Undercover Catholic Part II


#1

A few months ago I did some recon at a Baptist church and was amazed at what I saw. Last night I went to the McLean Bible Church near my home and was stunned. And despite myself, I was a little seduced…

The MBC is brand new and huge. It can easily seat around 2000 people. My Protestant buddy, (who’s a very good friend, and the kind of friend everyone should have), invited me to it to see “where he’s coming from.” He was watching me carefully as we walked into the massive auditorium, and he thought my reaction was pretty funny. I couldn’t believe it–there were eight huge flat-screen monitors hung on the ceiling, a big pit in the center that controlled all the sophisticated A/V equipment, and what can only be described as a “stage” up front. There was a Christian rock band playing, and despite my deep, deep loathing of Christian music, they were pretty good. (I think the lead singer and acoustic guitarist had a Taylor…)

The average age of the congregation was probably 22, and I’ll just say this–if I was Protestant girl shopping, this would be the place. I have never seen such a high percentage of hotties under one Church roof in my life. But that’s not the point… I’m TRYING to illustrate that this was a youth-oriented crowd. These were the “cool” Christians.

The service was pretty typical, I guess. An emotional, inspiring rock concert followed by some house-keeping details, and an excellent guest pastor who gave a funny/inspirational sermon. I was shocked at how few people had brought their own Bibles, but that really wasn’t the point.

Later, while having coffee with my buddy in the in-house Starbucks on a lower level, I remarked that I’d been trying to keep an open mind about the thing on the drive out there. But I think I kept my mind TOO open. I felt the seduction of the spectacle, and while I would never leave the Church, I felt a little depressed that what we have to offer, while true, isn’t nearly as flashy. In comparison, even the National Shrine that I go to was flat and boring. I wondered aloud what I could do to “jazz it up,” without compromising doctrine or truth…

On the apologetics front, I showed him my rosary, (thereby “outing” myself to everyone around us. People looked at me as though I had two heads), and told him he could expect miracles if he prayed it. He’s going through some tough stuff with his non-anything girlfriend, like I did, and I shared (witnessed) with him the miracle that set me free.

So, I got my apologetics card punched for the day.

Anyway, there’s more to it, but I’m trying to keep it short. Here’s a question, though: Other than Theology on Tap, what can we do to make our ancient incense-and-stone Church more “appealing” to the youth without falling into all the errors of modernism?


#2

You could try a little incense and stone, for one thing. The problem with Catholic worship these days is that it’s contemporary and boring, which is a deadly combination. Catholic liturgists seem scared or ashamed of the riches of their own tradition, and at the same time they’re too Catholic to borrow the really good stuff from Protestants with the wild abandon necessary.

If people want rock concerts by way of church, then Catholicism will just have to lose out on those people. But there’s no reason why Catholicism needs to be boring. There are all sorts of ways that Catholic worship could be more appealing. Myself, I favor a blend of the wilder aspects of traditionalism (incense, chanting, colorful vestments, processions) with enough contemporary elements that it doesn’t feel too stiff and stuffy (the way EWTN Masses often do). My former Episcopal parish in NC (before I moved to NJ) was a good example of this. We had guitars and incense and chanting. People knew the liturgy and joined in enthusiastically. We sang everything from grand 19th-century Anglican hymns to “Tantum Ergo” to Marty Haugen to praise choruses to Fanny Crosby. My rector claimed that the way he did liturgy was the way post-Vatican-II Catholic liturgy ought to be done. And arrogant as that may sound, I think he was exactly right. At least it was one good way.

The basic problem is not that Catholics don’t come up with the right techniques to make worship exciting, but that people have this ingrained notion that if worship is exciting it isn’t really church. If Catholic worship is going to be transformed, it’s going to have to be from the bottom up. Priests have been trying to get people to “participate actively” for forty years now, and it just doesn’t work. You can’t stand over people with a whip and say, “Be excited.” But that’s what the more “liberal” Catholic churches I’ve been to seem to be doing.

In Christ,

Edwin


#3

How to appeal to the youth? Go traditional, as described in Vatican II: Latin, Gregorian Chant, Sacred Polyphony, Organ. Add incense and all the smells and bells you can find and you’ll have something that’s been attracting many young people these days. Many people are surprised that Mass celebrated according to the Missal of 1962 are starting to becoming popular among Gen-Xers and younger. I’m sure that the current Missal can be celebrated with the same reverence. It’s disappointing that these traditional options are rarely used today.

I sympathize with the grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side feeling. We’re saturated in a culture of entertainment. There’s something to be said for something that hits us with an emotional high. But if you really look at it, services fashioned in the entertainment paradigm aren’t enduring. Taste’s great, but less filling kind of thing, like eating cotton candy. What’s going to happen when the youth grow up and “MTV” liturgies no longer appeal to them and the emotionalism withers away? Will they lose their faith? I hope not.

