Monday, April 16, 2018

WHAT A DISTRACTING SUNDAY IN THE LIFE OF AN ORDINARY/EXTRAORDINARY PARISH PRIEST!

This post is brought to you by one of God's ordinary/extraordinary parish priests as he reflects on his experience at Holy Mass… and some of the distractions that can present themselves! 
handsome priest

O my! As an ordinary parish priest in my parish on Sunday, at our principle Mass, after a farewell homily by our moving deacon who preached on the nature of the Mass and the awe of the Eucharistic presence of Christ at the altar, in our hearts and in the tabernacle, as I was elevating the just consecrated Sacred Host, someone in the front row got up and went somewhere.

DISTRACTING?  

Then, at the Lamb of God, I perceived wrongly that a parishioner, who has serious health problems, had collapsed in the front pew to the side of our altar. What to do???????

DISTRACTING?

(Fortunately, I misperceived what had happened). Distracting nonetheless.

But in the life of an extraordinary priest, this takes the cake!

I had the Extraordinary Form of the Mass at our Cathedral at 1 PM yesterday, after a distracting Ordinary Form Mass that went too long 20 miles away and I got to the Cathedral fifteen minutes before 1 PM.

I was informed by the mc for the Mass that I was going solo without him but with two small altar boys, who he said knew what they were doing (and they did). And yes, at St. Joseph in Macon, I didn't have an mc for the EF Mass, but at the Cathedral I have grown accustomed to having one tell me what to do, when to do it and to flip the pages of the Roman Missal. I am spoiled, I know!

And the crowd for the EF Mass was larger than normal, more tourists I guess.

But that wasn't the most distracting. This was:

As I was chanting flawlessly the Solemn Easter Preface in Latin of course, the sound system in the Cathedral went haywire! The feedback made my tinnitus go bizzerk, in fact, I thought that it was my tinnitus. It got so loud that my chanting started to harmonize with the squeal of feedback.

But I was a prayerful trooper, acting as though none of this was a distraction to me. Finally someone rebooted the sound system. It was a good thing, though for ad orientem so no one could see my sense of relief when the distracting unbearably loud squealing stopped. And of course, I did not become distracted whatsoever by the reaction of the faithful behind me since we were all facing the same direction, God, Who is never a distraction!

DISTRACTING?????????

All in the life of an ordinary/extraordinary parish priest.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

When did it become all about you and what distracts you?

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

I can sympathize Father. No matter where I sit in the church the distractions are seemingly endless. It's either the lady or gentleman who is wearing too much cologne; or the very proud grandparents bringing their 2 year old grandchild to Mass and sitting way in front, because of course they want the child to see...except they spend all their time tracking the little one, and keeping him from falling off the kneeler or chasing him down the aisle or keeping him from having a meltdown, that I'm surprised anyone nearby hears any of the Mass at all; or the older lady (who should know better) sitting in the third pew leaving the Mass at the beginning of the Canon and coming back at the Elevation of the Host, crawling over the kneeling people in the pew, seemingly oblivious to what is going on at the altar.

The worst are the people who insist on bringing very little children, under 5, to the EF Low Mass. The child's crying, meltdowns, talking out loud reverberates through the church, and the parents seem to think this is all just normal.... For those of us trying to actually pray, it's like attending Mass in a day care center. Yesterday the thought came to my mind, "My house shall be a house of prayer..., but you have made it into a Chuckie Cheese..."

Like you, Father, the only thing to do is to do one's best to ignore the distractions and keep praying. And to be mindful to not act uncharitably toward those who do not exhibit much sense of awe and respect for Our Lord Jesus Christ and the holiness of the Mass, or for anyone else at Mass for that matter.

God bless.
Bee

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

When did it become all about you and what distracts you?

YESTERDAY!

TJM said...

Anonymous/Kavanaugh

Well we know it is always about you! Ah, the scent of "eau de Kavanaugh" in the morning!

Anonymous said...

If, for the worthy celebration of or participation in the Mass you require a distraction-free setting, build your own private oratory.

Short of that, get used to living in the real world.

TJM said...

Anonymous Kavanaugh,

LOL. You think you are living in the real world, saying Mass the same, tired old way, when Sunday Mass attendance continues its decline, even with the "new and improved" Novus Ordo. Yes, it's a new "Spring" for the Church indeed!!

Anonymous said...

Bee,
You've expressed your displeasure with children at mass before. What age should we start bringing our children to mass? Maybe a 5 year old can sit still the whole time but depending on time of day and their own blood sugar levels, that can be a challenge. Parents have to employ a number of strategies to get them to behave. Threats of punishment (great, let them grow up associating church attendance with punishment) or promises of reward (ice cream afterward?) help. Age appropriate books help keep them occupied. But I've noticed that mine tend to behave better when they can see the sanctuary and the liturgical movements. That holds their attention and escorted their fascination much more than the backs of a bunch of heads. I'm sorry your prayers are disrupted but as a father my duty is to see to the spiritual direction of my children. Not yours. I'll do my best to keep from disrupting other but if I have a choice to neglect their spiritual development or yours? Sorry, not gonna choose you.

