, Peru back in 1986. The cathedral was at least 300 years old. There was a strong scent of flowers and incense. I remember several statues of saints with arrows through them and some of the most bloody representations of Chirst I had ever seen.
I remember one little old lady sitting in front of the saint with the arrows through it, and saw how tears were in her eyes as she caressed the image.
My companion and I sat on the back row and listened to Mass. My favorite part was the guitar and the upbeat music. Because of the echo I couldn’t understand much of what the priest said. All of it was a bit overwhelming for a young kid from Bountiful, Utah.
Since then I’ve attended a Mass in the main cathedral in Puebla, Mexico. Had a Catholic friend with me on a climbing trip and we were in the Cathedral at the start of Mass. The highlight of that Mass was someone played the old pipe organ.
Went to another Mass in Oaxaca, Mexico. Some one in my wife’s family had a mass because they had their 15th birthday. I’ve even been to the Basilica to see the Virgin in Mexico City. Had to make sure I didn’t trip over the guys making the multiple block trip to the Basilica on their knees.
Sometimes I think the Catholocism you guys are talking about is not the same one I’m familiar with down in Mexico and South America. A couple of months ago I went to Mass here in Gallup becuase I had never heard it in English. My LDS friends have called me El Padre ever since.