Two questions about the Mass

Hi all,

I have two questions about the Mass. The first one is this: is it okay to have a skit of the Gospel acted out while the priest reads the Gospel? I am thinking not, but I cannot find any texts or anything to back this up.

Second question: Are Masses that exclude groups of people, such as a "youth Mass" where only teenagers in high school are allowed to attend, licit?

Thanks!
Sophie

[quote="SophieG, post:1, topic:178247"]
Hi all,

I have two questions about the Mass. The first one is this: is it okay to have a skit of the Gospel acted out while the priest reads the Gospel? I am thinking not, but I cannot find any texts or anything to back this up.

Second question: Are Masses that exclude groups of people, such as a "youth Mass" where only teenagers in high school are allowed to attend, licit?

Thanks!
Sophie

[/quote]

First question: no.

Second question: people can't be excluded. The Mass is a public celebration. Anyone is allowed to attend any Mass (within reason, of course--if a church only holds 500 people, we can't say that 1,000 could be there). Generally speaking, it's fine to have a Mass which appeals to a particular segment of the parish, but not to outright exclude anyone who doesn't fit that category.

[quote="SophieG, post:1, topic:178247"]
Hi all,

Second question: Are Masses that exclude groups of people, such as a "youth Mass" where only teenagers in high school are allowed to attend, licit?

[/quote]

I've never ever heard of or seen a youth mass that excluded others from coming...in fact, encouraged others to come. Just because it is called a youth mass does not mean it is excluding others.

JPII himself encouraged youth masses.

[quote="agapewolf, post:3, topic:178247"]
I've never ever heard of or seen a youth mass that excluded others from coming...in fact, encouraged others to come. Just because it is called a youth mass does not mean it is excluding others.

[/quote]

I second that.

[quote="SophieG, post:1, topic:178247"]
Hi all,

I have two questions about the Mass. The first one is this: is it okay to have a skit of the Gospel acted out while the priest reads the Gospel? I am thinking not, but I cannot find any texts or anything to back this up.

Second question: Are Masses that exclude groups of people, such as a "youth Mass" where only teenagers in high school are allowed to attend, licit?

Thanks!
Sophie

[/quote]

No, The readings at Mass are supposed to be read not acted out.

No, Mass is the Public worship of the Church, it is possible to have a Mass that is not advertised, but anyone who shows up cannot be turned away.

I've never ever heard of or seen a youth mass that excluded others from coming...in fact, encouraged others to come. Just because it is called a youth mass does not mean it is excluding others.

Well, this Mass is only for high school teens. To quote one of the people who played a large part in organizing it, "You can't bring your little sister. You can't bring your mom. You can't bring your grandfather. This is a Mass for you guys and only for you guys."

[quote="SophieG, post:6, topic:178247"]
Well, this Mass is only for high school teens. To quote one of the people who played a large part in organizing it, "You can't bring your little sister. You can't bring your mom. You can't bring your grandfather. This is a Mass for you guys and only for you guys."

[/quote]

Hmmm, is it actually held during their youth group time? We've had masses as part of youth nights. Our Diocese does not allow anyone other than the appropriate age to attend youth group (other than adult helpers who are of the appropriate age (have to be over 21) and who have attended the proper workshops/background checks). That's the only time I can imagine that happening.

If this is one of the weekend liturgies, then I would go to the priest and complain.

Hmmm, is it actually held during their youth group time? We've had masses as part of youth nights. Our Diocese does not allow anyone other than the appropriate age to attend youth group (other than adult helpers who are of the appropriate age (have to be over 21) and who have attended the proper workshops/background checks). That's the only time I can imagine that happening.

Nope, it's at a completely different time.

How would I go about addressing these issues with the priest? I hate confrontation...could I write an anonymous letter, or is that too cowardly?

[quote="SophieG, post:8, topic:178247"]
Nope, it's at a completely different time.

How would I go about addressing these issues with the priest? I hate confrontation...could I write an anonymous letter, or is that too cowardly?

[/quote]

So it's a weekend liturgy?

I hate confrontation, too. I wouldn't think of it as confrontation if you went about it with a spirit of charitable concern.

Something like, Father _________, I noticed there is a mass only for teens. Forgive my ignorance, but is that even proper? I didn't think anyone could be excluded from attending Mass. It makes me feel kind of unwelcome.

That's how I would do it, anyway.

You could do an anonymous letter, but it may not be as effective as actually talking to him.

Yes, it's a weekend liturgy.

The problem I have with going to the pastor, aside from the fact that I hate confrontation, is that I've already made it known that I dislike this Mass. I don't like the type of music at that Mass, I don't like sitting on the floor, and I don't like going to Mass without my family. Every time there's a youth Mass, they invite me, and every time, I say no.

