Imagine you're a new priest...
#11
I'd start by:

Only using the Roman Canon
Easing people into ad orientem worship by explaining things and starting slow
Do away with Communion under both kinds and EMHC's and, if I must have EHMC's only use males
No altar girls, ever
Only use Mass Propers and simple chant
Good solid homilies
No laity teaching catechism or RCIA unless they were interviewed by me.

I would do all this over a period of time to make it a smooth transition.

Oh, and at least offer the TLM once a week


I'm thinking of what's really possible today in the average parish...

Something like only using the Canon would be doable from day one with minimum hassle.
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#12
(11-18-2014, 11:05 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: I'd start by:

Only using the Roman Canon
Easing people into ad orientem worship by explaining things and starting slow
Do away with Communion under both kinds and EMHC's and, if I must have EHMC's only use males
No altar girls, ever
Only use Mass Propers and simple chant
Good solid homilies
No laity teaching catechism or RCIA unless they were interviewed by me.

I would do all this over a period of time to make it a smooth transition.

Oh, and at least offer the TLM once a week


I'm thinking of what's really possible today in the average parish...

Something like only using the Canon would be doable from day one with minimum hassle.

Oh yes, using the Roman Canon. That should go without saying.

A good cleanup on the usual NO could be accomplished in the first few months. I'd just sell the bloody guitars and drums, and if no one would play an Organ, well, then they'll just have a cappella Masses (but not these modern sugary protestant songs  :puke: ; the traditional stuff)
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#13
I'd sell the no-altar-girls thing by pointing out that, 1. we need more priests; 2. altar service introduces boys to the Mass from the priest's perspective, giving them a view into a possible career; 3. the girls can have their own group, for girls only (they won't have some during-Mass duty, don't worry), and it might be analogous to what the nuns do.

I'd be much more subtle than this, though, so that I ease people into the idea without getting run out on a rail.
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#14


TLM and all the other Sacramental rites offered trad-style ("no altar girls" goes without saying). No organ or other instrumentation during chant; organ is for hymns only. Preferably, the chant would be offered in masculine voices, with hymns for all voices, inc. parishioners. Confession much more available than the 15 minutes on Saturdays as the NO parishes do. Sigh.

Perpetual Adoration

Definite focus on making sure the aesthetics of the church are trad and beautiful.

Restore the small-T traditions -- the May Crownings, the St. John's Eve bonfires, block Rosaries, etc.

I'd most definitely set up a "Re-Catechism Class" -- one that is brief but thorough and which includes defenses against Protestantism, and reasons to support Catholic teaching that come from psychology, sociology, etc. IOW, I'd buttress the people's faith so it's as impenetrable as I can make it. I'd make sure people have the URL to the FE website (and would encourage them to send Vox tons of money so she can hire writers :P )

Parish bulletins would be meaty as Hell, filled with - well, the meat of the Faith. I'd also make them as beautiful as possible, with art. And I'd make them fun, too, with puzzles and such, and things for families to talk about over Sunday dinner -- stuff to get families TALKING to each other.

With those basics in mind, one of the first things I'd do is to have a party/meet-and-greet to meet my parishioners and learn about them, and have them learn about me. I'd hand out anonymous questionnaires asking them their opinions on how to make a great parish that meets their spiritual needs, feels like home, is helpful to them in more everyday ways, etc.

I'd make a parish phone book, with addresses, phone number, email addresses, and notes about the families (number and names of children, interests, etc.) and make sure each parishioner has one (people could opt out of having their names in the phone book, of course). The goal would be to get the parishioners to know each other, to be support and social lives for each other, to feel a part of a true community. It'd be easy to spot people who live alone so they can be given extra attention during holidays, or if they're alone and also friendless, to make sure they have someone to look in on them. Toward this end, too, I'd make good use of the parish website, and have an email group for parishioners as well.

I like the idea of having the parish basement or some sort of area with a kitchenette open and stocked with coffee, board games, cards, toys, sports stuff (basketballs, etc.), a library, a few computers, a TV and DVD player, etc. (inc. ashtrays and fans :P ) so that people could just come and hang out and meet other Catholics in a casual, outside-of-Mass setting. It'd be nice for people to have a place to go that isn't a bar or a club.

I'd have a group for homemakers so they can barter babysitting, arrange playdates, etc. People who stay home and raise kids need support, social lives, and people for their kids to play with.

I'd make sure there are "ministries," or groups or whatever you want to call them, devoted to helping parishioners who are grieving, hungry, in financial need, in need of help in other ways (say, a poor, old woman whose grass needs to be cut weekly, a single person caring for a sick parent who needs nursing assistance or just a day off once in a while, etc.) I'd have an email address and phone number set up as a general "help line" so parishioners can ask for help in a less embarrassing way than face to face.

