Making mass more inviting and lively for the young people

I know those of you who are more orthodox wont like this but i would appreciate any advice on how we can make mass more inviting for those in their late teens and twenties who seem to completely disappear from church pews. Yet when i go to the local mega church type services there are loads of people of all ages really getting close to God through wonderful hyms and songs that bring joy to their hearts.

Are there any examples of parishes which have stemmed the flow of this group out of the church and what was it that they did to achieve those aims?

It’s not about making it more “inviting” or “fun” or “lively.”

It’s about teaching them what the Mass really is, and Who they are receiving in the Mass, and why. If they don’t understand it, of course it will not mean anything to them.

The seed that falls on good soil grows strong.

And, I turn to the parable of the seeds sown on rocky soil. They sprouted up quickly, but when the troubles came-- they quickly died because their roots were shallow. A church without the Cross is not Christianity. A feel good church may do just that-- feel good-- but it’s not Christ crucified and that’s what the Apostles preached. Your perception of these churches is that people are drawn to them and grow close to God-- and some do-- but they are in fact a revolving door and just as many people leave when the feel good stops feeling good.

Have you been to a TLM overflowing with young people? They are out there a plenty these days, as are reverent, holy NO Masses.

Reverence, holiness, the awesomeness of God, his Real Presence in the Sacrifice of the Mass-- those things are the good soil that grown strong and faithful Catholics.

Whats a TLM

TLM - Tridentine Latin Mass.

NO - Novus Ordo

I edited my post for typos and I added a few things.

The Sacrifice of the Holy Mass is not an entertainment event. I often find it sad that some of our young people have to seek out modernistic and liberalist trappings in order to be spiritually "fulfilled"in today’s sadly confused society. The failed experiment of Vatican ll should have taught us something as to the results of mixing protestant practices with catholic ones.

I see many young persons who are present at the traditional latin mass, and seem very willing to be there. I believe they are actually LEARNING something in the process. Perhaps there really is a certain place and time for everything. The person who is seeking out what you are discribing should review what the Sacrifice of Holy Mass really means and is.

If one wants to be entertained at Mass, than I would suggest that they find one that is conducted during a circus performance ( an event I actuall witinessed in France, in 1983, where a NO Mess was actually celebrated during a circus performance and the priests were dressed as clowns!!) There are way too many “Mega-Mart Super Make You Feel Good Services” out there that are trapping our young ones today that leaves them spritually dead tommorrow. They are demonic and to be avoided at all cost. The Catholic Church has none of them to offer, and I am always wary of those parishes who offer something that is close to it.

I honestly dont see a problem with a mass that celebrates the joy of the ressurection in a lively style. In fact on the odd ocassion i ahve been to a few. We ahd world youth day here last year and it was fantastic. Joy, singing and reverence all intermingled at mass. If we had that every week the pews would be bursting and yes the mass would still be celebrated in its full form.

I see many young persons who are present at the traditional latin mass, and seem very willing to be there. I believe they are actually LEARNING something in the process.

Perhaps there really is a certain place and time for everything.

The person who is seeking out what you are discribing should review what the Sacrifice of Holy Mass really means and is.

I think there is a place in the catholic church for all types of mass as long as they conform to the basic principles of the mass. If the Pope can attend spirit filled joyful masses then i reckon they must be permitted.


Up until this latest generation, the Catholic Church’s were the ones that had full pews, full congregations and alot of young people. Somehow, that has changed, but I don’t believe it is the Church’s place to make things more entertaining or more lively for the sake of bringing in this young generation. There is the danger that Catholicism ceases to be Catholicism if we do that.

Unfortunately, your from the generation that I call “gen e” or “generation entertainment”, where everything in your life is geared towards entertaining you. We hear that schools must change to be more engaging, dating is done on-line, cell phones and text messaging have taken over real communication, games must be more interactive, and books are turning into e-books and yes, the Catholic Church must change to. So it’s a no-brainer that the mega church’s have taken a prominent place in young peoples lives. They are certainly entertaining and they are engaging, but is it truth? Or are the mega church’s just doing, saying, and acting the way they do in order to survive and grow? IMHO, they are a fad cashing in on your generations need to be entertained. Will they be around for 2000 years?

The Church is the rock Tim. It is the truth. It doesn’t change 2000 years of it’s teaching, customs, prayers or sacraments just because this generation comes along and wants to be entertained. It is up to you to resist the urge to be entertained and learn about the Church and it’s long history and why it is the way and the truth. It is not just another denomination. It is the Church that track’s it’s roots right to Jesus himself…

Watch the show Jorney Home if you get EWTN. It is a show about Protestants that have come to the Catholic Church, because after years of Protestantism, they weren’t fulfilled and they were the ones that knew they were missing something in there religous lives.