Anonymous said...

PS. As you can see, I don't care if people like yourself give me and my children disapproving looks or comments. I value their spiritual development enough to ignore it. My wife on the other hand can't take it and has found another solution; when I am away (in the military) she often simply doesn't bother to take them to mass at all. So there you go, you get your quiet, and my kids stay away from the church

Anonymous said...

Oh Bee... I know its hard to deal with children at mass. Imagine being the parent? I can imagine its not embarrassing in the least or trying at all. Most parents get a secret enjoyment out of fussing children. We love to hear them cry too! Anyway, while we are cherry picking bible quotes like protestants, let me remind you;

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Except when they start acting like children, you know, laughing, crying, making noise and cooing... then they should go to the cry room away from me because they are very irritating. #thingsJesusNeverSaid

Obviously, in your great piety, you well know that in the mass we may, at any time, unite our prayers with the priest who is offering the mass on our behalf. You could even pray for the parents or child, imagine that? Fortunately, at my parish I hear many crying babies and fussy toddlers. Perhaps the Parish may be handed on to another generation, or we could get rid of the irritating kids and when all the old people die we can bulldoze the church into a parking lot. Anyway, just a few thoughts, may God always reward you for your loving charity in all things.

TJM said...

Funny, when our children were small we took them to Mass and they didn't make a peep. Why? Because we always took a book or two of theirs plus a little snack. Commonsense, commonsense.I think there are a lot of parents who lack commonsense and do not properly prepare for taking their children to Mass.

Marc said...

We've got a 2.5 year old and now a 4 week old. They make some noise during Mass. Thankfully, there are a hundred other children in our parish as well. So no one is especially bothered by noisy children. Everyone who has children knows that sometimes they're quiet and sometimes they're noisy. It's hard to predict how they'll be on any given day -- even if one prepares in the way TJM describes.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Anonymous said: "You've expressed your displeasure with children at mass before."

Yep. So now you know the thinking behind those unhappy faces of people in church with you and your kids.

I promise you, if I could find a Mass where little kids were not in attendance, I would gladly change my schedule and travel greater distances to go to it, and leave you and yours to whatever you think it benefits you to attend Mass but never hear a word of it, or even say a prayer during it, due to having to attend to your little ones.

Your little children are not obligated to attend Mass. I am. And besides the obligation, Mass means a lot to me.

I pray a lot about this problem, because I consider it to be my problem, and not yours. I consider it a real trial to stay as focused as I would, to pray as deeply as I would, to remain as attentive to the prayers and actions on the altar as I would given the distractions on a typical Sunday. When I get angry during Mass about some meltdown reverberating through the church, or the sound of stomping feet running up the aisle during the Consecration, I feel so bad that I immediately ask God for forgiveness for my lack of charity, and later I confess my lack of tolerance in my confessions. I never turn around, or give angry looks. I close my eyes and pray all the harder: for the parents, for the little kids, that one day they will be great saints.

I'm working on it. I don't know how to solve it. I've used ear plugs even, but that doesn't block out everything, nor help the visual. I sit in front, but many people bring their children to the front, believing it will help them see and maybe pay attention.

The interesting thing is that I never really thought the problem was very bad until the last seven or eight years. So maybe it's me: my own desire for the quiet of prayer and contemplation; the desire for adoration; or just becoming more easily irritated as I get older... Or maybe it's just society has gone even further in its disregard for what is holy, and the younger generation not holding the same idea that I have of expected behavior in church.

It's a shame priests have to publish a dress code now to remind people of proper attire in church. Is it the same with expected behavior? I don't know.


God bless.
Bee
P.S. I realized later I misspelled the name of the kids' restaurant: it is named Chuck E. Cheese's.

Anonymous said...

I hate kids at mass too. They are a scourge to the Church. Bring them when they are 18 and then they can decide if they want to go to Church and accept Jesus as their personal Lord savior on their own accord... where have I heard that before? I also find it funny that we shouldn't bring children to church because it isn't mandated. That's a great way to root an innocent and learning child in the faith. Look kid, if it isn't forced on you, don't worry about it. Anyway, I know at the Latin mass babies wait till after mass to cry or wet their diapers. And the toddlers, they sit straight and study Latin (or calculus whichever they find more challenging that day) without a peep... on the playground though, different story!

Katie said...

So I take it Bee that you don’t have children. Probably 70s age old white woman that is the president of the Natural Family Planning committee. Angry at the world and worried about all the young people sex life. As a mother of young children I find you extremely appalling. What exactly do you want me to do with my 2 year old and newborn...leave them at home while mommy and daddy go to mass? How disgusting.

Ask any priest if they would rather have a silent mass or one filled with children/babies. I’m sure Father McDonald would rather deal with children than a congregation with a medium age of 80.

I will pray for you.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Charity prevents me from responding with honesty to Katie's or Anonymous' comments.

Thank you for your prayers.

Peace be with you.

God bless.
Bee