All posts tagged: Mass for Millennials

Diagnosing violence: A response to Christine Horner

Dear Ms. Horner, Under normal circumstances, I would have found it easy to resist the impulse to comment on your recent brief and public letter to Pope Francis in The Huffington Post  in which you “implore” him “to call for an end to the religious ritual” that has been a part of the Catholic Mass for centuries—that of repeating the words of the Centurion to Christ “Lord I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof…”—an expression you declare to be “one of the most destructive phrases in human history.” I don’t usually take the time to comment on the conversation taking place in the blogosphere.  But I found I had to make an exception in this case. My hesitancy to enter the fray was overcome by the new escalation of violence that has taken our country—indeed the entire world—by surprise over the last several weeks. Even with the increasingly commonplace reality of terrorist attacks and rising homicide rates, the vicious attack abroad in Nice and the tragic events at home in Baton Rouge, …

Social and Liturgical Action in the 21st Century

Many of my fellow Catholic Millennials are concerned for moderate to drastic social change, especially in the United States. I would venture to guess, though, that many of these same Catholic Millennials do not realize there is a long history of Catholic social action deriving from the “source and summit” of the Catholic life, the liturgical action. How are these two seemingly different aspects of life connected? We cannot forget the words of our Lord for loving our neighbor and caring for the environment, but I would like to focus on making connections between the Liturgical Movement of the twentieth century and my generation’s affinity for social action. Virgil Michel, OSB was one of the foremost proponents of the connection between social action and liturgical action in the twentieth century. A monk of St. John’s in Collegeville, Minnesota, Michel is famous for his promotion of lay “active” or “actual” participation in the liturgical life of the Church. Founding the Liturgical Press in 1926, he used this venue to spread the latest news from the liturgical …

The Mass for Millennials: Recessional Hymn

The Mass is ended. Go in peace. Thanks be to God. Just kidding. We’re going to sing one more hymn, even though the presider just told y’all to leave. Oh wait. A lot of you have already left. And a lot of you are packing up to leave right now. Aaannd the rest of you are looking at me like you don’t like me because you heard the word “go” and you really want to go but your good ol’ Catholic guilt is compelling you to stay. So let’s make a joyful noise, now, shall we? If I had a dollar for every time I encountered the above reactions to the recessional hymn in my experience as a cantor, I would have many dollars. To be fair, not every Sunday played out in the way I’ve described above (only somewhat exaggeratedly). Some Sundays and major feast days I would see congregations pick up their hymnals excitedly after hearing the title of the hymn announced or seeing it in the worship aid. Celebrations of greater solemnity—Christmas …

The Mass for Millennials: the Solemn Blessing

 “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”[1] In the Jewish tradition the Levites, the sons of Aaron, had two main functions – to offer sacrifice to God in the Temple and, as we read in Numbers, to bless the Israelites using the name of God. Through this sacrifice and blessing they carried out their task of sanctifying the people and keeping them in union with the Lord. The triple blessing found in the Book of Numbers continues to be used right to the present day, found in the Roman Missal as one of the optional Solemn Blessings to be given at the end of Mass. It has always been a powerful …

The Mass for Millennials: Prayers After Communion

“Stick-to-itiveness is one of the more inelegant words in the English language, but I have a special fondness for it. … I have also found that it is one of the marks of Christian discipleship and have learned to admire those who exemplify it.” Eugene H. Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society There are at least three streams of cultural influence working against young Christians who desire stick-to-itiveness—who want their faith to have true staying power. The first stream is the cultural influence of the status-quo, which insists that a life of faith is mostly confined to young students and parents of children. If you have spent any time leading or participating in youth ministry in the past few decades, you know the statistics. After high school, church attendance drops significantly. And it tends to stay there for a while, at least until you get married and have kids and want to raise them “properly.” The second stream is our general hurried pace, and our celebration of this …

