Fr Serpa and choosing liturgies


#1

Fr Serpa on the call in show last night addressed choosing which Masses to attend. It seemed to me he suggested that we should attend different Masses to find the one to our liking. I wondered if anyone else listened to the show last night. I wish I had the program so I could review what was said exactly. Always an excellent program with excellent advice.

My question is, to what degree is it good or virtuous to "shop around" for Masses as opposed to attending the Mass that is in the neighborhood we live in.
My exerience is, I have been in basically one parish my whole life, in a small town with a lot of family ties. There have been times when I thought the liturgical style was awful (1980's), but I always stuck with it because I am committed to the parish community. Perhaps those who live in large cities or more impersonal situations have different experiences.
Let's not get into comparing Masses please, just the question at hand.


#2

I've shopped around and tried out other parishes, but I've decided to no longer shop around and have returned to my local parish. I attend Mass and serve in the ministry there.

When a parish is new, all I saw were beauty marks. Later, I found the warts. Every parish has its fair share of beauty marks and warts. As a matter of fact, so do I!


#3

i listened to the show and heard that question and thought the Father was trying to answer the caller's question by avoiding any criticisms of the caller's mass..that's the way i understood his answer..

i've also understood from another thread that we aren't required to attend our "local" parish but one within our archdiocese..

i imagine, depending on how one defines "church shopping", it's a very common practice, even in the Catholic Church :shrug:


#4

I wish that going to the local parish was always a safe choice, but these are difficult times for many people and I have long driven to the most reverent Mass I could find (EF nowadays). Children may be in my near future and I think would feel very protective of what kind of Mass they are exposed to our worship itself is a big part of our catechesis.


#5

[quote="Splagchnizomai, post:2, topic:287160"]
I've shopped around and tried out other parishes, but I've decided to no longer shop around and have returned to my local parish. I attend Mass and serve in the ministry there.

When a parish is new, all I saw were beauty marks. Later, I found the warts. Every parish has its fair share of beauty marks and warts. As a matter of fact, so do I!

[/quote]

One person's "beauty mark" is another person's "wart" :p

OP - I didn't hear any of Fr. Serpa's hour (due to work schedule, I only hear about the last 10 minutes of the second hour). You should be able to review it on the radio page unless it was his "taking a minute" sequence. Anyway, I would guess he was referring to the musical setting (chant/folk/contemporary/etc.) as many parishes will allocate specific liturgies to different styles. Some people find particular settings to assist their worship more than others.


#6

I don't agree with shopping around. I think it inspires a mentality that isn't healthy.

How long until they shop themselves right out of the Catholic Church?

I mean, if you search for the parish that suits your needs the most, why not go to a Protestant church with nicer music and slicker production? Ugh.

I just hate the shop around mentality. God has much to teach you and sometimes He uses thorny bushes to teach you a little bit about patience, humility and love.


#7

When I first converted, I did some parish shopping, and as Splagchnizomai said, I kept seeing the warts and couldn't find the "perfect" parish. I too returned to my home parish, wats and all.

However, sometimes there is a very good and persistent reason to consider another parish. In my case, while I was in walking distance of a cathedral, a personal parish, and a small non-parish chapel with daily Mass, I chose to join a Latin Mass parish about 15 minutes away. Right before last Lent, my husband broke his leg and had to have surgery to have it repaired. As I sat there in the waiting room, waiting on him to come out of surgery, I was so scared. I have no family in the area, nor does he, and all of our friends were at work so I was waiting alone. And I realized, I don't even have the number of a priest on my phone to call if something were to happen.

Basically, my home parish, the local Cathedral, is HUGE, but 90% of the members are Spanish speakers. There is very little to do at the parish for English speakers. I had no friends at church, and never did anything "social" because there was so little to do.

So I started shopping around to find a parish that was small enough that I could find a place to serve the parish and to meet people. Lucky for me, there was an FSSP parish in my diocese, and I just fell in love with the church, the priests, and the parishioners. One of the first time I spoke with my priests, when I was telling him about my situation, he said, "It sounds like you are looking for a church 'home'. Register with our parish." So I did. And I found my home. This is one of the major differences with the parishes - in 5 years, I never once had a conversation with my priests. At my current parish, I actually talk pretty regularly to one priest, and at least say Hello to the other one when I see him.


#8

There are parishes in which "liturgy shopping" can be done in the same parish. The vigil Mass might have the folk choir, the 8:30 Sunday might have a very traditional liturgy, but simple, the 10:30 might have a pull-out-all-the-stops elaborate liturgy, noon might be Spanish or even TLM, the 7 pm might be a "contemplative" liturgy that concentrates on quiet or chant-like music interspersed with longer periods of sacred silence within the Mass than at other liturgies. Maybe there aren't many parishes who have so much variation as that, but parishes that try to give a consistent "charism" (if you will) to particular Masses aren't that rare. If you do "parish shop", definitely ask about how the Mass tends to differ from one time slot to the next.

Some bishops aren't too keen on the faithful expecting to receive pastoral care (especially marriage and funerals) outside their geographic parish, but some have a policy that tells their priests to treat anyone registered in a parish and attending Mass regularly there as having domicile in the parish, regardless of their geographic home address.


