Monday, March 28, 2011

Confecting or Confusing?

Yesterday I left Holy Mass very confused.
That happens after you spend time in the pew, your soul being bombarded with superfluous crap and agendas.

1.(I looked at my watch for this one 'cause I just had a bad feeling).  Someone spoke before Mass (I suppose this helps to keep the Holy Sacrifice intact in some pretend liturgist's world).  The person spoke for two minutes over and above the pre-Mass chatter (which is espoused apparently at this church--so much that people meander among pews and congregate in the aisles up to the last minute).  By the way, the two minute announcement concerned two monetary collections which were occurring simultaneously.

2.  The Eucharistic Prayer (II) didn't take that long.

3.  The announcement by the pastor following the closing prayer lasted three minutes--because the new website for the parish was being 'launched'.

It could have been worse--the Holy Gospel could have been acted out or as they say 'dramatized'

Yeh--consumer driven church.  
Next up product placement ads during the liturgy along with audible trailers during any proclamation?

Now, here is the catch.  When I was an active priest I supported what I liked to call the 'peripheral Sunday morning chaos'--the greetings, the hellos, the announcements, the name tags and the whole 'keeping people connected' approach.  I was even in favor of some dramatization of Scripture and a dance here and there.  (I was also in favor of married clergy and woman clergy...but that is a whole other story).  

I changed my mind when I started sitting in the pew.
Sometimes you don't want to say 'hello' to everyone.
Sometimes you don't want to hear about money.
Sometimes you just want to sit in the quiet and maybe, just maybe--look at the tabernacle.
Sometimes it took everything just to get to church that day and the last thing you want to do is fake a smile.
Sometimes you don't feel like you want it to be DisneyWorld that morning.
Sometimes you don't want a show or drama.
Sometimes all you want and all you need is Jesus.

Since parishes(and dioceses) seem to be moving in the direction of a consumer based approach (and losing their soul--sorry did i write that?)  might I suggest that each diocese designate parishes that are simply known as "PlaIn Mass Parishes"?  
They could place PMP on their website or there could even be an app for people who travel and simply want a PMP. 
PMP's could offer confessions on Saturdays and Sundays before Mass (the priest would have time because he wouldn't have to orchestrate or control a liturgy).  In short PMP's  might quietly revolutionize Sunday mornings.

So, what is really being confected on Sunday mornings--Jesus or an "approach to liturgy" that simply confuses, scatters, and keeps all the attention away from Christ?