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Sunday, September 03, 2006

the WORST mass I have attended thus far

I just got back from mass at St. John the Evangelist in Lawrence, KS. This is my second weekend in Kansas so I decided to visit my second church in the city. Last weekend I was very happy with St. Lawrence campus center and parish.

Well not long after I enter the church the band/choir starts rehearsing. Piano (almost jazz piano) guitar and drum set.


I can already tell from what they are rehearsing that I'm in for a bad ride. But at this point I'm afraid that I don't have enough time to make it to St. Lawrence for the same time mass and I've heard some pretty bad music as mass before. So, I decide to just deal with it.

"Then, the priest walks out to the front of the church and says to the band, "what do you have for us?" They then proceed to sing some song that no one appears to know and for which there are no copies. After this song, the priest again asks, "what else do you have for us?" And the band starts into another song; this one is in the "Proclaim" photocopied “songbook” full of lyrics. Something that I’m starting to recognize as a bad sign.

Finally, the priest makes the announcements, INVITES EVERYONE TO GREET ONE ANOTHER AT WHICH POINT EVERYONE GOES THROUGH A ROUND OF HAND SHAKING AND TWISTING IN THIER PEWS LIKE OWLS, and goes to the back of the church for the processional.

The Gloria is a very strange version with rock beats coming from the drums and from what I tell only about 1/3 of the people trying to sing along. When it comes time for the responsorial psalm, it's not the one in the missal and I can't understand a word that the girl singing is saying.

After the gifts are presented and the creed (side note: maybe 10 people NOT INCLUDING THE PRIEST make anything resembling a bow at the words, "by the power of the holy spirit . . .") a group of about 10 what appear to be high school students proceed to the alter and form an arc behind the alter on both sides of the tabernacle. NO ONE kneels and the priest launches into the consecration.

When it comes time for the Our Father the priest says, "AS WE JOIN HANDS. . .” and the whole congregation shifts so that people can join hands across the aisle. The priest also steps back from the altar to join hands with the kids behind him. I really think I offended some people by prayerfully clasping my hands in front of me. The Our Father is sung with the choir/band singing each line and then the congregation repeating it.

Then comes the sign of peace with people roaming across the aisle and all over the place to shake everyone's hand they can reach. The priest takes part in this roaming as well.

At this point the 5 EMHCs come up and form an arc behind the altar. The priest distributes each of them with a consecrated host BEFORE THE "Lamb of God".

4 EMHC's distribute the wine while the priest and another EMHC distribute the hosts. Then, the priest goes and sits down while the EMHC distributes communion the band/choir. The EMHC then places the left over hosts in the tabernacle.

Finally, the closing hymn is "Our love is loud": here are the lyrics

When we sing
Hear our songs, to You
When we dance
Feel us move, to You
When we laugh
Fill our smiles, with You

When we lift our voices
Louder still
Can You hear us?
Can You feel?

We love You, Lord
We love You
We love You
We love You, Lord
We love You
We love You

When we sing [LOUD!]
Hear our songs, to You
When we dance [ROUND!]
Feel us move, to You
When we laugh [ALOUD!]
Fill our smiles, with You



And our love is big
Our love is loud
Fill this place with this love now [4x]
And our love is big
Our love is loud
Fill our lungs
To sing it now...

(Chorus [4x])

We lift our voices louder still
Our God is near
Our God is here

I didn’t realize that the bible said, “And the world so loved God that they sang their own praises and demanded that He listen”.

When the choir/band finished the song, of which the loudest part is the rock beat coming from the drum set, EVERYONE CLAPS FOR THE CHOIR/BAND!

Let me tell you, I got out of that church as fast as I could praising and thanking God that it isn't the only parish in town. I came close to leaving many times during mass.


Moonshadow said...

I am at such a loss for words, I can't tell you.

Speaking about myself, I recognize that "preferences" in the form and nature of liturgical worship are a particular weakness of mine. I have a limited range of what I can tolerate. I am all too easily distracted by shoddy music, fluffy preaching, or inattentive participation, in that order.

While I have visited churches that commit one or two of the offenses you cite, I have yet to experience them all in one place. So, I won't argue that, taken together, it is the worst.

I don't like singing the Our Father. I don't think that you are obligated to hold hands. Personally, I usually shun it myself if I can. It is frustrating when the responsorial psalm is other than from the readings of the day.

Did the ministers consume the distributed host before the priest? If they did before the Lamb of God, then it would be before the priest. If so, that is clearly wrong. But distribution prior to the Lamb of God without immediate consumption isn't wrong, as far as I know.

Keep looking. Ideally, these sorts of things shouldn't bother us but on a practical level they do. And in my opinion, it may be better to find a place that meets your expectations than to sit there week after week fighting the urge to bolt out mid-service. But a decision like that is between you and God. I sat in a church that I hated for five years because I knew that God wanted me there. I'm a little bitter about it but that's a part of working through the experience.

You have people here praying for you, you know that.

Chris said...

Thanks for the comments.

They didn't consume the host until after the priest did. But, it was very odd with so many people back and forth on the alter.

As far as holding hands during the Our Father goes, that practice has actually been discouraged by the Vatican.

There is one other parish in town that I have yet to visit. Last weekend I went to Mass at St. Lawrence Campus Catholic Center. That was a much better experience. I think finding such a wonderful campus parish had me hoping that the other regular parishes in town would be on the same level. So far I have been disappointed. For now I will return to going to St. Lawrence and plan to check out Corpus Cristi in the near future.

Matt said...

Run from that place, quickly. It sounds absurd. Write a letter to the bishop as well...

KaleJ said...

Yikes. As I say, thank God you are Catholic, otherwise it would have been a wasted experience.

I have seen many of these abuses too. I try not to get too upset, but it is very distracting. Especially the attack of the altar drones. One parish we visited had 14 EMHCs decend upon the altar. It looked like it was under attack.

As for the Our Father, I have taugh my kids to bow their heads and close their eyes as they fold their hands to pray. That way they are not even aware of someone reaching out to them. Unless someone grabs their hand which has happened to me.

And the drums part isn't just your opinion. I think St. Pius X defined some of this. Drums are out.