What’s so fitting about traditional settings is that they precisely express what we believe the Mass is all about: not *primarily *for entertainment, a motivational kick, or a way to hook up with girls, but to enter into the once-for-all Sacrifice that Christ offered on the Cross made ever present. That’s what is. If our intellects are conformed to that reality, then our wills will be attuned to give the Trinity the honor that’s due with all reverence.

If a meeting does not make present the once-for-all Sacrifice, then the entertainment paradigm makes some sense. Fun and games are great at football games, birthday parties and rock concerts. The Mass, on the other hand, by its very nature draws our hearts and minds to enter into Heaven itself.


#4

[quote=montanaman]A few months ago I did some recon at a Baptist church and was amazed at what I saw. Last night I went to the McLean Bible Church near my home and was stunned. And despite myself, I was a little seduced…

The MBC is brand new and huge. It can easily seat around 2000 people. My Protestant buddy, (who’s a very good friend, and the kind of friend everyone should have), invited me to it to see “where he’s coming from.” He was watching me carefully as we walked into the massive auditorium, and he thought my reaction was pretty funny. I couldn’t believe it–there were eight huge flat-screen monitors hung on the ceiling, a big pit in the center that controlled all the sophisticated A/V equipment, and what can only be described as a “stage” up front. There was a Christian rock band playing, and despite my deep, deep loathing of Christian music, they were pretty good. (I think the lead singer and acoustic guitarist had a Taylor…)

The average age of the congregation was probably 22, and I’ll just say this–if I was Protestant girl shopping, this would be the place. I have never seen such a high percentage of hotties under one Church roof in my life. But that’s not the point… I’m TRYING to illustrate that this was a youth-oriented crowd. These were the “cool” Christians.

The service was pretty typical, I guess. An emotional, inspiring rock concert followed by some house-keeping details, and an excellent guest pastor who gave a funny/inspirational sermon. I was shocked at how few people had brought their own Bibles, but that really wasn’t the point.

Later, while having coffee with my buddy in the in-house Starbucks on a lower level, I remarked that I’d been trying to keep an open mind about the thing on the drive out there. But I think I kept my mind TOO open. I felt the seduction of the spectacle, and while I would never leave the Church, I felt a little depressed that what we have to offer, while true, isn’t nearly as flashy. In comparison, even the National Shrine that I go to was flat and boring. I wondered aloud what I could do to “jazz it up,” without compromising doctrine or truth…

On the apologetics front, I showed him my rosary, (thereby “outing” myself to everyone around us. People looked at me as though I had two heads), and told him he could expect miracles if he prayed it. He’s going through some tough stuff with his non-anything girlfriend, like I did, and I shared (witnessed) with him the miracle that set me free.

So, I got my apologetics card punched for the day.

Anyway, there’s more to it, but I’m trying to keep it short. Here’s a question, though: Other than Theology on Tap, what can we do to make our ancient incense-and-stone Church more “appealing” to the youth without falling into all the errors of modernism?
[/quote]

I’ve been to MBC myself with a non-Catholic friend of mine who lives with me in Woodbridge, VA. I thought I should have paid for admission to the place, and there should have been a Starbucks in the lobby. However, the “pastor” there, Lon Solomon is a genuine enough guy. I’ve had a chance to talk with him, a converted Jew, and he is a very sincere person. His theology is typical non-denominationalism, and he is treated like the congregations own pope, but that isn’t unusual for this type of religious group.

That in addition to the fact that its not far from Tyson’s Galleria Mall, you can understand that they younger congregation is in the money and don’t have the time or patience for Catholic dogma. :frowning:


#5

Mass is a sacrice, not entertainment form of praise and worship. We’re making present the sacrifice of the Lamb, so “rock entertainment” has no share in it. We can do entertainment songs or praise and worship but not in the mass. It’s to be highly solemn and revered.

Pio


#6

[quote=hlgomez]Mass is a sacrice, not entertainment form of praise and worship.
[/quote]

I was wondering what took someone so long to say it. Mass is not meant to be entertainment, so to say it is not entertaining is moot. Funerals, court cases, and Congressional hearings aren’t entertaining either, but people don’t go around complaining about it because entertainment is not the purpose of such events. Nor is it of the Mass.


#7

I read a dissertation on “Worship Styles” in the U.S. among Christian Churches. They included such things as “Boomer,” “Traditional,” “Cowboy,” “Come and Dine” (Catholics), etc.

Catholic is “Come and Dine,” because our worship “service” is primarily centered around Eucharist, not preaching or singing.

THE most popular “worship style” among the young is–drum roll–CONTEMPLATIVE.

That’s right. A bare room, no lights, just a few candles. No singing. No preaching. No talking. Just sitting and being quiet.