Groups that serve the wider community would be in order, of course -- doing some of the same sorts of things parishioners would do for each other + soup kitchens, etc., depending on the area and need. I'd ask parishioners to keep an eye out in their immediate neighborhood for people in need, and then I'd try to meet those needs and invite them to Mass as well.

I'd hand-select some people who I intuit would be great at evangelizing, and I'd train them and send them out to go door-to-door, covering the entire neighborhood (at least). I'd also try to introduce people to the Faith (or get the attention of lapsed Catholics) by having picnics or bonfires or something at least once a year and putting flyers out all over the place. I like the idea of making a basic Catechism -- very small -- and going to Kinkos, printing off hundreds of copies, and putting them in neighborhood mailboxes -- with the focus on anti-Prot arguments and anti-secular arguments.

I'd do fun stuff, too, like getting together a group to go caroling in the neighborhood and at nursing homes, etc., at Christmastime. They'd be in Victorian garb and carry lanterns and it'd become a much-loved and highly anticipated event in the 'hood :P  I'd do stuff like "love-bombing" the house of some poor, old, lonely person at Christmas time by leaving boxes of goodies on his porch, all in the Name of Jesus, via St. ___  parish church! Yes! We could do medieval Mystery Plays, with all their splendor and wonderfulness. A once-a-year parish talent show! Yeah! Just things that are fun, that get people together, that keep teenagers off the streets, away from screens, and in the position of being able to find a potential mate someday etc.

If I heard of any gossipy nastiness, any backbiting, any power-grabbing, any stupid, ugly talk about homosexuality or homosexuals (whom I'd welcome with open arms), any backlashy attitudes toward women because of radical feminism, I'd take the person it came from aside and give her/him a good talking-to. And I'd make the problem the topic of a sermon real soon.
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#15
I would wear vestments such as these:

[img alt=http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Bo-OVbVooI0/TlIZidOOMTI/AAAAAAAAAFw/atAnlKxxhN8/s1600/Prinknash+low+Mass.jpg height=296 width=332]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Bo-OVbVooI0/TlIZidOOMTI/AAAAAAAAAFw/atAnlKxxhN8/s1600/Prinknash+low+Mass.jpg[/img]

And celebrate Mass like this:

[Image: Prinknash+high+Mass.bmp]

Would have a parish in this style:

[Image: Brewood_CE_Church.jpg]

With an interior like this (except the Cranmer table):

[Image: Ravenna-16.jpg]


With an altar like this:

[Image: Mass_of_St_Gilles.jpg]
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#16
Most seminarians today learn little to no Latin much less TLM and they enter parishes that have been accustomed to decades of dumbed down cheesy and uninspiring drivel. Any priest who enters a parish like our Lord entering the Temple to overturn the modernist money changers overnight is in for a rude awakening. He'll be run out of town faster than you can sing Gather Us In

That being said each parish is different. You have to get to know your parishioners and ease them into things. Basically in today's average parish a more traditional priest is entering mission territory, he has to literally help teach the Catholic Faith to folks who are Catholic by baptism, confirmation and years of parish attendance but who don't know almost anything about the Faith. 

Depending on the parish you find yourself in as a priest it might not be possible to do away with the Novus Ordo but it is possible to put some ad orientem into the Mass and to use the Roman Canon instead of the other options. It's also possible to insist on the Propers being used instead of hymns. And it's also within your right to insist that Communion be given nder one kind only and to minimize or do away with EHMC's.

One thing that would really do away with the need for EHMC's would be good sermons on just what Communion actually is and why it's necessary to be in the state of grace to receive.  Insistence on Communion under both kinds as well as this ridiculous idea that you aren't participating fully in the Mass unless you receive Communion is what has led to the percieved necessity for so much lay involvement in the sanctuary.

Above all else you need to be a priest, to wear a cassock, to be there for your parishoners, to work hard to give them the Faith and a spirit of prayer. You need to be a man of prayer yourself. Read about St. John Vianney or about modern priests like Father John Hardon. You have to remember you cannot give what you don't have. If you are serious about being a priest you'll be a firm yet gentle shepherd of souls and people will see it and appreciate it.

Make sure you are really a man of prayer, as it is noticeable. Most parishes, even the average Novus Ordo ones, have so e very prayerful parishoners. They'll notice whether you have an interior life or not, whether you are a priest for real or just a man who wants a stable job and adoring fans. It'll spill over into how you say Mass, how you give sermons, how you speak to penitents in the confessional and how you carry yourself around your parishoners.