The Mass for Millennials: The Communion Hymn

St. Augustine famously said that he who sings prays twice. Commonly seen on choir t-shirts and tour booklets, a reapplication of Augustine’s phrase taken out of context elevates the skill of those able to sing as being more accomplished at prayer. Yet, this isn’t quite true. Reading the whole text which this blurb is taken from leads to a deeper understanding. Augustine writes, “For he who sings praise, does not only praise, but also praises joyfully; he who sings praise, not only sings, but also loves Him whom he is singing about/to/for. There is a praise-filled public proclamation (praedicatio) in the praise of someone who is confessing/acknowledging [God], in the song of the lover [there is] love” (Enarratio in Psalmum 72, 1: CCL 39, 986). There are multiple ways of looking at this, yet I’m interested in one specific application of this.  Augustine’s passage is concerned with love. An apt parallel can be drawn to the Song of Songs, which Origen describes as, “a drama of love is that of the Bride hastening to consummate her …

The Mass for Millennials: “Lord, I am not worthy. . .”

Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. Several months ago, I had the opportunity to travel to a far-off land, a land I had read about and imagined my whole life. “To Hogwarts you went?” some might ask. While Hogwarts would have been a magical experience, I went to a land that was home to a figure infinitely more awe-inspiring than that of Harry Potter. To the Holy Land I traveled, with my family and 40 parishioners from my hometown. I ventured on a pilgrimage through the cities where Jesus was born, grew up, ministered publicly, and died on the Cross. Through our visits to some of the holiest sites in the world, group reflections, and personal prayer, I grew closer to the Jesus who walked this Earth. As I journeyed from Jerusalem to Nazareth and from the Jordan River to the Sea of Galilee, I felt a consistent sense of unworthiness and gratitude for the blessing of this …

The Mass for Millennials: Lamb of God

Many of us struggle with the “presence in absence” of God in the Eucharist. It is hard to believe that our God, incarnate in Jesus Christ, is really and actively present with us in the Eucharist, which seems to be just mundane, ordinary bread and wine. When faced with this feeling of doubt or even apathy, I find that the “Lamb of God” impels me to confront the “presence-in-absence” of God in the Eucharist in a new way. First, the congregation says or sings this acclamation addressed to Christ: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world; have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world; have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world; grant us peace. Then, the priest raises the eucharistic species and says aloud this text combined from John 1:29, 36 and from the Book of Revelation 19:4 acclaiming the supper of the Lamb: Behold the Lamb of God; behold him who takes away the sins …

The Mass for Millennials: Sign of Peace

As a Cradle Catholic it is safe to say that I am more than familiar with going to Mass on Sundays: it has been a part of my weekly routine since day 6 (I was born on a Tuesday. Nobody’s perfect). My understanding of and attentiveness to what happens during the Mass has changed over the years as I’ve grown up and taken more interest in my own faith. There were some parts that just didn’t make any sense to me, and others that I thought were secretly hilarious when I was younger but have today become some of the most meaningful prayers in my life. I find every time I go to Mass something different sticks out. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” is probably my favorite line of the Mass right now and I only feel like I started to understand it within the last few months. And be honest: when you were ten “The Mass is ended” “Thanks be to God” was comedic gold. I’ll admit it, sometimes …

The Mass for Millennials: Communion Rite

The first time I attended Mass while studying abroad in Italy six years ago, I was nearly trampled in the sudden surge forward at Holy Communion. The nice, familiar, genteel, orderly lines cultivated through years of practice back home in the States? Totally abandoned. At first, I thought it was just an Italian thing, like the frenetic and bewildering rush for one’s daily cappuccino e cornetto in the cramped, boisterous cafes of Rome; but it happened again, in Berlin, London, Jerusalem, Paris, and Sydney, and I continue to see it on a daily basis in my current parish in Wexford, Ireland. Initially disoriented and slightly put-off by the unceremonious, mad dash towards the altar, in time I became struck by the same sharp and visceral tug towards the sacrament that the rest of assembly felt. I began to understand–sure, why wait and go through the rigmarole of polite, solemn procession, faux-patiently waiting in line, eyes piously cast downward, when you can go and receive the Lord in the very instant you wish (although preferably while …