A Catholic Teen’s POV: Priest on a hoverboard

Although I wasn’t planning on writing another blog post this soon, I was scrolling through comments about this, and felt that I should write this up.

Ah, where do I begin…

Many comments wrote that the priest might’ve been doing this to appeal to the young people. But, then he was suspended, and people said that the church officials are complaining about church attendance and, “I wonder why…”

As someone who’s considered to be a “young person” at mass…I wanted to say how I felt about this situation. First off, if my parish priest decided to try and do this one day at mass, I would do either of two things at that moment; kneel down and start praying for more reverence, or simply walk outside/away.

To some extent, I can see where people would say it can bring in young people, but I think the idea that the Catholic Church needs to “be/fit with the times” is unnecessary. Just a year ago, I’d totally be on the bandwagon for modernizing things in the Catholic Church, but now I’m more informed.

The mass does not exist for there to be a performance or show of any sort. When we gather for mass, we should be focusing on Christ. I personally do not think a priest on a hoverboard would help us focus on the True Presence of the Eucharist. Some might argue that there are already other distractions in the mass. I agree, but, that doesn’t mean we should allow for more.

When the sacrifice of the mass is made into a performance or a simple event of fellowship, we lose sight of why we are there. Not to hear someone sing, or to see our friend, but we are at Mass to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist.

The priest might be attempting to relate to the young people, but I believe that there is greater power in the beautiful Tradition that the Catholic Church has. For many years, the Catholic Church has stood firm without needing to adjust to the ideals and beliefs of the current times, so, there isn’t really a reason to incorporate popular culture into the liturgy.

I don’t think the diocese did wrong in suspending the priest. It might seem harsh, but I believe that the priest will reflect on having more reverence to the Eucharist. Honestly, I think we all need to! This is a time that we should pause and see how much reverence we actually have and should have for the Eucharist.

There is an increasing amount of disrespect and lack of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, and this is simply another example of one. Many have gone unnoticed, but I’m glad this one was brought to light and dealt with appropriately.

I pray that there will be increased reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.

Music-List Mondays: “Bread and Wine”

Music-List Mondays: Where VibrantCatholic chooses a song and talks about it.

Song of the week: Surprise! There’s actually not a specific song this week…I’ll be discussing the words “bread and wine” in countless songs.

I was paging through the Gather hymnal the other day looking for something to play as a communion reflection when I noticed something…the majority of the songs had the words bread or wine written somewhere in the lyrics or title:

  • “Bread of Life from Heaven”
  • “Jesus, Wine of Peace”
  • “Let Us Be Bread”
  • “One Bread, One Body”
  • “I Am the Bread of Life”
  • “Jesus, Hope of the World”

And those were just a few.

So, I continued on with my thought process. If these songs constantly tell the listener that all the Body and Blood of Christ is just a simple bread and wine, then wouldn’t the listener not fully understand or believe transubstantiation?

I see this happening when people refer to the Body and Blood of Christ as merely bread and wine. By using those two words, it takes away from the full beauty of what happens during the Eucharistic Prayer. Simply put, it waters down the True Presence of Christ.

By replacing the words with more general terms, the reverence and meaning is condensed and fails to remind the congregation what is truly happening. When many left Jesus for saying they should eat his flesh, they didn’t accept his teaching. They couldn’t believe it, and they wanted him to speak of it symbolically or metaphorically.

As Catholics though, we do believe that the bread and wine is then transformed into the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ at transubstantiation. When we simply reduce it to terms like “bread and wine,” we are forgetting the basis of what we believe.

Many who state they’re Catholic say they don’t believe in the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I think one of the main reasons is because we have songs that get into their minds with the message that it’s just simply us “eating bread and drinking wine.” It also is a part of the reason as to why the Eucharist isn’t as revered as the Body and Blood of Christ ought to be.

These are just my recent thoughts, I’d love to hear your perspective on this, too! Thank you for reading!

A Catholic Teen’s POV: Women Ordination

Let’s get some facts out here before I start: I’m a Catholic, and I’m a woman. Now let’s continue on.

I didn’t know this recently, but a woman in my diocese had excommunicated herself in 2008 when she became “ordained.” I read about several articles on the topic here. I was surprised to hear about our emeritus bishop’s reaction and the four priests who had supposedly supported her.

