Cleansing Fire

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More Misuse of the Sacntuary

August 19th, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

I just returned from attending a closing event for a week long Bible Camp that my granddaughter attended, at Guardian Angels Church in Henrietta , and I’m sick at heart.

I’m not depressed over the presentation, the kids’ enthusiastic performances or anything, really, having to do with the Bible Camp per say. It’s about where the performances were held and the disrespect shown the Blessed Sacrament.

A pep rally type event was held in the chancel with the stage in front of the altar, which was veiled by some kind of backdrop. That was bad enough with kids yelling and running all over the chancel and sanctuary before, during and after the presentations. Most shocking, however, was that the Blessed Sacrament had not been removed from Tabernacle.

Just after I arrived I mentioned my concern to the director of the camp who informed me that the issue of the presence of the Blessed Sacrament had been discussed but that the pastoral administrator -Barbara Swiecki- ruled that it was appropriate for the Blessed Sacrament to remain in the Tabernacle.

Honestly folks, the event was as I remember school pep rallies in our school gym. There was cheering, shout outs, running around, panda bear logos on the drop down screen over the altar, a somewhat large stuffed panda bear sitting on the pulpit, the director jumping around leading cheers while wearing panda ears, and the pastoral administrator firing little pandas down the nave of the church out of a large air gun that looked to be a leaf blower in disguise. Loud secular sounding melodies with “Christian” catch phrases blarred from speakers. My 4 year granddaughter covered her ears and left the stage to sit in the pews with us because the music was so loud.

How on God’s green earth the “pastoral” administrator could justify reserving the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle while all this was going to be going on is beyond me. It’s not as if she forgot about the Sacrament or didn’t know what the event would entail; she was a participant and had actually ruled, when quizzed by her staff, that the Sacrament would remain in the Tabernacle.

No one -NO ONE!- reverenced the Blessed Sacrament at any time before, during, or after the performance. No one even looked in the direction of the Tabernacle.

There were no opening or closing prayers; no attempt to create at least some respectful silence here and there during the evening. Outside of shout outs of “God listens to me!” and “God loves me!” and such, it was indistinguishable from a secular event.

What could possibly have been envisioned as being gained by leaving the Sacrament in the Tabernacle? Think upon what has been lost by doing so.

What is wrong with these people?

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15 Responses to “More Misuse of the Sacntuary”

  1. avatar Dr. K says:

    May our next bishop dispose of pastoral administration.

  2. avatar Persis says:

    And we wonder why people don’t know how to behave in Church! 🙁

    This is just plain wrong, and it casues me great embarassment to think that, at one time, I held woman like Ms. Swiecki in high esteem and wanted to be just like them.

    Thank you God for helping me to see the error of my ways!!

  3. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    What is wrong with these people?

    my guess would be that they don’t believe.

  4. avatar Gretchen says:

    Either they don’t believe, or they don’t understand what they have. Both conditions are tragic.

  5. avatar Rich Leonardi says:

    Outside of shout outs of “God listens to me!” and “God loves me!” and such, it was indistinguishable from a secular event.

    Actually, your account reminds me of one religious event. See Exodus 32.

  6. avatar Bernie says:

    Rich: But, instead of a calf it was a panda bear.

  7. avatar Kevin says:

    I’ll tell you what’s wrong with those people. They are poorly educated Catholics who don’t understand what is actually required of them. Someone screwed up, royally, when it came to the teaching the catechism for these people. Especially the female lay so-called “pastoral administrator”.

  8. avatar christian says:

    My first thought after reading the description of the event was-What do panda bears have to do with Christianity? How is God’s message being delivered to children through the use of panda bears? What kind of Bible Camp is it?
    The sanctuary is clearly not the place to have a pep rally.

  9. avatar peacebewithyou says:

    Many publishers put together different Vacation Bible Camp programs each year. Our Sunday Vistor/Group publisher’s theme for the Totally Catholic Summer Program this year was “PandaMania: Where God is Wild about You(Psalm 139.” Each day has a Bible Memory Buddy: Fez the golden pheasant(not the golden calf); a Bible Point(God made you); Bible Story(God creates the world: Genesis 1)and a key verse(I praise you, for I am . . . wonderfully made(Psalm 139;14). Each day begins with a group assembly called Party Time Sing and Play which includes introduction to the theme of the day, songs and learning about caring for God’s creation and the service project for the program. Then the children rotate among different stations through the morning: Wild Bible Adventures, Bamboo Blast Games, Treetop Treats(snack), Chadder’s Movie Mania and Crazy Crafts. “The daily Bible Point is carefully integrated into each station’s activities to reinforce faith formation.(publisher’s descriptipn of program)” The day ends with Rowdy Wrap-up. The whole program at my parish was held in the parish hall, unlike the one reported above. So I know about the shooting off of pandas into the audience, the cheers(every time you hear a Bible Point, the childran respond with “Thank you, God,” with pumping arms) and the songs. I would not have been comforatable with the Rowdy Wrap-up being held in the church or any of the other components of the program.

  10. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Good question. The perpetual DoR question: What is wrong with these people? I am pretty sure this canned program could go right into a Protestant Church and no one would notice its Catholic. Or is it the other way around? Its a Protestant program? Who knows. You can’t tell. The final production would be appropriate in a Protestant Sanctuary, which is what the DoR so stridently desires to make our Sanctuaries into.

