How Did Things Get This Bad at Mass? (Not your typical "abuse" thread)

Surely all of us have read many threads about liturgical abuses. How about a thread that explores the set-up, clean-up and general surrounding in which the Mass is celebrated?

On Wednesday I went in as usual to set-up for the early Mass. Opening the giant drawer of freshly laundered sacred linens I had to sort though about a dozen corporals and purificators to find some not stained with lipstick, wine or possibly the Precious Blood. All too often they get shoved back into the drawer after Mass in a soiled condition.

Setting-up the sacred vessels I was reminded that their interiors need to be re-plated soon. Not from use but from the deep scratches made by the jewelry worn by those who wash (after purification) the sacred vessels.

Walking out to the sanctuary I notice once again notice a splash of candle wax on the altar cloth from someone who blew out the altar candles. Why can’t they use a tool/snuffer like the have been asked? How nice, even more dried beeswax on the sanctuary floor tile and on the brass candlesticks themselves. Oh look, someone once again left burnt matches on the candlesticks’ wax holders right next to the altar!

What’s with all the shriveled flowers on credence table? They certainly didn’t shrivel overnight. Doesn’t anyone care? Just before Mass begins the head EMHC comes out to “check” the tabernacle. He leaves it unlocked, wide-open with the key in it to “make things go quicker.” After he walks away I lock the tabernacle and find the celebrant to personally give him the key.

After Mass it’s a virtual fire drill to get out of the place. Someone cries out “WHO’S DOING THE DISHES?” I hear quiet cheers as “speedy” Cherri tears into the vessels. “Cherri washes them so fast!” BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG against the metal sink. I’m wondering “what’s your hurry, Cherri? You’re retired as most of these people are.” I guess they are in a hurry to get to the “breakfast” that has been dominating the conversation.

Where do people learn to act in this manner? These are educated and I would hope fairly cultured people. Why do they act this way? How can this behavior be changed? It’s been going on forever and it’s horrible. Truly horrible.

The pastor mentions these items and it’s like they defiantly couldn’t care less. Sure if it gets real bad individuals will get removed from ministry but that causes massive hard feelings which leads to other problems.

What’s the genesis of this problem?

what’s with the lack of proper training? that is something that could be cleared up this week (and certainly should be before Holy Week, since hopefully everyone will be getting together this week to plan). It will take no more than 10 minutes for you to bring these problems to everyone’s attention and the pastor implement an action plan.
and btw where is the sacristan, whose job it is to supervise all this?

why are their flowers at all on the credence table?

I would add where is the pastor and why isn’t he doing something about it. Certainly he must have some clue as to what is going on. I know my pastor notices everything. and lets me know right away if someone needs speaking to…also, why are there lay people purifying the vessels, or are they just washing them after purification?

I agree, where is the sacristian? Sounds like too many chiefs.

The key is Authority coinciding with Responsibility. The pastor needs to introduce the head of the Lay ministers to the group and explain the responsibility AND authority he has given them, including that of temporally suspending them from their ministry until they can receive additional instruction on specific practices and requirements. Noting that only the pastor can actually dismiss them. There have been many times I have heard people say “What does he or she think they are doing changing the way we do things, I’ve been doing it this way for 20 years!” It is also that they enforce the proper terminology, Instead of saying “doing the dishes” we must start saying “cleaning or caring for the Sacred vessels.”

Well, if it’s like the set-up in our parish, there is cover for each Mass. That is to say, there is no one sacristan in charge of everyone, but an individual or pair who take responsibility for a particular Mass.

A thought strikes me about dirty linen being put back. Sometimes the eyesight of older people isn’t so good. Somebdy with cataracts, for example. Can’t there be a reminder up that all linen gets put in the laundry basket after use, regardless of how clean it appears? Remove the element of decision-making.

‘Education’ has nothing to do with it; often it can be the root of the problem IF someone thinks, ‘I’m so smart I know better.’

Rather to be simple and holy. Fadda Wade reminded me today of the way of the Little Flower: do what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to, the way you’re supposed to do it.

With love? I’d hope so.

Thanks for the feedback. Each and every one of these people have been taught how to do their job. The poor sacristan tried for years to take care of these problems. There is almost a defiant buzz-off, we’ve done it this way forever and we’re not going to change attitude.

I think if my current pastor cracked down very hard we would see real change. We would also see a bunch of monumentally upset people. If he tried to be tactful, they’d revert to form within a week.

BUT MY REAL QUESTION is why would anyone act this way to begin with? I rely on the manners my parents instituted in me. Manners that have been polished by decades of life. I don’t lie on training I received at the parish. Where is the disconnect with these people?

Our sacristan has long been overrun by the herd of individuals. God knows she has tried to bring order.

Amen.

Amen.

Yes. We have 2 Masses each day and 7 on Sunday. Not all groups act as poorly as this early group.