God Bless!:slight_smile:


I reckon you may be correct, but those masses you speak of are usually only tolerated to a certain degree. Once abuses creep in, it is time to stamp them out, without hesitation or fail. Consider a study in the charismatic movement and you will see what I am talking about. It may be good for some to indulge in, but it is far from the original idea of what Holy Mass is.

Some parishioners are like little children left alone in a classroom. There are going to be some who will take advantages of certain liberties (the key word, here) and do their own thing. The teacher may have instructed them to read a small chapter, and on the return of the teacher, there is a pop quiz on the chapter.

If you can reckon my meaning, then it is clear as to why certain “self-control” is needed. This proves well for the student, but the teacher is little affected, unless they fail to correct the students who decided to do something other than study. The students still learned something whether they studied or not. Some just benifited more than others, particularly the ones who followed the correct instructions.

I would highly suggest that you do some detailed research on Catholic Church History, especially Vatican ll council documents and try to get hold of some good books on the meaning of the Sacrifice of the Mass. There are many out there and I am sure that you will realize why the Sacrifice of the Mass is called a ‘sacrifice’ and not an opera. Ask questions if you need more help. Always research your resources for any errors.

or go to the Vienna, I still can’t believe the online video I saw of Cardinal Schonborn and the balloons!

Anyway, what we need is better preaching and catechesis, not more bells and whistles. And it is not a matter of being “orthodox” or not, it is what Vatican II called for- a “noble simplicity” (Sacrosantum Concilium).

Worship is a verb!

Being in my twenties, though I always went to Mass, what increased my active participation (though aside from the Our Father no chant at my parish) was understanding the Mass and the Sacrafice/Eucharist, as much as one can, and discovering Gregorian Chant. Give me Anima Christi (Soul of my Saviour) over Here I am Lord anyday. So in the end it wasn’t about bells and whistles but Christ and beauty.

In Australia one of the big stadium Church’s broadcasts their service in the early early hours of Sunday morning on the TV. There is the pop/rock sound all amped, kids moshing, flashing lights, and a pastor who no offence talks really loudly (not my cup of tea) and focuses on only 3 or so scripture verses. Comapre that the the top to bottom scripture Mass us Catholics get.

I wonder about these mainly young people (not many it appears over fifty), will they appreciate the loud music, moshing in their older years?

Mass shouldn’t be the ordinary every day it should be the extrodinary - as the heavnely liturgy not the shopping mall

Proper catechesis, more traditional liturgy (doesn’t have to be a full blown 2 hour Tridentine Mass), and a good youth program will be of much assistance and make Mass more inviting (once they know what’s really going on and why). This will all help to make Mass truly lively!

Just my two cents, as they say.

Not always.

Personally, I have no objection to a lively and spirited worship. I remember the High Mass, Gregorian Chant, etal being quite entertaining. My favorite song of all time is the Ave Maria.

The problem, as I see it, is when the “entertainment” becomes the reason for attendance and thus the focal point. As long as the music supports worship and not the other way around, it’s OK by me…

Those that disappear from the Catholic Church and go to the Mega Churches lose a lot. Why would we want to make mass entertaining. Church is not a circus. If I could, I would dissolve all the Mega Churches and bring them back home. We have the fullness of truth. The Mega Churches don’t. We need to be taught how loving God is as well as the wrath of God. We need it all. Are all these people who attended this Mega Churches getting close to God or they just getting taught in whatever the leader of that church thinks they need taught?? I went to a local Mega Church for Wednesday night youth group when I was a teen. There was band playing and a lot of dancing and a little bit of scripture. It was mostly fun and games. I honestly didn’t learn a darn thing. I went to another Mega Church for a one of my best friends grandmother’s funeral. There were no hymnals, no Eucharist, a band was playing most of the time and a few scriptures being read. How is that drawing closer to God? I would stay away from the dangers of the Mega Churches and stick to learning the basics of Catholicism and fulfill your Sunday obligation

I would like to offer my own thoughts as a young Catholic (21) who felt suffocated by the so called ‘youth movement’ within the Church. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the youth movement that I encountered actually prevented my faith from growing. Although I do recognize that it works for a minority of Catholic youth.

