Posted by: Joe of St. Thérèse | July 16, 2008

Thoughts on WYD

Disclaimer: If I dare offend anyone, I’m not sorry for it, as I’m not trying to be politically correct.

One of the biggest problems I truly believe is when we “relaventize” things for a particular group or need.

I truly believe that the WRONG questions are being asked of today’s youth. It is NOT about what can God do for ME, but what I can do for God. (In other words, the VERTICALITY IS WHAT MATTERS, NOT THE HORIZONTAL)

The horizontal dimension must be minimized for maximum effect…(don’t worry, this shall be explained).

What goes on in the minds of the youth, a. who are we? b. why we are here? c. I know more than you do, d. what is true?

In other words my friends, they are searching for an IDENTITY!

Now how can we help THEM find an Identity, when WE OURSELVES don’t know who we are?
(Translation: How can we teach them to be Catholic, when we ourselves don’t even know what it means to be Catholic?)

The answer is of course it’s impossible to do such a thing. But don’t worry there’s hope: Jesus Christ through His vicar Pope Benedict XVI!

In case you haven’t gotten message of the program that Pope Benedict is doing, it’s restoration of Catholic Identity, so that we can pass this on to the next generation of Catholics.

How is it that we can expect the youth to STAY Catholic, when they can’t even answer the simplest of questions such as the following:
-Why should the Tabernacle be located in the Center of the Parish Church?
-Why is that we genuflect to the Tabernacle as Catholics?
-Why is it that we make the sign of the Cross when we pass Churches?
-Why a crucifix, and not just a plain Cross?

For the past 40 years since Vatican II, we’ve had a LOSS in Catholic Identity and who we are. In some cases we’ve done so much to appease Protestants (especially in the areas of Church design) that we have no idea what is Catholic when we see it.

I’m guessing the reason why I haven’t found job as Youth Minister isn’t because of any lack of competence in the material, rather it’s because I don’t want to stick to the status quo of doing things. I don’t want to do LIFETEEN, or any other model of Youth Ministry, because I think that this is the wrong approach to how to AUTHENTICALLY attract the Youth to the Church.
The things that I want to do as Youth Minister are completely contrary for the most part to what has been done for the past 20 years or so, give or take how long this ministry has existed.
I truly believe to attract the Youth, you have to start with knowing who YOU yourself are (yes, I know this is self pointing, but there’s a purpose to my madness.).

In the context of what I’m talking about, what does it mean to know yourself?

What I am talking about is starting where everything begins. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (you know, Liturgy, where Pope Benedict has been trying to recover lost items)

Let us start with the simplest of things…Solemnity. One of the few advantages of the NO versus the TLM is that you can ALWAYS have Solemnity whether it’s daily Mass or Sunday Mass. (That’d be one of the things I’d change for the TLM is having High Masses whenever). Solemnity is ESPECIALLY NEEDED FOR TEENS! Why? If we don’t take Mass seriously (definition of Solemnity), how in the world can we expect them to take it seriously?
Solemnity is expressed in every action that is done at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (and yes, EVERY ACTION). Hence, the priest should NOT greet ANYONE during the procession. He should show the congregation (especially the teens) that this is something that we take SERIOUSLY by being in prayer during the procession. His eyes should be focused upon the Tabernacle (or if your Church has been wreckovated, or a Cathedral/Basilica the crucifix). He should then thoughtfully GENUFLECT to the Tabernacle (or bow to the altar if and ONLY IF the Tabernacle is NOT present in the Church). One of the causes of Vatican II was the Lack of solemnity especially on Sunday (too many Low Masses). As well as some of the priests rushing through the rubrics and the Latin. Ideally the chair for the priest would be located on the side of the Sanctuary as to not face the people. (Unless of course it’s a Bishop celebrating Mass in which case the chair should be facing the people). This solemnity should in turn be expressed by the ALTAR BOYS (yes, altar BOYS) who serve at Mass by their EVERY ACTION. They should be serious, no laughing, talking or anything like that during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. They should thoughtfully genuflect to the Tabernacle during the Mass. (GIRM 274, Is one of those American Adaptations (during the Mass, no one should genuflect, this is incorrect). They should be in unison in every action. (like the TLM, machine efficiency). The priest should also act exactly the same at the recessional and WAIT till de-vesting to socialize.

They (the altar Boys) should be attentive during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, being noteworthy of every detail that is going on during the Mass. If Father allows them to touch the Sacred Vessels, they should handle them with reverence and care. (If I was in charge, I would make them wear gloves, as their hands are not consecrated to touch the Sacred Vessels). They should handle the patens with care as well. They should also be doing their actions prayerfully. They should be dressed seriously for this manner as well. (NO JEANS, and CASSOCKS AND SURPLICES ONLY)

The priest when offering the Mass, should do so with reverence and care for the words that are being used in the Mass. He should not (nor can he) change the words to the Mass. To change them is to not take our Worship due unto God seriously. (not to mention illicit). As Fr. Z says “say the black, do the red” should be a principle that’s applied. He the priest is praying these words to God the Father, through God the Son, (acting in persona Christi). The vestments are supposed to act as a veil to the person of the priest. In other words, it’s supposed to set apart him from just an ordinary person there at Mass. Likewise lectors and God forbid but if necessary EOMHC’s should also have some sort of Liturgical garb on. If it’s a woman, a veil would be nice along with something similar to a religious habit. If it’s a man, Cassock and Surplice of course. This would show clearly that this is something to be taken seriously. (A good book on this is Modern Ceremonies of the Roman Rite by Bp. Peter Elliot)

People often say that people like to be doing something, well, here’s some advice, use incense. Not only is it representative of the prayers of the Saints (ref: Rev 8, 3; 5, 6), it also looks very formal and we all know that everyone likes smells and bells. The more incense, the better. As well as using the bells for the appropriate parts of the Mass. (the hanc Igitur, Sanctus, Elevations, and the Domine non sum dingus). The sounds highlight the importance of these parts. Using the Roman Canon also helps because there are more gestures that everyone should do (i.e. multiple signs of the Cross, striking of the breast, etc). Important while I’m on the topic is to bring back the gestures, (crossing one’s self at the end of the Gloria, Credo, Miseratur, etc)
Mass is something that is supposed to be outside of the world, hence, there shouldn’t be ANY secular music playing or any rock styles. (i.e. AVOID WITH ALL NECESSITY PRAISE AND WORSHIP MUSIC FOR THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS).

As I mentioned before, It’s not about what God can do for the teens, it’s about what the teens can do for God. (well, derivative of that statement, but same point). We must begin to change the mindset of how we’re doing things in order to truly be successful. When we teach, we really must explain WHY we do things the way that we do them in the Catholic Church. WHY expression is important of interior belief. Of course examples should be used that relate well, no one’s questioning that, but the CENTRALITY OF EVERYTHING MUST BE GOD! This is something that I truly believe that is lost and Pope Benedict is trying to recover for us.

Now that I’ve started the debate, continue.

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