Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Youth’

Fr. Barron on WYD, Pope Francis and a Question for CF

August 6th, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris

ScreenShot325It would be hard to do justice to Fr. Barron’s summary of Pope Francis’ message at World Youth Day and beyond, so his words should stand on their own:  and if that doesn’t work try

The point is not so much to admire or repeat the message but rather to ask how do we, as an on-line community, fit into this Call?

This question is NOT a criticism of anything that has gone before, but rather is an invitation to explore our mutual opportunity to serve the Lord.

What do you think?


Just Clowning Around

April 8th, 2011, Promulgated by Abaccio

Such that everyone is aware, I call your attention to something that is again happening at Peace of Christ parish, the first performance of which is one week from today.

Passion Mime

The Passion Mime is a prayerful dramatization of the Passion of Jesus Christ performed by eighth graders and alumnus (sic) of Siena Catholic Academy. This moving portrayal of the events leading up to, and including, the crucifixion of Christ is done through Mime and Music via Narration. The Passion Mime Presentations will be Fri., April 15 at noon, Tuesday, April 19 and Good Friday, April 22 at 8:00 p.m. We truly hope that you will make the Passion Mime apart of your Lenten Journey.

Rich posted about this the past three years, here, here, and here.

Jesus Christ, Superman?

This occurs, once again, despite heavy criticism in years past.  Of course, this has been vehemently defended by Fr. Brian Carpenter, and obviously allowed by Fr. Bob Schrader, pastor of the parish.

Some issues:

1) The sanctuary is used as a performance stage.  Fr. Carpenter insists that it is not fundamentally a performance, but a prayer.  Clearly, miming in a Superman t-shirt and suspenders does not fit into the tradition of Catholic prayer.

2) The music used comes from Godspell and Jesus Christ, Superstar.  This is not sacred music, nor is it appropriate music to ever be played within the church proper, let alone as accompaniment to a mime performance in the sanctuary.

3) The use of mime in general is an unacceptable means by which to present the passion.  Mime is, by definition, “an ancient dramatic entertainment representing scenes from life usually in a ridiculous manner” Instead, why not do something whose origin is not farce, such as living stations of the cross.  This is something that could at least be considered “prayer.”

4) The use of children, who do not know better, is disheartening.  I personally know some previous passion mimers, and can tell you that their understanding of the faith is astonishingly limited.  Telling them that this sort of cockamamie absurdity will help them grow in the Catholic faith is hogwash.

Now, to head off the complaints that will surely come in:

1) No, I am not blaming the children.  This, much like previous posts about children hanging around the sanctuary, is really about the adults.  They’re using kids to push their agenda.

2) This is not a prayer.  Don’t even bother claiming that it is.

3) I don’t care if sixty-six children are involved in this.  Might does not make right.

4) Don’t bother telling me I just haven’t experienced it, so I shouldn’t comment until I have.  I also haven’t experienced jumping over Niagara Falls in a barrel, nor do I intend to do so, but I will still tell you that it ought not be done.

Who came up with this?

5) Don’t bother explaining that Fr. Shrader has competent authority here.  Just because it is not explicitly stated that a passion mime in the sanctuary of a Catholic Church is unacceptable does not make it acceptable.  As head of the CDF, Cardinal Ratzinger got the nickname “Cardinal No,” since so many people wrote into him, asking “Cardinal Ratzinger, can we do this?” And, almost invariably, when presented with something goofy, he responded, “No.”  I can picture his facial expression upon seeing something like this in the sanctuary.  It’s probably much like his facial expression  upon being presented with shirtless acrobats.

As always, if we had bothered with Catechesis these past 4 decades, and had a sense of sacred space (non-wreckovated), and taught children actual prayers, we would not be resorting to this silliness.

Young People Are Not Embracing His Vision

February 7th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Bishop Clark offered his annual young adult Mass yesterday afternoon at Blessed Sacrament church. We have received a few e-mails from readers who attended the Mass providing accounts of their experiences. What follows is a brief recap of the youth Mass along with commentary.

