Monday, December 18, 2006

New Hope in the midst of a deprived and twisted generation

I took two groups of students to the Twin Cities yesterday and today. One group went to St. Agnes and another went to St. Joan of Arc. St. Agnes church is known for its celebration of a Latin Mass at 10:00 Sunday Morning. It's a rather complex mass in many ways involving a lot of servers and bows and such. Some of the students said that they didn't feel as participatory as they would have liked, which told me that I need to be better prepared for Latin next year. The people responded and we didn't because we didn't know how. They also just needed a little more general preparation. Even though it's the mass as we all know it, there are a few changes that deserve explanation such as taking communion at the communion rail on the tongue while kneeling.

When we met up with the students that went to Joan of Arc they had a different reaction. Joan of Arc is known for its differentness. They actually strive to be different and do the barest amount possible to remain in the church. The students hated it. They couldn't see the catholicism in it and were worried about what made the children that went there actually love the church. They felt like they still needed to go to mass.

The people who went to St. Agnes were impressed with St. Agnes and were hoping to bring things back. They were perplexed by some things but genuinely felt like they loved the mass. It gives me hope that people don't want to be Protestants, don't want to make the mass into a "worship service". They want to learn how to love what is authentically catholic. If only we could make sure all the priests felt the same.

1 comment:

Hillary H. said...

Wow, yeah. I consider myself to be a reasonable, progressive, feminist catholic. But this, WTF???

SJA - they had lay preachers scheduled and advertised every weekend (which in some cases, I would favor). I think the bishop last year had "cracked down" on that saying they couldn't preach after the gospel, during the homily time, and that the priest had to give one (which had no substance except for a gay joke). So they got around that by having the lay homily before the readings, before the mass "started". But we couldn't really tell when the mass started because there was no identifiable opening rite, penitential rite, collect, etc. The way they did the Liturgy of the Word was weird, and although it had good elements it was not a coherent Catholic liturgy. It confused me but did not anger me.

What did anger and sadden me was the "family mass" that I attended, beginning midway through the gym mass. There are approved forms for a children's Liturgy of the Word, and Eucharistic Prayers for children's masses, but this was neither. They willfully deprived these children of having a full Catholic liturgy - of getting familiar with the rhythm of the mass and the significance of its structure. It was just the Gospel and the Eucharist, basically. And I have to doubt whether there actually was the eucharist because there was no epiclesis. :( That's what did me in. No matter how innovative and political their grandparents want to get with their liturgy, there is no excuse for depriving these little ones of their baptismal right and responsibility to offer an authentic mass.