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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Youth Masses part 858673086

I keep bringing this up because I'm still working through it. And I LOVE the comments that come, it really ends up being a great discussion. REALLY. Even those I've disagreed with, I've always learned something. I'm all about intellectual honesty. ok, usually...!

So we were in class last Th and D asks the magic question to Sister: What do you think of "Teen Masses".

Now, a little context for "D". D is a convert from the Protestant faith, where he had a great deal of the Christian Praise and Worship. He was nervous because he sees the depth and beauty that the Church has to offer and does not want to short change the youth.

I was nervous for Sisters' response, because I was sure that we were going to clash on it. I mean, she has validated everything I've thought so far, but I really really thought she was going to look askance on the whole P&W at Mass thing.

I was delightfully surprised. She was quite fine with it. "D" was surprised too, I think. She did say that the music needs to be appropriate to the Liturgy. The words and such need to match what is going on in the Mass.

I was psyched!!! If Sister thinks it's ok, then seriously folks: It's fine. She is a stickler about making sure people receive the fullness of the faith. And to be sure even youth from age 0-100 have a right to the Truth.

So it made me think: We need both. We need praise and worship because we are called to praise the Lord. All throughout the Psalms are praises to the Lord God Almighty. We European types do that rather stifffly, but not the Psalmist! He was dancin' and playin' all kinds of instruments! I know, I know inculteration and all that. But the praise, well led, leads to a deep contemplation we call "worship". A yearning, a groaning of the Spirit.

We also need the high beauty of the hymns and the gorgeous pipe organ music. I am NOT opposed to making sure the kids have a healthy dose of it. However, it is like feeding steak to kids. You can give them the essence of the meat, but in a way that is digestable. Praise and Worship in it's own is an excellent form of prayer in itself, and it is a digistable way to pray.

And yet we need the solemn hymns and the gorgeous poetry of those songs. We need both, and I believe one is not better than the other, but maybe even complementary.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Dennis said...

Agree. I know there is controversy, but I don't understand the controversy. That is, people who say music at mass must be this culturally conditioned form or that culturally conditioned form are really only arguing in favor of their particular cultural bias. Yes, polyphany is beautiful. Yes, chant has a privileged place. But to say that Bach's "Jesu, Joy" is more beautiful than a haunting Celtic tune like "Be Thou My Vision" is simply to miss the point. I think our aesthetic has to be clear enough so that we can say "Oh, please, God, no more Carey Landry!" while at the same time being open enough to allow Matt Maher and Palestrina in the same space.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous bryan said...

I think we're on the same page with variety being important to the liturgy. But I don't necessarily equate modern (read contemporary?) music exclusively with a "Teen Mass."

As a Youth and Music Minister, I understand that different idioms exist in different communities, that the parish cultures provide nuances to the celebration of the liturgy, and know that many think of modern music as being specifically geared towards teenagers, but I see as much fire in the hearts of our elderly parishioners after a heartfelt modern (and liturgically appropriate) praise song as I do out of the teenagers.

I've also talked to numerous members of the clergy who will consider a Mass enriched with modern music more appropriate than a Mass "for teens." It's a distinction of inclusion rather than exclusion.

I'm enjoying the blog. Thanks and God Bless!

2:35 PM  
Blogger lar said...

I would never boil it down to a simplistic utilitarianism, but there is something going on in "teen masses" and XLT-style worship. It's not just that kids enjoy a certain kind of music [heck some of my teens don't even like P&W music]. But the fruit should speak for itself. It's hard to argue against seeing liturgies in which kids are anxious participants rather than reluctant attendees.

Liturgy is ultimately about relationship. Relationship to Jesus and to the community. When those bonds are formed and grow strong, we should be thankful to the Holy Spirit. And not complain that the music isn't as culturally refined as we might hope.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think, for me, you hit the mark with your comment, "it's hard to argue against seeing liturgies where kids are anxious participants..." The biggest issue I have with teen masses are that they don't always allow the other parishioners to see the young people at church.
For kids who tell me mass is boring, I have often told them they do not attend for themselves exclusively but, sometimes, for that senior citizen or seven year old that sees them at mass, and needs to see them to know that participation in mass is necessary for all the body.

When we consider being inclusive at our churches for people with disabilities, the idea is not to make the "special entrance or accomodation" just for those who are disabled but something we can all use. Masses that stir the fire of young people should be celebrated within the context of regularly scheduled liturgy. When we celebrate liturgy like that with the other parishioners it helps their spirit too.
No group brings the gift of enthusiasm to the church quite like the teens.
~cammie

12:36 PM  

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