>> Attendance: The estimates we received varied from 100-150 total people in attendance. According to one reader, many of the people there were regular attendees of Blessed Sacrament. Most interesting is that this young adult Mass, which was geared toward persons aged 20-40, had very few people in attendance from that targeted demographic. The estimates are that there were between 25 to 30 young adults in attendance for this Mass. If the goal was to reach out to young people, then the diocese failed miserably through this Mass. I imagine that a number of people stayed away because the bishop’s Masses usually include terrible contemporary music and liturgical dance.

>> Liturgical dance: In the weeks preceding this Mass, there were ads placed in a number of parish bulletins seeking liturgical dancers. According to reports, there was no liturgical dance at the Mass. Perhaps this was because there was a poor response to the requests for dancers? Even more interesting, one reader informs us that they didn’t even have altar servers for the Mass! The youth minister of the parish had to process with the crucifix during the open and closing processions.

>> Hand clapping: During the Alleluia, the bishop reportedly began clapping to the music. A reader tells us that nobody else in the congregation clapped along, so it was just the bishop clapping by himself. There is no reason for anyone to be clapping along to the Alleluia, so I’m glad to hear that nobody joined in.

>> A strange homily: We have an audio recording of the homily that I just listened to. My goodness… The bishop jumps around from topic to topic, and it makes no sense. For some reason around 6 minutes in, the bishop brings up accepting homosexuals! Why did he bring that up? He just goes into homosexuality clear out of the blue after beginning his homily talking about the introductory rites of the Mass! It’s crazy. The entire homily was delivered from memory, and boy does it show. It bugs me when priests, deacons and bishops try to show off by reciting their homilies off the top of their heads. Often these homilies are incoherent ramblings with little substance. I would rather have a priest read from a prepared piece of paper and deliver a rock-solid inspiring homily, than to have a priest show off his memory and deliver hollow nonsensical drivel.

>> Feigned diversity once again: In a show of diversity, the readings at the Mass were done in different languages. Reportedly the languages included Swahili and Russian (though our reader isn’t sure about the second language). What is the point in doing this? For all the diatribes the progressives make about the Latin Mass being in a language the people don’t understand, why do they so often have readings done in languages that NOBODY UNDERSTANDS? Enough with the forced diversity. Just offer the Mass reverently and you’ll make a more lasting impression than having a reading done in  Swahili, or Russian, or German.

Synopsis: The poor turnout and poor participation (namely in liturgical dance) suggests to me that the young people of this diocese do not embrace the same vision for the Church that Bishop Clark and his fellow progressives do. The young are not interested in liturgical dance, contemporary church music, and mushy preaching about homosexuality. Thank God that this is the case, because it indicates that there is a ray of hope for the future of the Church.

The Heart of an Immense Darkness…

January 31st, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

I, too, was present at this “Mass,” and I’m going to be giving my commentary on it.  Hurrah for Catholic Schools Week?

Today was the beginning of Catholic Schools Week, therefore Aquinas deemed it necessary to have a “mass” with the entire school, as well as all of Nazareth Elementary. As it can be imagined, this went about as well as the last one, if a bit worse.

Father Bob Werth said the mass. I didn’t realize how much this would change the entire mass until he opened his mouth. In the opening prayer it was mentioned somewhere about that we shall be solemn “for the next hour or hour and a half.” I thought they were joking, but the mass started at 9:30 and ended at eleven. Long masses are wonderful when they’re, say, Latin mass, but the Father Werth Long Mass is painful.

Father started the FWLM by encouraging us to do the “big sign of the cross,” whereupon he scooped his hands in various ways that vaguely resembled the sign of the cross but seemed more like he was warding off an impending attacker who stood five feet away from him, and somehow his feet were glued to the floor.

I thought it looked like he was slowly and dramatically swatting flies.  It looked really dumb.

The Opening Hymn was, “Shine, Jesus, Shine.” during this hymn, the Nazareth dancers (the same ones from last time, only there were more of them and their dresses contained less fabric.*)paraded around the congregation in the center of the gym, waving their arms in some sort of weird ritualistic dance. This time, they looked less like zombies and more like they were offering up the corn harvest.

*I don’t know why it’s so hard for the little Nazareth dancers to wear sleeves. I understand that ladies no longer wish to wear hats to church, and, as painful as it is, I think it’s not something that can really be controlled anymore. But please, ladies, cover your shoulders when you go to mass. If I could have, i would have given all those girls the Paper Sheets of Shame, like they do in Italian churches.

