A “Ferris wheel of faith.”
A shaggy-haired DJ wearing a “Got God?” T-shirt – a spoof of the popular milk ads – while introducing a group of stomp dancers.
This was not your traditional Catholic Church.
Nor was it supposed to be.
Youth Day at Navy Pier, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago, was planned specifically to appeal to teens – a group with waning interest Catholic leaders acknowledge they are trying to court.
The rest of the article goes on with some interviewed teens (from Catholic High Schools) who whine about the Mass not being more contemporary and that the church is too traditional and needs to do something to infuse enthusiasm.
This is an approach that has been done by many Protestant Churches. Driving around town I see signs that advertise “Contemporary Worship Services” on the front lawns of churches. Normally they might initially draw interest and start to grow, but judging just by parking lots the attendance eventually fades. Making a church and it’s services not really any different from the society around it leads to question, if the church and the society are the same then, why go to church? Using gimmicks to draw people to the Christian life I believe will result in what happens in the parable of the sower; that soon these people will be choked on weeds and fall away.
After Pentecost the miracle that occurred was that each person hearing the Apostles preach, heard it in their own language. The miracle was not that each person heard the worship music that they preferred. I have been know also to whine from time to time about the music during Mass, but it has absolutely no effect on my going to Mass on Sundays.
When Catholic High Schools students complain about needing something to give them enthusiasm, I would offer one word “Eucharist.” Jesus is sacramentally present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity whether there is Gregorian Chant or a OCP/GIA special. Whether everyone sang along, or no one did. Whether the homily taught the faith or just droned on. Whether the church was in a traditional style or it’s interior looked like wall-to-wall white refrigerators with nary a magnet to decorate it.
The kids need to remember that they go to Mass to celebrate Christ in a community of believers. It’s not a stage show of some kind. In this culture that we are bringing them up in, you can hardly fault them for using entertainment as a means of comparison. Schoolteachers face much the same thing. If a class isn’t “entertaining”, then many kids don’t like it. Entertainment is the yardstick we have given our children to measure the worth of experiences.
Isn’t that the truth? I don’t know how it happend, but my seven year old son has decided he doesn’t care for school because “it isn’t any fun.” It’s the same for Mass. What the?
Of course, can we blame people for not wanting to go to Mass when their own priests say things like (Overheard at a Saturday evening Mass) “You’re lucky. You’ve fulfilled your obligation. I still have to *celebrate* Mass three times tomorrow!”
Good Lord deliver us!
Great commentary, even though I was distracted by the wine (when you meant whine). I was hoping for a great vintage! It got me to thinking about the Mass I endured this AM. Maybe endured is too strong a word…. but I really do NOT think that the Mass needs to have a music bed (instrumental) under the offertory – or at least not one that uses jazz type piano, electric guitar and synthesizer. And even that would not have been totally intolerable if they had played something recognizeably Christian – say for example “Sheep may safely graze” (in honor of the psalm of the day) or “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” or even the Ave Maria so often sung at funerals! but this jazzy contemporary piece was just horrible.
This parish we attend occasionally because we just enrolled our daughter in the Confirmation prep program there. I really believe that they have their hearts in the right place but are just plain clueless.
At least the Confirmation prep is orthodox. Two textbooks – the Bible and the CCC – and the curriculum is one available through Franciscan University. The new DRE is a wonderful woman who sees it as her responsibility that the children and their parents really know, understand, and accept what the Church teaches.
Well they are teenagers.. Every time I hear about attempts to “appeal” to the youths, I recall Paul’s words about putting away childish things. Maybe if we treated them more like young adults, rather than overgrown toddlers, they might respond.
Homilies with a little more theological meat, rather than typical “challenge to be a good person” or “Jesus really really loves you.” I know those things are true, but I would love to hear a homily that starts out “Do any of you seriously believe this stuff?” and then explain why you should.