Hmmm....perhaps I'll talk to the other priest. He's a lot more traditional than the pastor.

[quote="SophieG, post:10, topic:178247"]
Yes, it's a weekend liturgy.

The problem I have with going to the pastor, aside from the fact that I hate confrontation, is that I've already made it known that I dislike this Mass. I don't like the type of music at that Mass, I don't like sitting on the floor, and I don't like going to Mass without my family. Every time there's a youth Mass, they invite me, and every time, I say no.

Hmmm....perhaps I'll talk to the other priest. He's a lot more traditional than the pastor.

[/quote]

Wow. That's a first (that I've heard of anyway). Excluding people from a weekend liturgy I don't know how you would even keep people out, accept to have a bouncer at the door checking ID's (under 18 only :D)

I'm sorry. I'm confused. They invite you? I thought no one was invited.

Why would they have to sit on the floor. Aren't there pews?

I know a lot of people who don't like the music at say, Life Teen Masses and I know a lot who do. :shrug:

As for the family thing, I could see that. Our "youth" Mass is not different than any other liturgy accept we invite the teens to sit in the front pews (if they want), we choose them to bring up the gifts, we ask them to greet people at the doors, we have those trained as lectors do the readings, etc.

Couldn't hurt to talk to the Traditional priest.

Wow. That's a first (that I've heard of anyway). Excluding people from a weekend liturgy I don't know how you would even keep people out, accept to have a bouncer at the door checking ID's (under 18 only )

I'm sorry. I'm confused. They invite you? I thought no one was invited.

Why would they have to sit on the floor. Aren't there pews?

I know a lot of people who don't like the music at say, Life Teen Masses and I know a lot who do.

As for the family thing, I could see that. Our "youth" Mass is not different than any other liturgy accept we invite the teens to sit in the front pews (if they want), we choose them to bring up the gifts, we ask them to greet people at the doors, we have those trained as lectors do the readings, etc.

Couldn't hurt to talk to the Traditional priest.

Sorry, I was unclear. I'm in high school, so I'm invited. They sit on the floor because the youth Masses are held in the church balcony. I have no idea why. I think the idea is that it is smaller than the regular church, so it feels more intimate? :shrug: I'm also not sure how they keep people who aren't allowed in out. It's quite clear on the posters and things that it's only for high schoolers, so perhaps they've never had this problem. (I've always been tempted to bring my little sister and see if they actually would turn her away.)

I, too, could see a family Mass. A church we attended last year had a family Mass and a sung Latin novus ordo.

[quote="SophieG, post:12, topic:178247"]
Sorry, I was unclear. I'm in high school, so I'm invited. They sit on the floor because the youth Masses are held in the church balcony. I have no idea why. I think the idea is that it is smaller than the regular church, so it feels more intimate? :shrug: I'm also not sure how they keep people who aren't allowed in out. It's quite clear on the posters and things that it's only for high schoolers, so perhaps they've never had this problem. (I've always been tempted to bring my little sister and see if they actually would turn her away.)

I, too, could see a family Mass. A church we attended last year had a family Mass and a sung Latin novus ordo.

[/quote]

OK! Sorry, I didn't realize you were in high school. My bad.

Is there any reason you should have to attend this Mass? I'm guessing it's something the youth director started to try and make teens appreciate the Mass. It's all opinion as to whether or not it's a good idea/works. But to exclude people to a Sunday liturgy...nope, nope.

Nope, no reason for me to attend this Mass, other than peer pressure. And that I can handle. I don't attend it, as a matter of fact, but I still feel like I should at least try to stop it, since I know it's wrong.

[quote="SophieG, post:6, topic:178247"]
Well, this Mass is only for high school teens. To quote one of the people who played a large part in organizing it, "You can't bring your little sister. You can't bring your mom. You can't bring your grandfather. This is a Mass for you guys and only for you guys."

[/quote]

I'm pretty sure that you can't have a Mass for minors and refuse to allow parents to attend, even if you could refuse people entry to Mass in other situations (which I don't think you can).

[quote="SophieG, post:12, topic:178247"]
They sit on the floor because the youth Masses are held in the church balcony.

[/quote]

I'm getting a weird mental picture from this. So the attendees are all in the balcony? Is there an altar up there? Or is the priest just really far away from everyone?

Going to the more traditional priest might be easier. Of course it might put him in an awkward position; I don't know. Maybe one of your parents/guardians could write to the pastor?