I appreciate your comments about the linens. In the case of purificators, extras are sent out for each Mass that are never used. Further, a clean corporal should be re-used. I would suggest that those who cannot see well enough should probably not be in the ministry…

I wish I had an answer for you! :shrug:

I am all too familar with the behavior you mention, not only in church,
but in every segment of our society. It seems like the whole idea of manners,
and sometimes even common human decency, are alien concepts.:confused:
I have spent countless hours lamenting over things such as this, and finally,
with the help of a good spiritual director, have learned the following:

I no longer get angry. I cannot change other people or their behavior.:banghead:
Actually, now I am saddened:crying: when I see such disrepectful behavior.

Pray, :gopray2:, offer it up, and be the best version of me I can be- the person that God created in His image, and lead by example.

As St. Francis tells us,
"Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words when necessary"

Is it tough, you betcha! :sad_yes:
That’s what is great about being Catholic- we have the sacrament of reconcilliation for when we stumble and fall!:blush::slight_smile:

I wish I had an answer for you! :shrug:

I am all too familar with the behavior you mention, not only in church,
but in every segment of our society. It seems like the whole idea of manners,
and sometimes even common human decency, are alien concepts.:confused:
I have spent countless hours lamenting over things such as this, and finally,
with the help of a good spiritual director, have learned the following:

I no longer get angry. I cannot change other people or their behavior.:banghead:
Actually, now I am saddened:crying: when I see such disrepectful behavior.

Pray, :gopray2:, offer it up, and be the best version of me I can be- the person that God created in His image, and lead by example.

As St. Francis tells us,
"Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words when necessary"

Is it tough, you betcha! :sad_yes:
That’s what is great about being Catholic- we have the sacrament of reconcilliation for when we stumble and fall!:blush::slight_smile:
Thanks for the input… I would still love to know where this behavior comes from.

By nature I can be an extremely confrontational person but though God’s grace my ability to offer it up (or at least “shine it on”) has steadily increased over the years. The thing that sticks into my craw is what a non-Christian who sometimes attends the Mass said to me:

“This ain’t work, this ain’t school, this ain’t government, this ain’t even a personal family issue. This is about CHURCH! These people need to start acting like they believe and like they know what’s actually going on!!”

She is absolutely right – at least in theory.

I would also like to ask a question I wouldn’t dare ask in real life. The only reason it comes to mind is that I’m still unable to comprehend why anyone would act this way at the Mass.

Could it be (please bear with me) that Satan is influencing them to do little things that makes us appreciate the Mass and the surrounding settings just a little bit less? That probably sounds far-fetches but I still struggle with why anyone would act this way.

an EMHC who has been doing this for 20 yrs is almost guaranteed to be doing it wrong and to have been trained poorly, and to be using incorrect terminology and practice that was floating around at that time. (same goes for my field, catechetics btw, I can almost predict, by when they started and got their formation, what problems we will have with a catechist)

Only one question (and it is simply a question: there’s no ulterior motive or agenda involved): does any of what is described in the OP affect the EF? Or is the EF not part of that particular parish?

No EF at my home parish. The supporting groups are somewhat different at each Mass but overall there is almost a complete lack of manners in how people act in the sacristy AND the sanctuary before and after Mass.

The pastor is a good man. This problem predates him by 20 years. I think if he tactfully addresses this, things might change for a week. If he really cracked down, all hell would break loose.

I can just imagine the virulent gossip, the quitting of ministries, the calls/letters to the bishop, etc. :frowning:

Some of the same types of abuses could creep into the EF over time. But it is a different Form or Order of Mass.

No.

We’re not talking about liturgical abuses during a Mass. We’re talking about horrid behavior in the sacristy and sanctuary before and after Mass.

I have to say, this is horrible, not to mention disrespectful. Now, does someone wash the purificators? Or are they just stained from many uses? Also, whoever is shoving them in the back drawer, they need to stop. It should be neat and tidy and it makes it difficult for people who are trying to set everything up. Also, it makes it look messy, which it shouldn’t.

About the altar candles and wax spilling, that is a problem with the altar servers or whoever blows them out (typically the altar servers). It’d be nice if you or another helper could talk to the servers or have the pastor say something about using the stuffer when putting out candles, because, if you just blow them out, wax gets on the altar and the linens which can be a pain to get out. If the situation persists, you or the Pastor could tell them to not blow out the candles, someone else responsible will do it.

About the credence table, I didn’t really know that you were allowed to put flowers on there. I never see flowers on the credence table at my church.

About the EMHC leaving the tabernacle open, that needs to stop. I don’t see how things will go “much quicker” by having it left open.

About “speedy” Cherri, she needs to be more reverent with the stuff. It’s used for Mass, and should be treated properly. It shouldn’t be a big hurry to rush out.

I would definately try to organize a meeting and bring up these situations. Do you have a Pastoral Council? Maybe you could bring it up with them.

There are 4 sacristans at my church, and two of them I really admire. One of them makes sure everything is clean/laundered especially for a big event coming up. She takes care of Father’s vestments, the altar servers’ robes, and basically everything that would need cleaned. She’s very devoted. The other one I admire makes sure everything goes very smoothly, and she’s very devoted as well. She always makes me feel comfortable when she’s there.

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