Nah, the dresses definitely had more fabric.  Lots of fluffy organza-esque stuff, and they were longer this time.  The colours were still awful, though, and they still didn’t fit the liturgical season (light ballerina pink, anyone?), and the dresses were still not appropriate for Mass.  Dance recital, yes.  Mass, not at ALL.  I am agreed on the Paper Sheets of Shame point though.  Those were funny. ^_^

Dear Nazareth teachers: Mass is not a performance.  I love your little children dearly and find them irresistably adorable, of course!  But the Sacrifice of the Mass–the LITURGY! is not a place for them to parade through the area which sould be designated as a “sanctuary” and do their little arm-waving gestures.  And the drum is just unnecessary.  If you have any problems with this, take it up with me.

Father then opened the mass and commented on the situation in Egypt, and somehow the phrase, “it’s not all about the money” sneaked into his speech about three times. It was hard for me to see how it was related because it was hard for me to listen to him at all.

The reading(first and only) and the responsorial psalm went passably, in that they weren’t mentally scarring. The Gospel was from Mark, and it was a good reading. The mass really sterted to go awry at the beginning of the homily.

Fr. Werth seems to be one of those types who likes to give bits of his homily at ALL times of the Mass, not just after the Gospel!  Isn’t this great.  By the way, today’s reading was the Gadarene demoniac, who was possessed by a legion of demons, but then Jesus chased the demons out of the man and into the pigs and then chased the pigs into the sea.  It was awesome. Talk about badass Bible!

Father began by discussing the importance of Catholic schools, which is a good thing, since it seems like our diocese doesn’t really seem to get that. He didn’t talk about the fact that they needed to stay open, though. He spent quite a lot of time praising Aquinas and nazareth for being such good schools and then began discussing his opinions on money. The phrase, “It’s not all about the money” was most of the next part as he said it, then muttered some point about how parents work hard to keep kids in school (which is true), uttered the phrase again, said something else that didn’t really seem related, then shouted the phrase a few more times.

Yeah, I have to say–telling us it’s not all about the money is like saying, “Don’t think of purple elephants.”  We’re students!  The better majority of us listen idly to our parents tell us just how expensive our school is and then move on with life.  (Sorry, Mom.)  The Gospel was about a guy who was POSSESSED.  He had a legion of demons inside him!  And then Jesus kicked all their butts!  How much cooler do you get??  That was the perfect opportunity to sell a totally amazing “Church Militant” homily which glorifies Jesus as a sort of superhero! (I mean, there were tons of little kids there and I think they’d find that story just really, really awesome.)

Somewhere in the homiliy Father Werth stopped talking about schools and started talking about weather. He was annoyed, he said, that people care so much about weather when it doesn’t really matter. At this point I was on the verge of hysterical laughter and had to struggle to maintain silence.

The rest of the homily was him again screaming, “It’s not all about the money” a few hundred times more for good measure and then saying some other stuff. One of these other things was him talking about how Jesus is such a crucial part of our life that he should be the answer to everything. He then began asking everyday questions and encouraging the congregation to respond with, ‘Jesus!’. It went as follows (With FW ans the priest and C as the congregation):

FW: What’s up?
C: Jesus!
FW: How’s it going?
C: Jesus!
FW: What’s the weather like?
C: Jesus!
FW: How are you?
C: Jesus!

…I’m not going to comment a lot on this.  I was trying to stay patient by this point in time.  Any sense of reverence had totally disappeared, and the homily turned the Sacrifice into a talk show. >.<

There were more casual questions that made no sense with the answer as Jesus, but I think the point is there.
He then went on to give five questions that people should be asking themselves daily. I don’t remember exactly what they were, but I can assure you that they were cheesy things such as, ‘How do I see the world differently?” and “Who is in heaven that I should be looking to?” [Both the answers were, of course, Jesus.]

Eventually, the homily ended and after some other, less significantly painful parts of mass, we arrived at the Eucharistic Prayer. During this prayer, the Father would change the words at will, both to change the meaning and to remind everyone of his homily. There were, in the end, maybe two or three sentences of the prayer that were completely unchanged, if that.