Realize it's going to be a very rough ride but if God calls you to the priesthood he'll provide the graces to live as a priest and turn a parish around.
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#17
I've heard stories of a parish who was run for decades and decades by the worst liberals (even liberation theology folks), which in the space of some years was completely renovated. People would come to the priest saying that they never knew their church (their parish and the Catholic Church) was that beautiful. And this was done with the NO (prayed rightly—the priest only celebrates the TLM alone, for fear of repercussions, so you see its not the most fruitful diocese in the world).
This kinda gives me hope. Its as Jesus said, we must be as shrewd as a snake and as innocent as doves. A good priest though he find some resistance at times can do wonders.
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#18
(11-19-2014, 09:49 AM)Renatus Frater Wrote: I've heard stories of a parish who was run for decades and decades by the worst liberals (even liberation theology folks), which in the space of some years was completely renovated. People would come to the priest saying that they never knew their church (their parish and the Catholic Church) was that beautiful. And this was done with the NO (prayed rightly—the priest only celebrates the TLM alone, for fear of repercussions, so you see its not the most fruitful diocese in the world).
This kinda gives me hope. Its as Jesus said, we must be as shrewd as a snake and as innocent as doves. A good priest though he find some resistance at times can do wonders.



It's definitely possible, but it's safer for a priest to proceed with caution, to feel things out in ones particular parish. Some places will be more successful than others, and some priests, no matter how good their intentions and noble their efforts will either fail or make incremental progress.

I tend to think that  in many places today there is a hunger for tradition, it's just a matter of getting a priest with good people skills, a lack of human respect and the type of fortitude and vision needed to fight an uphill battle no matter the cost.

Here in these parts one of the church's put in an altar rail a few years ago because the FSSP's weekly Latin Mass changed hearts. At that Church the Novus Ordo, at least sometimes,is offered ad orientem and the tabernacle has been restored to its place right behind the altar.  The homilies are good too. The one with the altar rail that the FSSP uses is packed during Mass times, and by packs I mean standing room only. The average age is still between 55 and 70 from the look of it though. The same goes for the TLM criwd. Not many folks under 60.

At another church around here confessions are heard Monday through Friday, there is adoration every Wednsday and at the Mass the Propers are used even on Sunday's. There's still much to be done but it's a nice start. There's definitely a solid Catholic life that can be lived in both of those churches. This church is almost all young families and college students. It's the most promising of the bunch.

In the churches across town it's totally different; confessions are heard once a week, it's Haugen/Haas every Sunday and the priest who heads the parish is a very effiminate "Collegeville" style character who is big on inclusive language and cheesy homilies. He's embraced the Collegeville post conciliar vision but his parish is like staring out at the sea and gazing on whitecaps, a horizon of senior citizens. I fear that this parish will be consolidated or closed in the next 15 years once his parish moves to the cemetery.
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#19
Wow, what a great thread! I've thoroughly enjoyed reading every post made. I would say that there is so much I agree with in this and so much much that seems very practical; still, there are some ideas and posts which might be a bit uncompromising for most parishes these days (that is to say that we must compromise on the time, not on the subject matter).

Vox, your post was thorough, as always, and very useful: while we traddies may focus more on having the TLM etc, it is important, too, to remember to foster that sense of the smaller community. I've always found that having a strong sense of community with my immediate surroundings (my friends and colleagues in the Parish) helps me to better understand my place and belonging within the greater community (that is, the entirety of the Church). By having activities, groups, and other things which are outside of the liturgical functions and promote that sense of belonging to a group, I think that a good Priest will have a much easier time getting across the teachings that are necessary for the parishioners at that time. Furthermore, the hearts which have become open to the truth will find that they are supported by their brethren in their pursuit of living the truth.

Obviously, we can't ignore the liturgy. A parish is nothing without its liturgy and the more beautiful and vibrant the celebration of the Mass and other liturgical acts are, the more beautiful and vibrant the parish community will be (both outwardly and inwardly). Having been blessed with an outwardly beautiful parish church, this task is at least a little easier (you're not starting from the beginning because at least you have an aesthetically beautiful space in which to celebrate).