Best of luck and God bless you,

--Jen

[quote="SophieG, post:1, topic:178247"]
...Second question: Are Masses that exclude groups of people, such as a "youth Mass" where only teenagers in high school are allowed to attend, licit?

[/quote]

The Church has a document which specifically endorses Masses for particular groups of people. It is the 1969 Instruction Actio Pastoralis, "On Masses With Special Groups". It includes:
"...That is achieved by the shared celebration of the eucharist, especially on Sundays and holydays, around the bishop and within the assembly of the parish, whose pastor is the bishop's representative.
But pastoral care also has as its purpose and direction particular groups. This is not for the sake of creating ecclesiolae or privilege, but to serve the faithful's particular needs or to deepen the Christian life in accord with the requirements and capacities of the members of these groups. This brings to the advantages that spring from a special spiritual or apostolic, common bond and from the desire to help one another toward spiritual growth.
From experience pastoral activity teaches how much good having their own celebrations can do for these groups. For when these celebrations have proper and wise planning and direction they are no obstacle to parish unity; instead they serve the parish's missionary activity by their power to achieve closer contact with some of the people or to deepen the formation of others. ..."
(From Documents on the Liturgy 1963-1979, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1982, ISBN 0-8146-1281-4, pages 672-673.)

Examples of groups of given in the document: "groups gathered to make a retreat"; "meetings of any sector of the parish for the purpose of pastoral activity". The Mass may take place in "private homes or institutions" if approved by the Ordinary.

Another document on this issue is the 1973 Directory for Masses with Children. Chapter 3 has the heading "Masses with Children in Which Only a Few Adults Participate". It begins:
"20. In addition to the Masses in which children take part with their parents and other family members (which are not always possible everywhere), Masses with children primarily in which only a few adults take part are recommended, especially during the week. ...".

[quote="John_Lilburne, post:16, topic:178247"]

Another document on this issue is the 1973 Directory for Masses with Children. Chapter 3 has the heading "Masses with Children in Which Only a Few Adults Participate". It begins:
"20. In addition to the Masses in which children take part with their parents and other family members (which are not always possible everywhere), Masses with children primarily in which only a few adults take part are recommended, especially during the week. ...".

[/quote]

There is no way you could think that the DMC applies in this case when we are talking about high school students and DMC 6 states:

[FONT=Times New Roman, Times, Arial]6. The Directory is concerned with children who have not yet entered the period of preadolescence.[/FONT]

[quote="SophieG, post:6, topic:178247"]
"You can't bring your little sister. You can't bring your mom. You can't bring your grandfather. This is a Mass for you guys and only for you guys."

[/quote]

Yeah, doesn't that sound so cool?! It must be a super-secret, break-the-rules, rock out, rebel against the man, etc., Mass.

Seriously, the Mass is for God. I wonder what imprudent "liturgy decisions" the planning committee has made for the teens-only Mass.

[quote="SophieG, post:12, topic:178247"]
They sit on the floor because the youth Masses are held in the church balcony.

[/quote]

WHY?! Is there an altar up there, or do they just use a makeshift table? This all sounds terribly misguided to me.

[quote="SophieG, post:12, topic:178247"]
A church we attended last year had a family Mass and a sung Latin novus ordo.

[/quote]

That's beautiful!

I wonder what imprudent "liturgy decisions" the planning committee has made for the teens-only Mass

Well, the Gospel skit, for one, although that isn't actually happening right now. They're trying (and failing) to organize it. And I'm not convinced all the music is okay, either.

WHY?! Is there an altar up there, or do they just use a makeshift table? This all sounds terribly misguided to me.

There is no altar. I believe they use a table. I agree, it is misguided. The youth Mass is once a month, and on the Sunday when there is a youth Mass, you see very few teenagers at the regular Masses. On the other Sundays, the teenagers come to the regular Masses. It's not as if they don't come to church unless there is a youth Mass.

That's beautiful!

Yes, it really was. I wish we still attended that church. The trip was 45 minutes each way on public transit, but it was worth it.

[quote="SophieG, post:19, topic:178247"]
Well, the Gospel skit, for one, although that isn't actually happening right now. They're trying (and failing) to organize it. And I'm not convinced all the music is okay, either.

[/quote]

How old are the people organizing these Masses? Just curious. It sounds to me like acting out the Gospel as a skit while the other sit on the floor is something you do for little kids (outside of Mass, mind you!), not teenagers. Help them become adults!

[quote="SophieG, post:19, topic:178247"]
There is no altar. I believe they use a table.

[/quote]

Right. Why use the proper part of the church, with a sanctuary and altar and all that, when you can just hide up in the balcony and use a table as a makeshift altar? It's ludicrous, disrespectful, and irreverent.

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