Anyways, I am in no way educated theologically enough to give opinions on that. But, I do have humble opinions on this matter and topic.

I’ll admit, I’m a former altar server, accompanist, and am involved with other activities at my parish. And most of the time, 75% of the volunteers are women. Which brings me to a thought? How are women being oppressed in the Catholic Church if they do so many ministries? The matter of women ordination seems more like an issue of pride to me.

So, here’s my take on it: I don’t think women should be ordained in the Roman Catholic Church. Honestly, it’ll never happen. But, I should say I’m not bothered by that at all.

In my everyday life, I hear of numerous people bringing up the fact that women still are not considered equality in today’s society, yet. I agree, the fact that women haven’t fully obtained equality is true. I dare to say I’m not a feminist, but I do believe in women equality.

But, becoming ordained is not something to be grasped by earthly hands with prideful fingers. I’ve seen stories where it seems as the problem lies in a person’s pride more than the actual idea of “equality for both men and women.” Many argue saying women are prohibited from fully serving the Church, but I disagree.

There’s various ways that I see women fulfill their want of serving their Church without the need of thinking they should be ordained. Women are now given many roles that were not given to us before, but it seems greedy that many are trying to take the sacred role of priesthood reserved for men. Men and women are both important in the ministries of the Church, although the roles are different, they are equal.

The majority of volunteers are women, and I’ve witnessed the importance of women in a parish. While I understand that some women state they want to do more by becoming ordained, I wonder why those women don’t accept that the priesthood was instituted by Christ for males.

I’m not bothered by this, or angered by this at all. I accept the roles I’ve been given, and more importantly, I see no particular reason as to why certain women have such a want to become ordained. I think there are other ministries that are equal, and they’d be able to serve the Church in those ways as well.

“Female altar servers might want to become priests,” this is something I’ve heard. But, maybe you’ve seen my blog post on my experience as an altar server, I wanted to reiterate that altar serving did not inspire any want to become a priest from me or other females that I knew. But, it is possible that is where certain women put their basis of their argument.

In conclusion, I see more pride in this issue than a problem about equality. If you have any other thoughts, please let me know, I’d be delighted to know your thoughts and response. Although I didn’t provide any theological aspects about it, there’s a great link talking about it found on catholic.com: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/women-and-the-priesthood 

 

With decreasing involvement from Cultural Catholics what do we need to do to revitalize faith?

This was originally supposed to be a one paragraph assignment, but I ended up going a little overboard. We were discussing Cultural/Cradle Catholics. These were just my views that I compiled together.

There are many ways to revitalize faith among Cultural Catholics. For example, DynamicCatholic has started to make their Rediscover Catholicism book for a lower price so parishes will be able to hand them out during Easter or Christmas masses. The lack of faith in Cultural Catholics comes from the loss of tradition in many parts. Reverence of the mass is lacking in many parishes and churches, and that is one of the reasons why there is a lower mass attendance. Cultural Catholics need to see true examples of vibrant Catholics in the world. We ourselves need to be Catholics, true Catholics, in order to revitalize the faith in other Cradle Catholics, and even in converts and those who are not Catholic.

    Religious sisters and brothers in traditional habits are good examples of the joy in Catholicism. Traditional habits are a sign of the vows of religious life. There is an increase in religious orders with traditional habits, and a decrease in the orders without habits. This means that young people are now finding something more special in traditional orders. They can see the joy and youth of those in traditional habits, and they’re an example for Cultural Catholics to know that there’s joy in the Church. From my personal experiences, I have not met any traditional religious sisters or brothers who have not been joyful. There is misconception on the religious life and how only those who are “not good enough for the secular world” waste their life and so decide to enter the religious life or priesthood.

    Traditional religious life needs to be shown to all, to let them see the inspiring joy that’s possible. Instead of showing orders without traditional habits, we should show the immense beauty in those orders with habits. How else are we going to show the world that people choose this radical way of living and following the evangelical counsels. Also, we should find ways to promote the priesthood, by publishing vocation stories or having conversations with seminarians and priests. In the Diocese of Peoria, seminarian trading cards were made to create a “culture of vocations,” and it was a successful idea in spreading awareness of the call to the priesthood.

