Parish Decision

| | Comments (8)

Went back to the church in question this weekend. Once again the homily was superb. No adult female altar servers--so I suspect the caution about incense was the main cause for the Midnight Mass adult female, and somehow that endears this group to me.

The hymns were mangled once again, but mangled in such a way that it suggests more than inclusivity is going on. There is a general dumbing down of the lyrics. For example, in "Angels from the Realms of Glory" they substituted "morning star" for "natal star." This just suggests idiotic tampering that I've come to associate with a certain major liturgical press. As a congregation generally buys books once, and not necessarily on the niceties of the lyrics, one is inclined to over look this.

In response to Don below, absolutely no mangling of the readings occurred this morning. The Psalm setting was exactly as it should have been and so too were all the readings. Another point in favor.

Nevertheless, we still have certain outstanding problems. Music provided this morning was duet for New Age keyboard and Saxophone with Cantor (okay, so a diverse group is contributing to the Church's music ministry). And the stained glass is ill-considered. Rather than pedagogical or inspirational, it is merely pretty blue, purple, red with a musical instrument motif--lute, French horn, etc.

I cam live with all of these quibbles. I can thrive in this church with the resolution of two questions, neither of which involves me directly.

(1) The first thing Samuel asked when we entered this Church this morning was "Why is Jesus dancing up there?" However, I did note that there seemed to be more willingness to participate and more general involvement with what is going on--so the issue of decor may be easy to put to rest.

(2) Much more problematic is that I don't see any organized catechesis for children. I know that I can do this by myself, and I will supplement whatever he gets wherever he goes with material at home. However, I do think it is good for him to be with others in learning about the faith--from the very beginnings understanding that worship is both private and public, individual and communal. I hope I am mistaken, but it appeared that there was no real means (CCD or otherwise) of cathechizing children. And if the comment I heard from the pew behind me just prior to consecration is any indication, this is a Church that desperately needs it.

A woman was explaining to her child or grandchild what the priest was holding up (the large host). She started with "That's Jesus." Good enough. Then the child said, "It doesn't look like Jesus." And the woman responded, "Well it's just a symbol of Jesus." Yes it is a symbol, but it is not "just a symbol" and in a moment it would not be a symbol at all--it would become the reality of Jesus.

However, this, I'm sure is the state of many in Church today, so I shouldn't be so harsh. And this woman could not possibly have been catechized at this Church, so it is not the influence of the Church itself.

I'll just need to continue my investigations. I thank everyone who has taken the time to respond and to help my thought process. The reality will boil down to what this church offers in the way of assisting me to help my child understand the faith. Everything else, I can deal with. It conjures up memories and spectres of the bad-old-days of protestant-Catholicism that marked my entry into the Church. But perhaps it is time much of that is laid to rest.

Honestly, I suspect the only local Church that I would be truly happy at would be the Byzantine Rite Church that looks like a Baptist Church that had been taken over by the Byzantines. I haven't tried the Maronite Rite Church yet--and the pastor there is fantastic--a man of tremendous faith and spirituality. But most importantly I need to find a place where Samuel can grow and become the person in Christ he is meant to be.

Bookmark and Share


Steven - It sounds like an important aspect of your decision is that you find a church/parish where Samuel can get a good, meaningful religous formation. Sounds like my boys are a bit older (8 & 10), but I would advise that you learn about the quality of the CCD program, and if the parish has a school, learn about the quality of religous formation there too.

Our former parish had both a CCD program and an 800-student K-8 school. Neither one had even a decent religous formation program. We did find an independent Catholic school that uses the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, which is a wonderful program.

I grew up with public school and CCD in the 70's - so I'm still catching up! A good catholic religous formation program is a great gift for a child. I hope your search is fruitful, and will keep this in my prayers.

Merry Christmas, Steven. I just read your "parish decision" posts in reverse order. While it may be good, at times, to afflict oneself for the sake of penance, it seems to me that certain parameters should be observed. One's penance 1) should not involve willing participation in, or cooperation with, sacrilege, blasphemy, or any kind of wrongdoing; 2) should not be inflicted upon others; 3) and should not risk desensitizing a rightly-ordered conscience. In my opinion, attending the parish (as you described it) with your family touches upon all three of these considerations.

Just my 2 cents. :-)

Dear Jeff,

Most excellent points in the consideration of the dilemma. The one most likely is the second and probably the major consideration. What effect might this have on one so young?

Thanks for the advice. Believe me, I shall bear it mind.



Just a thought: has the priest who delivers the excellent homilies been at that parish for a while, or has he been recently assigned? If it's the latter case, there is hope for reform (though you're still stuck with the ugly/silly architecture and art).

hmmm... ever since discovering (and loving) the Byzantine Rite, I haven't wanted to go back to the Roman rite.

"Once you've had Byzantine, you'll never go back." ;-)

If Samuel is your concern, I would try for a church with a solid CCD program. If mass is trying imagine how much more trying it would be if Samuel would come home after being taught things that are not in conformance with the faith? If you are stuck with this Church, maybe it is best to just do most of his training at home and teach him how to hold charitable silence while in class.

We had 8 kids and a very sloppy CCD program. It would have been too much to transport our kids to the Catholic School one half hour away, so we had to make do. What we found is that the home life of the child is what matters most. Although we have to be more proactive in the faith rearing, that is a very good thing. Every word and action that we do ends up in the kid's psyche. Our kids are adults and heading toward middle age. They all go to church, which is something in this day and age with all the influences. We limited TV for instance. We asked the Holy Spirit to guide us. We read saints stories to them, prayed at the table extra. I can't enumerate all that we did, but good communications, good religious at home education, good rituals, good guidance, good parenting, charity toward all happened to be the basis. This is where the kid gets the foundation. Not to worry about the Church building and community you can't change anyway.

Nothing like the wisdom of a parent...10 gold stars for Jeananne



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on December 28, 2003 10:43 AM.

Prayer Requests-Feast of the Holy Family was the previous entry in this blog.

Prayer Requests--29 December 2003 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll