Monday, December 14, 2015

MKECatholicHerald: "Strong liturgy" should be everyone’s priority

Hashtag #MissedThePoint.  I think everyone sees the problem, but unfortunately many don't see the solution either.  Mrs. Scobey-Polacheck after visiting s a dying parish, explains why nobody wants to go there, and also why her parish is thriving.
Our pastor, Capuchin Fr. Mike Bertram, mingles with the congregation before Mass, getting caught up on who has a new grandchild, who has a new job, and who has an aunt in the hospital. Fr. Mike also uses the time to greet visitors, and has an uncanny ability to remember and use their names when he distributes Communion.

At the end of Mass, he introduces any visitors to the congregation, giving us little tidbits he learned about them in his chatting before Mass.

The liturgy itself is a joyful, spirit-filled celebration. The Gospel choir, led by Sam McClain, rocks the church as the congregation sings and claps.

Fr. Mike’s homilies are direct, easy to relate to and include examples of people he knows or current events to illustrate the messages of the day’s readings and Gospel. He challenges us to live the Gospel fully and speaks with a heartfelt generosity of spirit.
full article at MKECatholicHerald

It reminded of an editorial Sam Lucero wrote a while back: A photographer’s take on the sign of peace.  In there, it takes a shot at Latin Mass goers.
If we wanted stoic expressions to photograph, most Catholic photojournalists would head to the nearest traditional Latin Mass.
Lucero is easier to follow on the subject, but again I think misses the point of liturgy.  I agree with him that we need outward signs to express our faith.  But where do these signs come from?  Is it just whatever the congregation ultimately enjoys the most?  Say there was some practice that created an even better photo-op, should that be introduced to the liturgy?

Perhaps the premise of the first article is simply that the new measure of true liturgy is the smile.  If people aren't smiling and laughing during liturgy, well then liturgy is failing.  Shouldn't we all walk away feeling good?  This is probably why Catholic funerals are so dreadful.  There's a great scene in the new TV series The Man in the High Castle where one of the characters struggles intensely until he find someone who helps him to express his grief liturgically.  I don't want to give anything away but the moment is powerful.  That man needed the liturgy.  And he needed it to be something real.  And after he received what he needed through this family prayer, the fruit bore was Peace.  Peace did not come because he was able to get chummy with the congregation, or because he was singing and clapping, it was because the ancient ritual of this man's people itself bore the fruit.

6 comments:

  1. You can get all this and more at your local mega-non-denominational church, but of course that very church will be defunct in six or seven years. Much of the clergy abuse problems stems from this over-familiar, buddy-buddy approach. Give us full-strength, traditional, time-tested Catholicism and skip all the superficial glad-handing. The salvation of souls is a serious and holy undertaking. When Father starts flitting around the sanctuary, it's time to go elsewhere.

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  2. Nicely written essay, but it strikes me that Ms. Polachek knows very little about the 'dying' parish they visited. (They were just visitors, ya'know...but oh, well..)

    Anyhow, I can think offhand of three very vibrant and crowded parishes in Milwaukee with lots of youths at Mass, lots of comraderie, and priest(s) who know their congregations. NONE of those three are happy-clappy.

    Point/counterpoint.

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  3. Until the Status Animarum of each parish is available for comparison, columns like this one are worse than worthless. Specifically, they reinforce the pervasive complacency accompanying the death spiral of our Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

    Check the national stats. Fifty years ago there were tens of millions fewer Catholics, yet millions more people in the pews on Sunday, stoic expressions and all.

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  4. they reinforce the pervasive complacency accompanying the death spiral of our Archdiocese of Milwaukee.<------- So, well put!

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  5. Dad29... "Anyhow, I can think offhand of three very vibrant and crowded parishes in Milwaukee with lots of youths at Mass, lots of comraderie, and priest(s) who know their congregations. NONE of those three are happy-clappy."

    Which parishes?

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  6. St Stan, St Anthony (9th/Mitchell) St Mary Elm Grove, and I'll toss in St Jerome/O'woc (which does have a not-good music program.)

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