    Many cradle Catholics think that mass is repetitive and they find no interest in attending. The focus shouldn’t be on gaining higher numbers in mass attendance, but to have a fire burning in every Catholic’s soul that won’t be easily blown out. Often time, music genres like Praise and Worship are used at mass as an attempt to attract people. Unfortunately, Praise and Worship fails to give true respect and glory to the sacrifice of the Mass. It strikes a series of feelings at that moment, but then the person will not be able to participate in Adoration, since they will find that not as interesting. Traditional music forms such as Gregorian Chant bring more reverence to the Lord. Modernism can ruin the image of the Catholic Church if it gets too out of hand, there needs to be reverence. When a cradle Catholic goes to mass, they should be able to experience that reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, so that they, too can show the same amount of respect. If we instead incorporated modern ideas and and concepts into the liturgy in order to “keep up with the times,” in what way would we be different than the Protestants?

    Events such as Steubenville conferences are targeted to bring a rediscovery of one’s Catholic faith, especially among the youth. They sound like a great idea, but often times, it  just end with a “retreat-high,” and end quickly, but of course, there are exceptions to it. What really needs to happen is a way to make known the reverence and “genius of Catholicism” as Matthew Kelly often states. There needs to be more promotion for adoration, liturgy of the hours, discernment retreats, etc. Although at first they might seem boring, but in the long run, it is from those hours in adoration that many vocations to the religious life have sprung to life. Cultural Catholics need to have a lasting impact of Catholicism, not something that is quickly found and gone.

    There is a Catholic community on Instagram and another one on Twitter, which many have joined and in the big picture, it’s all a part of the New Evangelization. Others and myself included have used our Catholic twitter accounts to reach out to those who many not be accurately informed about the teachings of the Catholic Church. Social media is one of the ways that many have utilized in trying to bring a revitalization among cradle Catholics. There are priests, religious, and laypeople who have incorporated Catholicism into their social media. Surprisingly or not surprisingly, the “MediaNun” on twitter is a religious sister of the order of the Daughters of St. Paul, an order that has a habit. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that orders keeping the habit are old-fashioned and can’t get with the times, it means that Tradition can still be relevant in all time periods.

    One of the most important reasons why many have strayed away from the Catholic faith is because of the recent scandals that have caused many to be heartbroken and confused. There’s a large number of uninformed cradle Catholics who still do not know the true teaching of the Catholic Church and this causes problems. There needs to be more individuals who can show the faith authentically, not by false actions deceiving others. Cultural Catholics are sometimes waiting to see those living authentically and striving for true holiness, and Pope St. John Paul II has often said, “Be not afraid.”

    Ascension Press is a very good example of the New Evangelization, especially Fr. Mike Schmitz. When Fr. Schmitz gives a talk, people can see his eyes light up with the Holy Spirit. This is how every Catholic should look to everyone, we need to be the first ones who have that excitement about our faith. Only until then can we inspire other inactive cradle Catholics and non-Catholics to explore the Catholic faith more deeply.

Reasons Why You Should Go to St. James Coffeehouse

1.There’s a chapel…with the Blessed Sacrament present!

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Chapel at St. James Coffee

Well, look at that! It’s not only a place to get coffee and other drinks, but it’s a place to quench your spiritual thirst as well. There are lovely stained glass windows outside the chapel. There are two chairs and one kneeler, so you can have your personal prayer time.

2. It’s a Catholic local non-profit coffeehouse.

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Chapel at St. James Coffee

Whatever drinks or items you buy at St. James Coffee, the majority of the profits go to different charities in the local community and in the world. It also serves as a wonderful instrument in the New Evangelization,“St. James is a non-profit Catholic coffee house whose mission is to be a place where people encounter Christ and His Catholic Church.”

3. The workers are all volunteers!

Counter

You heard me right! The people you’ll see behind the counters are all volunteers (with possibly an exception of one). So, you can definitely expect sincere people who are being generous with their time that help at this wonderful place and will make awesome drinks. They’re always open to talk about the faith, so have any questions, start a discussion with them 🙂 Also, if you’re around the area, new volunteers are always welcome!