My parents are both Catholic, and they raised us Catholic by celebrating the feasts and bringing us to Church but they made the mistake of leaving our education to our local catholic school, which was a mistake. Our encounter with the faith was presented through youth movement activities, whether it be a teen life style mass, volunteering for a social justice club or going to a Catholic youth dance or club.

My friends and I largely ridiculed this movement because it was always presented as fun and popular when it wasn’t. I recall some of the songs we would hear, with soaring musical performances, lights, props, nothing necessarily against the rubrics but still very “youth movement” and being told that this was cool and popular by adults. That approach may work for some, but certainly not all of us. Kids and teens always see this attempt by adults as supremely corny.

Not only will the youth see these performances as corny because they come from out of touch adults, but also because we are living in the age of the Ipod and the MP3. Music is easily accessible, it seems that all teens have mp3 players and the result is a wide variety of musical tastes. So how can older generations give us cool music, when kids themselves can’t agree on whats cool or popular. If you do a rock mass, what about those kids who like country? Rap? Classical? Pop? Electronic/techno?

In the end, they had reduced the mass to a mere performance. Mass was presented as a fun and cool hour with awesome music, and the idea was to get the kids away from the house parties, bars, clubs or other less savory places. The problem is that you are meeting the enemy on his own turn – the house party will always triumph social hour after mass, if you compete in terms of coolness and fun. Getting smashed with your buddies and just causing a ruckus is always going to be more fun.

So now I offer what I feel is the solution to the youth problem – Education and mystery. This is where we can win. The Catholic faith has THE TRUTH, there is no system which can compete with the richness and depth of the Catholic faith. You have to educate the youth, show them what the mass is and what it means. After 14 years of Catholic education, I had no idea what the real presence was and if it was taught it was only taught in passing, to be forgotten after your multiple choice test.

It was only after I left the Catholic school system that I began to learn about the faith. This learning created a desire to worship. It’s only natural that knowledge of God leads to worship of God (How can you worship what you do not know?). I read and read, and all of a sudden I wanted to go to mass. It was at this point that God directed me to the sublime and awesome liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. I had gone to Ukrainian Catholic liturgies before as a young child but I had no idea what the incense, bells, chant or teachings meant, let alone the Eucharist! But now I did, and as I sat in that Ukrainian Church, my heart melted. Everything made sense, the liturgy was speaking to me, God was guiding me, and it felt as though my heart stood still. I had encountered mystery.

Mystery is what sealed the deal, to experience God and his mysteries through the Sacraments and the Liturgy is the greatest experience a human can have. There is nothing more important then that one hour of mass, but we don’t even know what’s going on!

So my advice – take it easy on the guitars and props as they just frustrate and isolate too much of today’s youth. The youth movement tries to offer what it calls “fun”, but the youth of today are in no short supply of fun (drugs, sex and violence) but we are in short supply of fatih. Instead just give us a standard mass that has a youth following, but offer us the Truth so we know what to do with it.

Simply educate the youth, arm them with the truth, have them share there experiences with each other, and show them where they can find God. In the end you have to convince the youth that God and His Church matters, not seduce them through music or fun.

A Priest tried that here and was removed from his Parish. Our ways are not God’s ways. We must go by God’s way’s. This is what happened to the O.F and is the main reason why all the problems between traditional Catholics and modern\liberal\Progressive Catholics. They want to add and innovate the Mass to make it more appealing.

As a young person in the “entertainment generation,” I find it difficult to understand why teens and young adults feel they need more stimuli. I mean, we are bombarded by television, music, internet, and can access anyone and everything 24/7. Is it that difficult to spend one hour a week in contemplation and glory of God?

I remember going to a non-denom service when I first came to college (I was Protestant at the time). With the rock band, clapping and swaying, and “youth group” feel, I was immediately turned off. I didn’t feel anything holy there; thus, I rarely went to church for the next two years (unless I was at home with my parents in a more traditional church). When I started attending Mass, I was amazed at how present God was. I would never go back, not in a thousand years. I tell lapsed Catholics I know that if they ever attend a Protestant service, they will definitely feel the difference. God’s presence isn’t felt as fully or in the same way as during the Catholic Mass.

In terms of loud music, I like loud music OUTSIDE of Mass (I’m a classic rock person, what can I say), but I feel that anything that takes our attention away from God during Mass is not necessary, and needs to be saved for later. Young people can, and should be education to realize that Mass is a sacred celebration, not a frat party.

Ok, done ranting. I just think young people need to be taught the fullness of the faith, and how lucky they are to have it!

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