For reasons unknown to me, I was never confirmed as a teen. When I investigated the process to be confirmed in my diocese in the latter 1990’s one had to go through RCIA even if they were a baptized Catholic who had received First Communion. With no other options I joined RCIA in late 1998. I would be confirmed in the jubilee year of 2000 at Easter.
It wasn’t a happy process. Our chief catechist was a Benedictine monk who seemed to have much dislike for then Pope John Paul II. I remember him saying that "the only reason the Catechism of the Catholic Church was created was to benefit printers and the Church hierarchy. Ugh!
The group was pretty cool though – 22 in all. Myself and another non-confirmed Catholic, a converting Russian Orthodox, 5 non-baptized individuals and 14 converting Protestants of various flavors. Our pastor asked if I would set-up and serve a Mass he was preparing to celebrate for us? I agreed – it was the first Mass I served as an adult. When he, the music director and I sat down to go over the details I asked “no smells and bells?” I think those in the class are looking for “smells and bells.” He said no, there was no need and that was that.
Odd as it might sound, other than the Catholic and I, it was clear that none of the others had been to Mass at was to become their new home parish. No problem though, what a great introduction. While the Mass was well organized and precise (better than a local Sunday Mass), it was also utilitarian and sterile (just like a typical local Sunday Mass.) I can still picture the looks of disappointment on the faces of my soon to be fellow confirmandees. I think they wee expecting something far more St. Peter’s. This disappointment would be repeated at the Easter Vigil Mass.
The reason I bring this up is that I ran into someone from the group yesterday. She was the one that sort of kept the group communicating with her emails for quite some time. She said that to her knowledge, I was the only one of the 22 that is still active in the Church. That saddened me greatly.
Like it or not, pomp and solemnity can be extremely important when it comes to the celebration of the Mass. I think the lack of pomp and solemnity around here played a material part in those 21 souls no longer attending Mass today. It you get a chance, please say a little prayer for them.