4. Variety of Drinks to enjoy at low prices!

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The prices at St. James Coffee are definitely cheaper than Starbucks, Caribou, and other coffee shops nearby. There are a variety of drinks; coffee drinks, smoothies, tea, etc! They are also cleverly named; Capuchin-O, Immaculate White Mocha, or St. The-reese’s Peanut Butter Mocha for example.

5. Great Atmosphere and Events

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St. James Coffee has a great atmosphere for meetings, events, concerts, and just personal time! You can definitely feel peace there, and it’s a great place to be productive. There are occasional concerts, talks, and meetings. The talks are usually given by great speakers who help others to grow in their faith.

Other Info About St. James Coffee (I can’t just tell you these things and not tell you where it’s located!)

Location:

4156 18th Avenue NW

Rochester, MN 55901

Hours:

M-F 6a-6p
Sa 7:30a–6p

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/StJamesCoffee

Instagram Account: https://www.instagram.com/st.jamescoffee/

Any questions? Send them to sjchdirector@gmail.com

Female Altar Servers? (Update)

This was previously posted on my blog on blogspot, but now I decided to post it on here with a few updates.

Certainly, there have been numerous debates among the Catholic community everywhere on different topics. The one topic I’d like to discuss today is the topic of female altar servers. I’d like to first say that this could be very controversial and each person may have their own opinions, but in this blog post, I’d like to talk about my own experience as one and my views. Thank you, and I hope you will read this blog post in its entirety.

I grew up in a parish in the Diocese of Winona, and female altar servers were very normal to me. My older female and male cousins were at one point servers, so it just seemed like a very normal ministry in my church that I could do. After receiving my First Holy Communion at age seven in second grade, I had to wait until I was in 3rd grade in order to be trained as a server. I remember the first time I was being taught how to serve and how anxious and nervous I was on the first mass I was to serve at. My parents constantly reminded me that the altar was very sacred and I had to be extremely respectful and reverent.

My experience as an altar server was not only limited to Sunday masses, but I started attending daily mass in which I participated in serving everyday. The congregation who attended mass never said anything about how females shouldn’t serve, so I still found females altar serving to be very normal. I expanded my daily mass ministry by playing piano or organ for a communion reflection, and then returning to serve afterwards. I was surrounded by people who never said a thing about why females shouldn’t serve at mass.

When I was a freshman in high school, I attended a High School Immersion at a religious sisters’ house of formation. It was in a different diocese than my own and there was no one else from my diocese there. It was there that I learned so many other young females my age had the thought that females shouldn’t be serving at mass. It was very eye-opening and all though the view on the subject was very different from mine, I still appreciated and tried to understand their view.

After that retreat, I spent time looking up the topic and reasons why females shouldn’t be altar servers. Among those reasons, one that stood out to me was that altar serving was to try and inspire vocations to the priesthood to males. There’s concern that females might interfere with that vocation, or that they themselves might think it’s possible for females to become priests. I didn’t quite agree with the thought since I myself had never had the intentions or belief that females can be ordained in the Catholic Church. My cousin is a seminarian in our diocese, so I’ve gotten to know some seminarians quite well…and let me tell you, I support the priesthood more and more everyday. I pray for those in the seminary, and I take any opportunity to explain to people why women shouldn’t be ordained.

I do understand that female altar servers are still a topic of discussion within and outside the Catholic Church. I think the main point is the difference of the diocese. If a girl grows up in an environment where female altar servers are the norm, there is a very small percentage that the girl will think that females altar serving is wrong. I personally have decreased my time altar serving and have instead played piano/organ during daily mass for communion, or accompanying on Sundays.

The few points I wanted to make was that not all female altar servers think that women should be ordained. I think that altar serving was something that brought me closer to God and a clearer understanding of my vocation. Because of the close proximity to the Eucharist, I’ve found myself more conscious of the actions, thoughts, and things that I say.

In a way, I could say that altar serving has brought me to be more open about becoming a religious sister. Although, there’s still a lot of time and prayer before I know what God is truly calling me to be, many other female altar servers and I know that ordination to the priesthood is not one of them.

As for the update, I hardly serve anymore because I discover that there is reverence in tradition. I don’t usually serve unless the parish priest asks me to when there’s no other servers there. But truthfully, females are actually not supposed to be servers/acolytes!
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments 🙂