Sunday, August 26, 2007

The roar of the crowd...

A little Sunday morning kvetching.
Church was a tad obnoxious this morning. Sunday Mass is like a carnival at my local parish. I know I'm at risk of sounding too protestant - as Don Marco would say - but "I" don't like going to Sunday Mass at my local parish. "I" don't like the way Mass is CELEBRATED there - I emphasize celebrated because that is what the get together seems to be all about - and only about - celebrating.
I'm not at all a dour, crabby, grumpy old man - except after I leave a Mass like that. I'm not kidding when I tell you it was a roar of people talking and laughing as they filed into Church, knocking kneelers down, waving to everyone, shouting across the Church their comments on what their friend is wearing - "Cute top!" Then the piano bar breaks into a chorus and Father hastens down the aisle with his entourage, only to get into the sanctuary to ask us all to sit down for a minute while he does his warm-up.
Where the hell does this come from? He acts like a talk show host, warming up the audience, asking where people are from, pointing out who has an anniversary, throwing in a joke here and there. Then the penitential rite begins. Oops! I forgot, after the entrance song, we all had to introduce ourselves - more roars and laughter - then the warm-up took place. (I looked at this old lady in front of me, she just shrugged her shoulders and we both laughed out loud.)
Everything settles down until the time for the Liturgy of the Word. It is then that the little kids are called forward to go elsewhere for their own liturgy of the word, with song and every one's hand raised in a sending forth prayer made up by the liturgist. (Where'd this come from?) Then the real Liturgy of the Word takes place. After that - until the sign of peace - everything is more or less normal. Then the sign of peace - which is chaos. (I forgot, some idiot's 3 year old little girl was wandering around the sanctuary looking at the flowers while Father was giving the homily.)
Before the final blessing, we have to sit down again and go through the up-with-people novelty thing again. This time, those who are new, going for surgery, celebrating birthdays-anniversaries, what have you, each and every individual with some need or event in his life is supposed to stand up. The rest of the congregation holds up their hands with outstretched arms to pray over these people, with another prayer in song - composed by the liturgist. (Schmaltz-o-rama!) After the final blessing, all hell breaks loose - it is like a riot after a sports event.
Some Sundays I walk out of Church and think, "What the hell was that?"
Come on now - Celebrate!
Celebrate good times,come on! (Let's celebrate)
Celebrate good times, come on! (Let's celebrate)
There's a party goin' on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times, and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you
Come on now
Let's all celebrate and have a good time
We gonna celebrate and have a good time
It's time to come together
It's up to you, what's your pleasure...
-Cool and the Gang.


  1. Being that you and I are the only two single old men around here, I sympathize with your frustration.

    That sounds pretty chaotic.

    But from another perspective:

    Back in the olden days people didn't have to announce gall bladder operations, toothaches, visiting relatives, etc. because the communications network in small towns and territorial parishes was such that everybody knew that by the time folks had arrived at Mass.

    Jesus wants us to love one another. But the only time we see one another is at church, and most of arrive five minutes before and leave immediately.

    Father's attempt may or may not be a futile attempt to create the community that once existed in parishes.

    I suspect it is far more successful with families with children. Children get to know the neighbors and their children before the parents do, I would think.

    It's us childless geezers that don't see the point.

    I do love seeing little children at Mass. I pray that their world as adults will be better than mine. I thought mine was going to be wonderful but we screwed it up.

    Maybe they can do better.

  2. Thanks Ray - you add a voice of reason to my rant. I am just a grumpy old man then!

  3. 'Fraid I would be voting with my feet, if there were a better alternative within commuting distance.

  4. At least you didn't have drums today like we did.....

  5. Well I think I know why they do this whole Happy Clappy Catholic thing.

    I just think it's mistaken. It definitely takes the Celebration of the Mass away from reverence, and lowers the experience, removes the sacredness from the experience.


  6. Jeron9:35 AM

    Wow, Terry - you win! I was grumpy just because this old lady was talking out loud to Mrs. Testa behind me for 20 minutes before the 7am Mass. I need all the concentration I can muster 'cuz I get distracted very easily. It's why I don't attend the other Masses at my parish because they are close to what you describe (except without the shouting-across-the-Church thing). But they might as well. We know, however, that Christ was still present in the Eucharist & we can just offer it up for now. Right?

  7. Terry: I swear that was not me shouting: "nice top" across the pews.

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I'll opt for laughter.

    Sounds like you and your elderly lady friend need to be the stable parishioners to ask for the extraordinary form. ROFL! I dare you. I would just love to hear about the reaction.

  8. Methinks you're a tad grumpy ;-)

  9. UKOK - Cathy Of Alexandria calls it "prickly" - but yes, I think I'm getting grumpy too.

  10. Hmmmm ... I'm guessing you haven't been going to the Trid Mass at St. Augustine's, eh?

  11. We have a music director that picks songs that no one has ever heard in their entire life so I sit there humming along trying to figure out the meaning and the notes-when it is one huge piece of boring gunk. Why can't we sing the songs that we sang growing up in the Church... back when it was good and Catholic?
    And what is with people no longer scootching over? When did it become pew policy that once your butt is planted it is not moving and if someone else wants to sit in your pew, well they better climb over you and your purse? Scoot the hell over people! Nothing irritates me more than people who don't scoot! Seriously.

  12. Cris- I love you! LOL!

  13. I had not read this when I posted my rant! See, we are brothers!

  14. Anonymous10:24 PM

    I am not a "scooter." We get to Mass 20-30 minutes early so we can sit on the end of the pew for a reason.

    Angela M. and Mr. M.

  15. LOL! I sit at the end of the pew because I want dominance!

  16. I'm with Cris on the scooching. If you want to sit on the end, come late. Okay, what theee heck parish do you belong to so I can AVOID IT LIKE THE PLAGUE???? It sounds 100 times worse on any average Sunday than even one of our "teen Masses" at 6pm with drums, and drama, and everything!

  17. Ew, that just sounds bad. Oddly enough, most parishes in our diocese are like this. Leaves a family with very little options. I pray my children don't have to endure this crisis forever. I have hope.


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