View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Mass Review

I attended another parish's Mass this evening.

I'll leave the parish unnamed.

The church had a number of statues and stained glass windows, which was nice to see. The Tabernacle was off to the side, but still clearly visible to the congregation. Good

The church is a large one; it was not very full for this Mass. The attendees were a mixed group in terms of age. Some folks were dressed nicely. Some, well, shorts and t-shirts.

Before Mass, the "folk group" (guitar, piano, a few singers) played a couple of pieces. I normally don't describe liturgical groups - even ones with guitars - as folk groups, but the name fit this particular group.

Before Mass there was lots of loud, distracting talking in the congregation. Focusing on prayer and preparing for Mass wasn't easy.

The Mass began. The guitarist was good, but played in an outdated 60s/70s folkie style, and the songs were a bit older than what I'm used to. They would be wise to update their style and their repertoire - there's better music available. The group's singing was uneven. The lead - and loudest - female vocalist had a grating voice.

The congregation did not seem to be singing much. They did say the prayers out loud, though, and they knelt at the right spots. Hooray.

The lector was good. The deacon did a nice job reading the Gospel.

The priest's homily was ... adequate. Not particularly well-structured or delivered, but I've heard worse. I hope it was just an off night for him.

This weekend's focus in the Church is on vocations (Sunday is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations). At this parish's Mass they did pray for vocations. And the bulletin contained a good long article about vocations. But not everyone reads the bulletin carefully and the length of the article would put off some people. A well-delivered, well-crafted homily on the topic would have been far more effective. The readings certainly offered material for such a focus. A missed opportunity.

[ADDED LATER: Sunday I attended another parish's Mass. On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations there were no prayers about vocations to the priesthood, diaconate or religious life, no bulletin articles about vocations, no mention of vocations in the homily. Sunday's parish made Saturday's parish look much better when it comes to encouraging vocations.]

After Communion, the priest read a list of announcements; that could have been shortened. Father then called up the kids to give them special "kids bulletins" - it seemed awkward.

Then he blessed some prayer shawls parishioners had made. That was nice.

At the end of the Mass, people began fleeing before the priest and deacon had even left the altar. Indeed, the church was half empty before the final hymn ended. Very disappointing.

I've been to worse Masses, but I was not impressed. Maybe it was just a bad day.

I'm not inspired to go back there.


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