I couldn’t believe it.

But then I found out that my twenty-something daughter, who is a Protestant that no longer attends any church, has been going to the Carmelite Convent near her college town and just sitting, being quiet. She says it is so good to not listen to singing and preaching, but just be able to think about God.

So young people don’t necessarily require excitement. Many of them want peace instead.

I have a question for more knowledgeable Catholics, though. I agree that Mass is not the appropriate place for entertainment.

And I respectfully disagree about rock music in a Mass. I think rock music can be just as “reverent” as classical or traditional or folk. I believe any musical style can be “reverent.” Rock is not my personal choice of music, and I am very happy to leave it in the LifeTeen Mass, which is very well-attended in our church. Not only teens go, but lots of grownups who enjoy rock music.

But here is my question–is there any reason Catholics couldn’t have “concerts” and “sing-alongs” (Protestants often call singalongs “Singspiration Services.”) at a time other than Mass?

In one of the Protestant Churches I was a member of, we did a once-a-month “Request Night.” Anyone who wanted could do a solo or special number of some kind, and the songleader took song requests for hymns and choruses from the congregation (I played piano for this. Good sight reader.)

Also, people could share personal testimonies about what the Lord had done in their lives. Afterwards, there was a “snack potluck.”

The teenagers like this. Everyone liked it! The whole thing created a really good feeling of friendship in the church, and people often stuck around until after ten p.m. to enjoy talking to friends.

My two children, who were about five and three, loved “Request Night.” My daughter sang her first “solo” at a Request Night when she was only four. (It was called, “The Boo Boo Song,” and I wrote it for her!)

Is there any reason why Catholic Churches couldn’t implement something like this? The one thing I miss about Protestant churches is the lusty singing. (In the front of the Methodist Hymnal, John Wesley exhorts the faithful to “sing lustily!”)

It is interesting what Catholics haven’t done. Our parish has 5000 people who attend Mass every week.

A few weeks ago, I suggested to the Music Minister that during the congregational hymns (not the Liturgical hymns), but the Processional and Recessional hymns especially, that perhaps I could play the piano along with the organ. Most Protestant churches do this (although nowadays, most have what they call a “Praise Band,” a pop-rock band).

Piano and organ together sound “brighter” and make it easier to sing. Sometimes the people in Mass sound so asleep when they sing. The piano can really wake people up. Such a simple thing, but maybe it will make the people sing more “lustily.”

The Music Minister had never heard of this being done. He thought it sounded interesting and sounded willing to try it. I hope we will do it. Is there some reason that any of you know why this simple thing shouldn’t be done in Mass?


#8

I am 19 and attend the University of Washington Newman Center for mass. The parish is a rather contemporary design (it is only 3 years old), not your gothic or renaissance architecture, and our choir consists of ~20 people playing everything from flutes to bass guitars to drums to violins. Nearly everything is sung during mass, so the choir is very active. As a result, the mass is probably 20 minutes longer than it could be (not a complaint, just an observation). I love going to mass there to see friends, to talk with the priest, to do whatever. It is not the building or the singing or the “traditional” ceremony of the mass that draws me, but the people that surround me and Jesus, for “when two or more are gathered in my name . . .”

That said, the Seattle archdiocese cathedral (St. James) is much more visually and audibly stimulating than the Newman Center. Mass here will blow your mind (or at any cathedral). The incense, the organ, the solemnity, the architecture, the paintings, the history, everything is much more exciting than at the Newman Center.

Personally, I think the “problem” with the meager attendence to mass of the younger generation (as one, I have first hand experience) is poor catechism. 25% of the US is Catholic, yet at a university with 40,000 students (UW), only 500 attend mass regularly. That disgusts me, and I think it can be traced back to CCD. I never really knew that I was eating Jesus Christ in communion until this year, two years after I had been confirmed and completed CCD. If Catholic Catechism were a bit stronger and really hammered home Christian ideas such as the sacrements, prayer, hierarchy, history, and the like more youth would respect why there is mass and what the purpose is and attendence would increase. Hopefully.


#9

You know, what the youth want is truth and sincerity. I think that a truly reverant mass, a mass that truly honors and is centered around the Eucharist is very good for youth. There’s a charismatic Catholic church near where I live, and the youth are REALLY into their faith there, more than my own parish, which is the traditional, more “smells and bells” looking kind of church. The reason they are into their faith is because they were raised that way. They saw the example of others and they followed it, and really found Christ. Don’t get me wrong though, I believe that this can happen in ANY Catholic parish, or really, any church, but the seed has to be planted. If you half-heartedly practice your faith, then what do you think your children are going to do? If you do things like family rosary, holy hours, mass on more than just Sunday, etc, then they are gonna know their faith and be more open to practicing it, but you also must be a little more moderative of what goes into your childrens minds. I’m not saying “control” them, in the sense of keeping them away from the world. I’m just saying, don’t “protect” them from “every-little-thing”, but show them how those things aren’t the way. Try to send your kids to a good Catholic school. If you can’t, then the next best thing would be to send them to a Montessory school. After that, I’d say homeschool them. Children’s peers enfluence them very much. Though you should always let them be around a diversity of different people any other time, just so that prejudice won’t build up later on. I guess the best thing to show them is what Jesus asked of his disciples at the last supper: “This is what Yaweh requires of you: act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God”. That’s what’ll get them on the right track mostly.