Which makes me wonder, was it a legitimate Mass?  He prolonged the words of the Consecration and did two elevations of each the Host and of the chalice–first at the Secret (and waved each the Host and the chalice all the way around the gym) and then at the words of consecration, where they are supposed to be.  The only difference was that at the first elevation, he held the host flat, and at the second, he held it up at the words of “this is my Body.”  If you make it up as you go along, you have destroyed the point of the Sacrifice!  I really, really don’t know if this Mass was legitimate.

The Communion song was, “Lean on Me, ” and I still have no idea how that is a church song. After that song was the song, “Seasons of Love,” which was apparently from the musical Rent. It made me ashamed of the Aquinas choir, because usually they’re pretty okay with at least singing fairly religious songs. Their voices were amazing, but, again, I failed to see how it was related to anything else.

After the usual dull “Post communion reflection” and prayers was the graduation of one of the Chinese exchange students, Joyce, and it went acceptably. Once that was over, however, the mass again became awful as the little dancers gathered again, dancing to the song, “I Send You Out,” which is one of those songs upon which dissertations could be written about how awful it is.

In short, the mass was terrible. None of the elements tied together, the homily made absolutely no sense, and the words were changed for all of it. I don’t feel “churched,” and I don’t think anyone else does either,

Oh yes.  Rent. Let’s do, as a song in MASS, a musical song from a musical about sleeping around.  Lovely. I have nothing against the song itself!  “Seasons of Love” is a fine song, for a Broadway show, and the choir sounds downright flat-out amazing.  But this isn’t a concert, it’s a solemn sacrifice.  Would anyone have known this?  Not at all.

Thank you for reading this, if you made it all the way to the bottom.  If you have any issues with me personally, email me:  Otherwise, comment.  And pray for Aquinas, and for Nazareth.  Pray for deliverance from the insanity, and pray that God gets the respect He is due.  Just once… please.

A Christ-centered Youth Group? Who knew!

December 19th, 2010, Promulgated by Abaccio

Thanks to Rich Leonardi for bringing this to my attention.

The youth group at Cincinnati’s Imaculate Heart of Mary Church is rather impressive.  In addition to its substantial size, and trip down to the March For Life, the youth group webpage has an entire section devoted to, “What is the Eucharist?” and even quotes at the top, “Dear young people: The happiness you have a right to enjoy has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist.” (Pope Benedict XVI) They quote scripture, they quote Ignatius of Antioch, they had a Theology of the Body Retreat!

This appears to be a very healthy parish–Their website has entire sections on Theology of the Body and Natural Family Planning.  They have perpetual Eucharistic Adoration.  Last weekend’s collections totaled a whopping $57,525! (6 weekend Masses).  Lest you think this is a huge aberration, they are averaging $43,000+ per week for the this fiscal year.    It seems to me that people are willing to tithe when their parish is actually LOYAL TO HOLY MOTHER CHURCH!

Contrast this image with that of St Paul’s in Webster, where youth minister Nora Bradbury-Haehl is a fan of such things as “Voice of the Faithful,” “Call to Action,” and Barack Obama, and routinely gives (illicit) homilies at St. Paul.  Haehl has also supported women’s ordination, both in person and in print.  Haehl once wrote of CrossRoads, (the High School youth group) “But don’t come expecting to be preached to or have religion shoved down your throat.”  Clearly this is a woman in love with her Catholic faith!

This is the garbage they feed to our youth here in Rochester.  Before sending your child to some parish-sponsored (or diocese-sponsored) youth group, do some research.  These groups can provide a group of solid friends, whose first love is Christ.   Alternatively, they can be nothing more than a secular summer camp, singing campfire songs and telling every teen that everything they choose to do is okay, just so long as they are nice, and friendly to the environment, and don’t pollute, and be tolerant.  Speaking of sin and heresy, you see, is outdated and judgmental.

News Flash!

Christ did not call us to be syrupy-sweet nice, “tolerant”, and ecological.  He called us to have faith, hope, and love.  He called us to follow His commandments.  He called us to worship and prayer.  He did not call us to pompously dissent, but to humbly obey.  He did not call us to congregationalism, but to be ONE, as He and the Father are one.

Pray for the youth and young adults of our diocese!