#9

[quote="EasterJoy, post:8, topic:287160"]
There are parishes in which "liturgy shopping" can be done in the same parish. The vigil Mass might have the folk choir, the 8:30 Sunday might have a very traditional liturgy, but simple, the 10:30 might have a pull-out-all-the-stops elaborate liturgy, noon might be Spanish or even TLM, the 7 pm might be a "contemplative" liturgy that concentrates on quiet or chant-like music interspersed with longer periods of sacred silence within the Mass than at other liturgies. Maybe there aren't many parishes who have so much variation as that, but parishes that try to give a consistent "charism" (if you will) to particular Masses aren't that rare. If you do "parish shop", definitely ask about how the Mass tends to differ from one time slot to the next.

[/quote]

Ugh...been there. Don't forget the monthly children's Mass. :thumbsup:


#10

I don't know if the liturgy is the #1 reason to "shop around" for a Parish, but having Priests and Deacons in the parish that are true and solid on orthodox Church teaching definitely is, in my opinion. Typically I think a good solidly orthodox Priest will probably celebrate a pretty reverent Mass too.


#11

[quote="nickybr38, post:6, topic:287160"]
I just hate the shop around mentality. God has much to teach you and sometimes He uses thorny bushes to teach you a little bit about patience, humility and love.

[/quote]

And sometimes, God has much to teach through the excellent liturgy and outstanding reverence at the parish in the next town over.


#12

[quote="superamazingman, post:11, topic:287160"]
And sometimes, God has much to teach through the excellent liturgy and outstanding reverence at the parish in the next town over.

[/quote]

I dunno about that. :) I think we learn more through adversity then we do in comfort. Guess it depends if the reverence and excellent liturgy is difficult for you or not. :shrug:


#13

[quote="FromTheAshes777, post:10, topic:287160"]
I don't know if the liturgy is the #1 reason to "shop around" for a Parish, but having Priests and Deacons in the parish that are true and solid on orthodox Church teaching definitely is, in my opinion. Typically I think a good solidly orthodox Priest will probably celebrate a pretty reverent Mass too.

[/quote]

I'm in that space right now. I'm trying to find a parish in my area that isn't the "church of what's happening now". It doesn't have to be Latin, but I am concerned about the reverence and the teaching I will receive.


#14

I think it's about finding the balance. There are some liturgical abuses that are good reasons to attend Mass at other times and/or other locations.

But, some people can be too scrupulous and picky; they worship worship more than they do G-d, and worry more about the rules and rubrics than what the rules and rubrics are pointing towards.

I think that's why when one finds something wrong with how the liturgy is celebrated at their parish (note, this is different than something such as the priest teaching heresy, etc.), they should:

1) Examine the seriousness of what's happening. Is this really something that's going to endanger your faith?

2) Attend other Mass times in the parish. At my own parish, the "feel" of Mass is much different from one time to the other. Some are sung with the choir, some with just a cantor. One uses Eucharistic Prayer I (Roman Canon), while another does the second prayer.

Then, it would seem that the individual exhausted all other possibilities. This, at least, is the method I would employ in order to insure that I was not worshiping worship, but worshiping G-d.


#15

[quote="EasterJoy, post:8, topic:287160"]
There are parishes in which "liturgy shopping" can be done in the same parish.

[/quote]

This is so very true!

While the choirs in our parish are culturally homogenous, the way the approach the music is a bit different from choir to choir. While we have a diverse ethnic makeup, our parish generally reflects a white suburban approach to liturgy (if that makes sense).

In a neighboring parish, where there are Anglo and Hispanic parishoners, and that is reflected in the liturgies, it's like there are two parishes within the one parish, one in English and one in Spanish. You really have to check the Mass times so that you'll know if you're going to St Mary's or Santa Maria! :D


#16

If one has the means (and the gasoline :) ) to do it, he or she should attend different liturgies. After all, there are 23 legitimate Rites in many vernaculars and a lot of things to learn within the Church.


#17

My idea of "need" to try different catholic churches is only if the current one is offensive to your sensitivies in one way or another.

My 2 pennies.


#18

Church shopping? No wonder they say that Jesus saves, but I spend.


#19

[quote="Splagchnizomai, post:15, topic:287160"]
This is so very true!

While the choirs in our parish are culturally homogenous, the way the approach the music is a bit different from choir to choir. While we have a diverse ethnic makeup, our parish generally reflects a white suburban approach to liturgy (if that makes sense).

In a neighboring parish, where there are Anglo and Hispanic parishoners, and that is reflected in the liturgies, it's like there are two parishes within the one parish, one in English and one in Spanish. You really have to check the Mass times so that you'll know if you're going to St Mary's or Santa Maria! :D

[/quote]

I don't have a problem with that, provided that none of the Masses are giving asylum to abuses. We are the richest of Catholic traditions, and there is much room for variation, even among liturgies are reverent and orthodox. Even if we were all still praying in Latin, I suppose the Masses of our grandparents from all over the Earth had something of their own characters to them, even if not so much as we see now. As both citizens of the USA and members of the Universal Church, we will have some diversity!


#20

[quote="nickybr38, post:12, topic:287160"]
I dunno about that. :) I think we learn more through adversity then we do in comfort. Guess it depends if the reverence and excellent liturgy is difficult for you or not. :shrug:

[/quote]

The liturgy should not be a time to learn through adversity. The liturgy should be a time to enter heaven in all it's beauty, peacefulness and perfection, like a reverently celebrated liturgy.


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