    Certainly this is a better alternative for these children than sitting by the TV or playing on Playstation. They are getting some good in the program, certainly.

    But so sad is what they are missing. Catholic education.

  11. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Just reading what Peacebewithyou wrote. Yes, it would be much better in the parish hall. And so it is Catholic? It sounds lik it would work in a Protestant Church as well. Doesn’t seem distinctively Catholic. But it has positive Biblical elements, and sounds like a happy time.

  12. avatar christian says:

    I would beg to differ that “the final program would be appropriate in a Protestant Sanctuary.” Absolutely not. My father is mainline Protestant and I assure you that the program would not be allowed in the sanctuary of his church or any of my other Protestant relatives'(or family friends’) mainline Protestant church sanctuaries.
    A few years ago, my father and I were invited to a special church service in the evening at an area church for Good Friday. There was no mass or communion service. I have to say that everyone at that church were extremely nice and accomodating. They were very welcoming.
    The worship service took place on a stage.There was lighting on the stage. There was a sermon including scripture references and music/songs-after- young people from younger children from older teenagers, came out on stage.There was stepping, flag twirling with flags, stomping, and shouting out-I think there were drums also. There were special executed dance moves from various groups of individuals or from one individual which appeared to include fancy tap dancing, acrobatics, and break dancing.
    I was shocked to see this in church, and especially on Good Friday. The sermon was unusual, but appeared to be upbeat with a young audience in mind.
    My father sat through the church service as I did, and was very cordial to the elders and members of the church, but afterward he told me that it wasn’t his cup of tea. He told me that a friend of his had invited him to his church which was new and had opened in an old school and that he saw the same type of thing there: young people on stage stepping and stomping while twirling flags and shouting out. He told his friend that he understood that it was a way of getting young people involved in the church, but he didn’t care for that type of service; he felt uncomfortable with it. My father and I concurred that it was the most unusual Good Friday Service that we had ever been to. (The offerings are slim for evening worship on Good Friday).
    My father told me that he is more comfortable with the traditional form of worship and singing hymns with organ accompaniment.

  13. avatar peacebewithyou says:

    Re: Eliza10

    The reason for the emphasis on being “Totally Catholic” is that most of the VBS programs are protestant in origin and many Catholic Parishes use them. So the publishers are trying to appeal to the Catholic Programs. Many of the vidoes of the VBS programs appear to have taken place in the worship space which doesn’t make it right.
    After the summer session at which the children attended daily mass three times that week and closed with a prayer service in the church everyday, it occurred to me that during Vacation Bible Camp the children never once stepped into the church and maybe that was an oversight. However, I reminded myself and we should remember that this is “Vacation Bible Camp/School.” It is not meant to be a formal religious education program like a Summer Intensive Program. It is meant to be fun while exposing them to Bible Stories and our Catholic Faith and the Bible Stories on Thursday and Friday are about the Paschal Mystery.

  14. avatar Ink says:

    peacebewithyou: What about a middle ground? Teach them about the Paschal Mystery–and then finish it all off with Mass. I’m sure a priest would be more than happy to celebrate a special Mass for the conclusion of Vacation Bible Camp, so long as the children are instructed proper behaviour. Perhaps before Mass in the parish hall, the priest can give the children pointers on what to pay special attention to: the use of Scripture in the whole Mass, the words of consecration, and the entire Eucharistic prayer, to start. Then he can go into the church and get vested and the children be brought into the church quietly and they can celebrate Mass, now KNOWING what they see.

  15. avatar christian says:

    Do the children really learn Bible Stories? My sister taught religious education to children as an adult volunteer years ago, at one parish. She was given the materials to teach from. She told me the material for children included stories like a mythical Indian princess. She questioned the children at that grade level to basic knowledge they should have already been exposed to and should have known. My sister was appalled at the lack of basic education, not only of Catholic cathecism, but of basic Christian Faith!!! She told me that none of the children at that age, who had been receiving ongoing religious education, knew what the the Holy Spirit was or what the Holy Trinity was, and other pertinent basic concepts of our faith. My sister was upset with the materials and course outline she was asked to teach from because she did not think they helped children in their faith. She told the staff member who was in charge of religious education how completely inappropriate the materials were for teaching children-They get to learn stories from Indian myths and other legends and characters, but they do have the basic knowledge of their own faith. My sister wound up withdrawing from teaching religious education when no changes occurred and she refused to teach from such objectionable material.
    When I was really young, I had Bible Stories, mostly supplied by my maternal grandmother, and I learned about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, and other great Bible Stories in addition to learning about Jesus with the children. My children had Bible Stories from both the Old and New Testament, in books, and on VHS tapes. Bible Stories were a favorite bedtime request of my children. My one son requested I read Moses and the Burning Bush and Moses receiving the Ten Commandments every night for a very long period of time. My children drew inspiration from the heroes of God.
    I wonder how many children going to these Bible Camps know Bible Stories like Joseph and the Multicolor Coat, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Moses and the Ten Commandments, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, or other basic Bible stories from the Old and New Testament. Or is it more of a Disney Experience?


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