EWTN Special - Restoring the Sacred: A case study of a parish in decline and what happens when the sacred is re-emphasized


Restoring the Sacred

The story of a parish in decline who decided to embrace the traditions (small t) of the Faith, in particular of the liturgy and the results which were obtained.


Our goal isn’t to be like everyone else. Not only would that be boring, but it’s watering down something so essential, so critical, so much a part of who we are.
Boring is the real reason people leave the Catholic Church. Want proof? Look at an example of just the opposite being put into play in Omaha, Nebraska. When you’re NOT boring — but instead celebrate Catholic traditions out loud —the glory, the mystery and the beauty naturally draw people to them.

How could they not?

This pastor took the sacred and made it the core part of his parish. He wasn’t afraid to take hold of the traditions that are time-tested.

And the response of this parish (which had spent 40 years in decline) to the sacred, the beautiful, the mystery of our faith, is unusual, even surprising.

Maybe that’s not because we’ve lost our taste for awe and wonder, but simply because we’ve settled for less. The sacred mystery of our faith is not old, not out of touch, not boring. May God lead more parishes to explore this beauty to the fullest — and may we see our churches filled to capacity every Sunday, in worship of our Risen Lord who inspires it all.

Additional information and a larger HD trailer can be found here: heavenmeetsearth.tv/

By their fruits, indeed.


Thank you for posting that, it looks really interesting. I watched the trailer and I can commiserate with how some Masses have become quite mundane. I’ve been attending Mass for over a year and a half now, and I can count on one hand how many times we’ve had incense. I can count on one hand how many times we’ve been sprinkled with holy water, the list goes on of how “watered down” it’s become.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I love my little parish. It’s the only one in town, but I still love it. I love our priest. His homilies are insightful, intelligent and full of heart and soul. But, I do wish there was more (t)radition with our Mass services.


All of our diocesan evangelization leaders need to review and study this.

Excellent find!!


[quote="Sebrina, post:2, topic:322961"]
Thank you for posting that, it looks really interesting.


You are welcome!


I concur. I believe we will only reevangelize the world by embracing all of what makes us Catholic, all of our traditions, both big T and small t, and by being Catholic in an unapologetic way. I do not mean being triumphant but rather proud (the good kind) and bold. When someone comes to Mass for the first time they should walk out knowing that they had a glimpse of Heaven. At the very least, they should say “wow, you guys really are different”. At which time we can respond “yes, we are; and here’s why”.


Loved the trailer! This looks like it will be an excellent special, as they usually are on EWTN. I remember when Mother Angelica used to lament the fact that our churches were becoming like gymnasiums…void of artwork of any kind, and the most grievous error, removal of the tabernacle completely out of sight, or in some little chapel or side room. When Jesus is pushed to the side, It’s incomprehensible to me! Thanks for posting this jwinch2!

Peace, Mark


You are welcome Mark.

I would add, just for sake of clarity, that there are legitimate traditions in the Church of having the tabernacle in a side Chapel, particularly in the Order of St. Benedict, and in parishes which were founded by them. I am not suggesting that this should be the standard for all parishes, or that it is proper outside of the Benedictine tradition to do this, but in that setting, it would indeed be appropriate.

Peace of Christ,


St Peter’s has the tabernacle in a side room that is curtained off. If you didn’t know it was there you would miss it. Most big cathedrals and basilicas have it in a side room, especially if it is a church that receives a lot of tourists.


I was at one parish church and the tabernacle was “gone”.

But, I felt a “pulling” and was drawn to a blank wall way off to the side … they had put some kind of wood up on that wall that had vertical grooves about an inch apart.

No idea why, but I PUSHED on the wall … and it went in a half inch, and then popped open … they’re called “touch latches” … and the “wall”/door opened and inside the broom closet was the tabernacle.

All I could think was “My Lord, what have they done to You!?!!”


Wow. That would bother me a great deal as well. John 20:23 comes to mind.


A few good ideas from the extended trailer:

  1. Confession during Mass.

  2. Vespers. Lauds too please.

  3. Eucharistic procession through the streets as evangelization.

  4. Lots of altar servers. I don’t see this encouraged much these days.

  5. A professional choirmaster.


Thanks for sharing, it’s a shame I can only program 14 days out on my Tivo. I’m looking forward to watching this.


No problem. I’m really looking forward to it also.

  1. A fantastic idea. It was even encouraged in a document.

  2. It is very easy to get a group of steady altar boys. Unfortunately, that is anathema in many places.

closed #15

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