As regards the Mass, I would start small: Holy Communion would be received under one kind and from my hands alone. Once the parishioners were accustomed to that, I would begin to introduce ad orientam to the Mass, all the while continuing to pray the Novus Ordo. Again, as I found that the parishioners were okay to move on (and being very careful to be sure that we could move on), I would have sung the Propers and, when hymns are sung, the only accompaniment would be the organ (also, the choir would be at the rear of the church, on a second floor because it's not a concert so I don't want to distract attention). The next step would be to inform the parishioners that they would be receiving Holy Communion behind an altar rail and while kneeling. After this, I would introduce Latin into the Novus Ordo Mass, slowly moving towards an entirely Latin Mass (still NO). At this point, I would introduce a TLM on Wednesday afternoons, while still offering the NO daily in the mornings. Eventually, the TLM would be offered every afternoon from Monday to Friday, and on Saturday mornings while NO would be Monday-Friday AM and for the Saturday Vigil and on Sunday mornings. Remember, though, that all of the Masses are now being prayed in Latin. I'm not sure about how much further I would go with regards to the Mass; perhaps once a month, my Sunday Mass would be a TLM, but I think that this is quite enough change to the Mass for one Priest's lifetime and one hopes that a new Priest would follow in one's footsteps and introduce the TLM as the status quo in the Parish.

In addition to the Mass, there are other massive changes which must be implemented step-by-step. If a chapel was already present in the church, then the Tabernacle would be moved out of it and placed in its proper place behind the Altar in the Sanctuary; in the chapel, I would start with having adoration of the Blessed Sacrament once a week (perhaps after the TLM on Wednesdays?) and eventually turn it into a perpetual adoration chapel when the faithful had become sufficiently enamored with adoration. Additionally, I would offer time every day for the faithful to come and make confessions--inspired by St. Jean Vianney's heroism in the confessional. Without ample opportunity to confess their sins, the faithful will either lose hope completely or fail to understand the importance of the sacrament of reconciliation.

Catechism will be very closely monitored. If I am blessed enough to have a congregation of Sisters or Brothers nearby who are faithful to the Magesterium and knowledgeable in the Faith, I would attempt to acquire their service to teach Catechism on Sunday mornings before Mass; if not, then either I would ask my brother Priests within the Parish (I assume, of course, that I am the Pastor of the Parish) to teach the children, or I would have laymen and women who are sufficiently knowledgeable and capable teaching. Either way, nobody teaches Catechism in my parish without my express permission. On the same track, there would be ongoing Catechesis for the faithful, even after their confirmation. So, too, would there be more 'fun' theologically-centred events like Theology on Tap for the adult crowd.

I would promote and assist with groups for both men and women (I'm thinking Pint, Pipe and Cross Clubs for gentlemen and whatever equivalents exist for women). I would also promote groups which bring young men and women together in order to allow them to find a mate.

Another point that I wanted to add from Vox's post is that Parish bulletins would be far more than just advertisements for whatever event the CWL dreams up that week and some other hokey crap that some liberal hippy came up with. There would be real, concerted theological and philosophical articles written by myself and others which would touch on very important issues of concern either specific to the parish or the Chuch as a whole. Each bulletin would have an article which chronicled the life of a great Saint--and that article would finish off with a challenge to Parishioners to adopt a certain part of that Saint's life into their own (whether it is St. Louis de Montfort's consecration to the Blessed Virgin, St. Jean Vianney's commitment to confession, or Saint Thomas Aquinas' thirst for the beauty of the truth, the faithful will learn about the Saints who have enriched our faith and will be moved, God willing, to follow in their footsteps).

After writing all of this, I have just realized something: none of us are Priests and therefore we all lack the ontological graces conferred upon one at his ordination. Although we all have some really incredibly good ideas and some really excellent stuff that I bet any Priest worth his salt would love to hear and take on board, we must also remember to be humble and remember that we are not those who have taken on the significant and daunting task of Priesthood and we can't possible know or understand the first thing about living with it. So I suppose the most important thing that I would do if in the situation described by the OP would be to pray to the Lord our God that I would have the sense, skills, and vision to be able to bring together and heal a community which has been ravaged by bad shepherds in the past. My commitment to my own inner life would be directly related to the success or failure I would have in trying to bring my Parish back into working order. I guess that's the single most important thing. It reminds me, therefore, that we must pray for our Priests unceasingly. God bless them for the tremendous trials they have faced and will face, St. Michael the Archangel protect them, and St. Jean de Vianney guide them.
"Punishment is justice for the unjust." Saint Augustine of Hippo
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#20
I agree with RyanPatrick: what excellent replies! Thank you so much for all the feedback!

The main reason I created this thread was to show off my silly poem (forgive me)... but the secondary reason is more important: generating thought, prayer, and discussion about the meaning of true reform: that is, a return to holiness, reverence and tradition. Each post has helped me to envision that more clearly...
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