A fun What Would You Do exercise
#1
Fratres,


Imagine, if you will, that you are a young man -- around 27 -- and you have come from Seminary to an archdiocese, been ordained, and you have now been appointed Pastor for a small, urban parish. The Parishioners are, by and large, of the baby-boomer generation, but there are a reasonable amount of young people (approximately 20% of your regulars are young families). The Pastors over the last decades have been exactly what you might have expected of a Priest who was ordained in 80s -- though they have not been enemies of tradition per se, they have been caught up in the craze of social justice. 

Altar girls and female lectors are common sights on Sunday mornings and throughout the week, an older man serves Mass; the sanctuary has projector screens; the music on Sundays is a series of poorly-written Talbot-esque hymns (though the choirmaster tries, bless him, to lend these songs some gravitas by switching his keyboard to the church organ setting and using four-part harmonies in the choir -- he is rather talented, but his taste is sorely lacking); incense is never burned except at Christmas and Easter; and the vestments are all plain, Gothic chasubles with relatively little ornament and almost uniquely polyester (the old ones exist, but nobody knows about them).

In addition to the apparent problems, it is clear that the majority of the faithful have been really poorly catechized. As with many parishes, the idea of "social justice" have been implemented in full -- which is to say that nobody does anything except "raise awareness" and ask for money. There is dubious belief in the True Presence -- as evidenced by the lack of penance. The Parish Councils often bicker back and forth and there is serious division among the faithful. A small majority of the faithful are traditional -- or at least open to it -- and have been living in a wasteland for the last few decades (though many of them have scarcely lived so long). 

The good news is: you have inherited a beautiful old, stone Church, built by Irish stock in your locale. The Bishop is sympathetic with traditional leanings but is not prepared to come out and mandate it; as such, he is prepared to give you a (mostly) carte-blanche when it comes to implementing changes -- though he did caution you against causing too many waves. You will have to be careful about what you do, but you will be able to do what's right. The High Altar is still in the Sanctuary (the altar rail is even still in place!), but there is a wooden "table altar" there too. 

Here is the outside of your church:

[Image: 84841_photo_churchexterior.jpg]


And here is its inside:

[Image: St.-Bernards-Church_84840_img_6830.jpg]


And the Altar (pretend there is a High Altar there still instead of a plant):

[Image: michelle-tim-w-blog-21(pp_w768_h511).jpg]

You have a beautiful, matching rectory next door and a really nice old graveyard a few blocks down that belongs to your parish.


So here's the question: what do you do to bring the faithful back into the fold of tradition? How do you change things to give some respite to those more traditional parishioners? It's a fun what-if.
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#2
I think a fresh out of the seminary priest can only do so much. I remember my wedding where I wanted the mass to be ad orientem and the priest told me that he wanted to, but his pastor wouldn't let him. So what can such a priest do? He can run catechism lessons, I doubt anyone would reject him from doing that. Use the Canon in all Masses. Use incense for all Holy Days and major feasts (although people may still complain). Chant more of the Mass. Pray the old Mass in private. Maybe try to get his pastor to allow him to offer the old Mass publicly during the week (Sundays are impossible). Maybe try to get some sort of chanting of evening Vespers? Get more a regular schedule of publicly recited devotion and adoration? 

Again most of these things probably need to be cleared with the pastor, but many/most of them are in more of the traditional, but acceptable to the NO crowd type things. Work from there.
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened, save us.

“It is my design to die in the brew house; let ale be placed in my mouth when I am expiring, that when the choirs of angels come, they may say, “Be God propitious to this drinker.” – St. Columbanus, A.D. 612
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#3
Sanguis here -- I had trouble a few months ago with accessing this, older, account and I have run into some trouble accessing my Sanguis account today and this one works (who knows how any of this works?)

For the what-if scenario, though, the new Priest has been made Pastor of the small urban parish, perhaps after some months as associate pastor somewhere else. In this case, you have the authority to change whatever you'd like; the only consideration is what is prudent and what is not prudent.
"Punishment is justice for the unjust." Saint Augustine of Hippo
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#4
So here is my answer:

To begin with, I would make small changes. Over the first three months, I would restore statuary to the sanctuary and nave of the Church, remove the projector screens, use only the Canon during the celebration of the Mass, offer 
public Vespers every day, I would also begin to have gregorian chant instead of hymns, especially during the Propers of the Mass; I would only allow hymns during the "recessional." I would also begin to invest in beautiful vestments and attempt to inject solemnities and first and second class feasts with more pomp: use incense, have parish activities (dinners etc) on those days. In terms of catechetics, I would not change anything until the following year when I can implement a new programme (probably Baltimore Catechism for kids, Catechism of Trent-based for adults). At this time, I will not use altar servers.

Once those changes had been implemented and generally accepted and everyone had calmed down, it would be time for the next "wave" of change. In this, I would begin to celebrate the NO Mass ad orientam exclusively, celebrating daily Mass on Fridays in Latin as well; on Sundays, I would celebrate the NO Mass at 9:00 AM a Low Mass at 10:30 and a High Mass at 12:00 Noon. I would begin Latin lessons for all ages on some weeknights and pump up the faith formation. I would introduce a new book store to the parish to attempt to raise extra funds. I would disband all of the parish councils at this stage and instead institute Societies, which would be given a special blessing by me and would then be responsible for certain things. The big difference here being that they do not meet to plan, they receive their marching orders from my office and then implement them. Depending on how well their vision aligns with mine, they get more or less autonomy. The societies would be:

1) The Saint John Berchmans Altar Boy Society: A society specifically devoted to assistance in liturgical functions. Organized and led by the Pastor, the boys will meet twice a week to practice the various functions required of them in High, Low, and Novus Ordo Mass as well as at Vespers and other liturgical functions wherein they are necessary. The Society has two distinct ranks: the first rank, called Novitiate, is for boys who are new to serving at the Altar. They will wear a red cassock and surplice and will be "understudies" to the older boys. The Novitiates may be called upon to assist in smaller tasks during less-important events. The second rank, Associate, shall wear the black cassock and surplice and shall be expected to assist in most visible liturgies as well as take a leadership role with their novitiate brothers.

2) The Saint Benedict Biscop Altar Society: A society devoted to the beautification and maintenance of the Altar and Sanctuary. The members shall work with the Sacristan to ensure that the Altar is maintained and well-decorated at all times.

3) The Holy Family Society: A society devoted to the promotion of the common good among the parish community. In particular, they shall be tasked with organizing and undertaking charitable activities on behalf of the Parish which shall assist young mothers and families in the care of their children.

4) The Saint Monica Society: A society devoted to maintaining constant prayer and vigil at the Adoration chapel which will be established in a side chapel in the Church. Every month, a new intention shall be give to them and they shall pray around the clock for it.

Once those are done and accepted, I will begin to methodically phase out the NO, to the point that it might be available once a month, and deal with other issues as they rise.
"Punishment is justice for the unjust." Saint Augustine of Hippo
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#5
I'd do what the new priest at my parish does: Slowly introduce it.

He always does the first version of the Eucharistic Prayers, even in the Spanish Mass. In Confession he does things like offer prayer cards of the Memorare. He always does says the Confeitor, along with the Kyrie in the traditional Greek, and in his homilies, he will speak of Tradition in the form of "and the Catholic Church has always done...and here's why." Yet, he's always welcoming visitors and asking them if they wish to learn more about the Faith, to visit him after Mass.

He does it in a way that comes across as strange, but benign to the older folks; but to me (Millennial) I know exactly what he's up to and I absolutely love him for it!
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