Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Eve Mass

I guess I've put off writing about Christmas Eve mass long enough. I suppose I've put it off too because I wasn't sure how everyone else would feel about this and I just don't want to sound like a whiny jerk (and just to reiterate I was at my Illinois parish and not the Wisconsin one).

My disappointment is two-fold. And thats really all it is, disappointment. The first part is on the part of the people, and the second is on the part of the priest (and the liturgical committee I guess).

First off the people. We all know that on Christmas and Easter you have all the twice-a-year Catholics coming. I've heard them referred to as "Chreaster Catholics" but I prefer the twice-a-year label. I got off of work at my usual time that day, I think my boss would have preferred to have me stay longer, but I warned him that I had to go home, shower, and get ready to get to mass early so I could beat out the crowds. He's not Christian, so I don't know if he really got it, but so I got off at the right time. So we get there and get our seat early - about a half hour before mass actually starts. The feel inside the church wasn't like a place of worship it was more like a party hall. People talking, laughing, waving, and doing the like. If one had actually wanted to pray before mass it would have been impossible to do so. Throughout mass you had slight chatter, cellphones ringing, and even someone walking down one of the aisles to the back on his cellphone talking. At Communion everyone goes up, but about 10% never come back to their seats. Maybe someone should remind everyone who the first to leave the last supper was, but I digress. At the first note of the recessional hymn a good 50% - 75% of the remaining in the pews split. The disrespect is just striking. I have no idea where all these people were going that they couldn't wait the extra 3 minutes to actually have mass over before they leave.

Now onto the mass itself. Before Mass starts they have to ring a bell so everyone knows to shut their mouths so mass can actually begin. I don't know where they got this bell from, but it sounded like a cow bell. I had to keep myself from laughing. Maybe this is a crazy thought from me, but maybe the priest should tell people that they should actually be quiet in church instead of ringing this silly bell. I won't even get into why they have this goofy cow bell and we can't have Sanctus bells during mass. So this was the 'children's mass'. And for the homily the priest has all the children come up. I'm not up on all the rules, but I'm pretty sure this is an abuse. But anyway all the kids come up and Father starts recounting the story of the Nativity from Luke. Then he would have the children sing a Christmas song about the part of the story he had just read and children dressed up would parade around the altar and mimic the Christmas story. For some reason at the end they also sang the Little Drummer Boy, which certainly isn't scriptural. I have a real problem with the Sanctuary being turned into a theater. It was like Willow Creek up there, except you know Willow Creek would have done it much better. Then the kicker is when the priest sends all the children back to the pews with the exception of the kids in the pageant. He says he would like to take a minute to stop mass to allow the parents to take pictures of the kids in their costumes. I've never seen anything like it in my life. Its was a complete zoo. I won't even go into the abuses of the mass that go on every week as they aren't particular to this mass.

We've already decided that we won't be doing Christmas mass there anymore. Next year we will have to find somewhere else to go because its all just too distracting for us.

Its embarrassing it really is. Thats another reason why I didn't want to write about it. Its embarrassing in front of other Catholics and other Christians. Just like the Easter Vigil mass this year when my Dad was recieved into the Church. They had liturgical dancers and all and all I could hope was that my Grandma didn't see them. I hate being embarrassed in front of the other faiths (Grandma is a non-practicing Lutheran). I would never bring anyone I know to the parish because it really doesn't give a fair view of the Catholic faith. I've been proud in the past bringing people to ours in Wisconsin, but never here. Ugh.

I think I covered most of it all. I'd like to hear what some of you guys think. Am I overreacting or what?


Cathy said...

Oh, sweetie.

I am so sorry you had to sit through this.

Yeah, I'm certain most of it was illicit.
But that's okay - it was still "valid."

It sounds like a nightmare.
I would have walked out.

I wish you lived closer so that you could make SJC your parish.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you're overreacting at all. I just said to Ma that it's similar stuff like this that 'made' us trek into town for midnight Mass for Christmas and then get a taxi home (costly!). Still, I just knew that my local would 'spoil Christmas'! :-(

Anonymous said...

I can attest to the fact that ma beck would have walked out. You have described many of my pet peeves as well. I do feel blessed to have SJC.

Rosemary said...

Oh my goodness, I don't think you're overreacting. Is there another parish nearby? It makes me really appreciate the parish we have where it's understood that we follow ALL the rubrics, we use bells during the Consecration, nobody leaves early,...we're just really blessed. I pray that God will lead you to the same.

About Me

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Catholic and politically conservative, I graduated with a BA in History (concentration in American) and Political Science. I'm between two parishes; one in Wisconsin that is fairly traditional, and one in Illinois that is fairly liberal. I teach CCD. I work in the food service industry, which basically means I'm working in fast food until I find a better job. I'd like to work for the church somehow. Right now I'm working on getting my teaching certification, although I'm unsure thats the correct path for me. This blog is as random as I am. I hope you enjoy.