A Diocese of Rochester Children’s Mass

October 13th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

These pictures below are a little dated (from December of last year), but I don’t believe they have appeared on any of the Rochester blogs up to this point. The following are from a children’s Mass at St. Charles Borromeo church in Greece. I don’t think I need to run through the laundry list of liturgical abuses present in these images, but suffice to say that sitting on the floor within the sanctuary and throwing pieces of paper all over the “holy of holies” are hardly appropriate during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Continue to make a mockery of the Mass, and you will continue to see young people fall away from the faith. These strange activities would have been more appropriate in a Sunday school class or vacation Bible camp setting. But no, they are taking place within the liturgy.

AQ/Naz Mass

September 29th, 2010, Promulgated by Ink

Mass today was… interesting, to say the least.  I think I need to be cleansed… heheh, guess I write for the right site then, hmm? =P

This post sums up what Mass was like… very, very well, in fact.  I’ll go through some of it and add my comments in purple.

After my homeroom finally discovered where we were supposed to sit, I started to look around. I glanced at a group of girls wearing sleeveless (but high-collared), short, sparkly peach dresses, and i got a sinking feeling that they would dance. And dance they did. During the opening hymn, the girls (and one boy who was wearing a blue t-shirt and black pants) they couldn’t even make him match the girls! started slowly walking through the isle of Nazareth students, their arms in front of them as if they were zombies. once they reached the front, they stood in a formation and moved oddly in something I would not consider a dance in any context. While they moved, a teacher, presumably the Nazareth music teacher, was standing at a microphone, rocking back and forth and bouncing up and down with a guitar, singing. It was acoustic–were it electric, I just might have walked out right then and there. There was also a teacher (whom I’d heard was a Spanish teacher) on drums. The entire thing looked terribly un-Catholic, and I found myself rather glad that the mass was in the gym – I didn’t want to have bad associations of the Auditorium and I would never wish that on a church. It was like Port-A-Sacred-Heart-Cathedral.

That’s just part of it.  This whole so-called “Mass” was enough for me to end up in tears shortly afterward.  I can call the experience nothing short of outright traumatizing.

Also, a note on the bishop’s homily on angels (which was really about how we should be like angels to others–not really about angels at all but about the community present): it felt weak and nonmotivational, and to be honest… after Fr. Bonsignore’s homily on angels at High Mass on Sunday, I don’t think anyone can top it.

A Note on Modesty-Canandaigua Academy Edition

September 23rd, 2010, Promulgated by Abaccio

Parents often complain about the immodest, inappropriate behavior exhibited by teens and young adults (and hyped up by the media).  All too often, these same people allow their children to own immodest clothing, watch whatever they want on television, and go through their teenage years generally unsupervised.

Mind you, more often than not, young people take their behavioral cues from their parents.  If it is okay for a father to watch hyper-sexed television and movies, then it rings false to say that it’s inappropriate for his children.  Dear Dads–IT’S NOT OKAY!  Young people do not respond to “age-based morals,” by which I mean the all-too common parental tack “you’re too young for that, son.”  If it’s inappropriate at age 14, it’s inappropriate at age 40.

Enter a rather interesting story that’s made a few headlines lately.  Canandaigua Academy postponed its first dance of the year, and instituted some new rules and supervisory techniques for their homecoming dance this weekend.  Among them:

1 ) No back-to-front dancing

2 ) No sexually explicit dancing of any kind

3 ) One Strike[violation of 1) or 2)], You’re OUT!–No warnings, no refunds

4 ) More chaperones

5 ) More lighting

6 ) Open to parental attendance as chaperones

7 ) No music videos will be played

8 ) The DJ will be moved to the center of the dance floor

9 ) A greater variety of music (read: LESS RAP/HIP HOP)

10 ) Ensure that students adhere to the dress code

Parents, take a cue from Canandaigua Academy.  Request similar changes for your children’s school dances.  I, for one, applaud this against-the-grain development!  By the way, folks, do not assume that simply because your child attends a Catholic School, that school dances are markedly more appropriate than they are in public schools.  As a former Catholic School student, and as someone who works closely with current local Catholic School students, I can assure you that they are not.  Note:  By no means am I claiming that this occurs everywhere.  The next time I see an appropriate school dance will be the FIRST time.