#10

[quote=Cat] THE most popular “worship style” among the young is–drum roll–CONTEMPLATIVE.

That’s right. A bare room, no lights, just a few candles. No singing. No preaching. No talking. Just sitting and being quiet.

I couldn’t believe it.

But then I found out that my twenty-something daughter, who is a Protestant that no longer attends any church, has been going to the Carmelite Convent near her college town and just sitting, being quiet. She says it is so good to not listen to singing and preaching, but just be able to think about God.

So young people don’t necessarily require excitement. Many of them want peace instead.
[/quote]

That is another reason that the Traditional Latin Mass is attracting younger participants. The celebration *ad orientam * (with the priest facing the altar with the congregation instead of facing the congregation across the altar) and the silent Canon (Eucharistic Prayer) encourage contemplation in a way that is fully participatory without being constantly in action.

Montanaman, find a Solemn High TLM and see if it does not suit you.

Tridentine Masses for Washington D.C. Area

Justin


#11

Maybe I should clarify something here. I most definitely do NOT want to turn the Mass into a rock concert. The Mass, in my opinion, should always have incense, and they should probably keep the lights low. It’s the traditional stuff that always kept me coming back, and there’s just no way around it–the ancient Church is appealing to me precisely because it can’t change.

But my latent competitiveness makes me chafe at the idea that we’re “losing out” on so many people because they’ve got a little more flash. I understand that younger folks are coming back to meat-and-potatos Christianity, (for Protestants, that means more mainstream churches in many cases), but whatever. Perhaps I’m judging too harshly, but the people there didn’t strike me as overly concerned about capital T Truth as much as they were for the “show.” I’m sure they were more sincere than I give them credit for.

I was trying to muse about possible remedies to the problem. Theology on Tap is pretty cool, but ultimately fluffy. There are some good talks, but ultimately people want more.

Ah, never mind… Somebody already said it better than I could at the moment–if people want to leave for that, so be it. There isn’t much you can do if you’re seduced by rock concert Christianity.


#12

Montanaman, one big difference is all the difference in the world. Thank God for Pope John Paul II who declares this coming Eucharistic Year the “Year of the Eucharist”.

As a Baptist I know that our communion (bread and grape juice) is only symbolic. My Roman Catholic priest told me that when I first went to him to complain to him about my new Baptist minister (who always adds the word “symbolic” to Christ’s words in the upper room). My Baptist Church doesn’t have a hierarchy and the Baptist deacons were in agreement with the new Baptist minister.

In the Roman Catholic Church, you have the body and blood of Christ. Even if you don’t have Gibson 12-String guitars or weekly Christian Rock Concerts, your church allows you to fulfill Christ’s command in John Chapter 6. One person told me they had three priests, an old one who was very hard of hearing, a foreign one who hardly spoke English and somebody who was still fairly young. Even if you think you are in a sad situation, it doesn’t matter. Your Priests are validly ordained. Respect them and those who placed them over you. And you have the Mass. Instead of criticizing, it is better to volunteer and contribute yourself to your parish.

That is primarily why I signed up for RCIA / RCIC. And I have worked out a lot of the other questions that I had. I’m not sure I have any questions left at this time.


#13

The way to get the kids and young adults excited and “into it” is to go traditional all the way (as far as Mass is concerned) while simultaneously expanding the youth and young adult programs during the weekdays.

As Vincent wrote above:
How to appeal to the youth? Go traditional, as described in Vatican II: Latin, Gregorian Chant, Sacred Polyphony, Organ. Add incense and all the smells and bells you can find and you’ll have something that’s been attracting many young people these days. Many people are surprised that Mass celebrated according to the Missal of 1962 are starting to becoming popular among Gen-Xers and younger. I’m sure that the current Missal can be celebrated with the same reverence. It’s disappointing that these traditional options are rarely used today.


I agree completely. We are constantly told of the lack of priests, but the one area where seminarians are growing is in the more “traditional” or “orthodox” seminaries. This gives us a clue as to what people want. There is a reason most people here WANT the traditional church and are drawn to the Catholic Church in general.
I won’t go over all the reasons–you know them by heart-- and in your heart–. The younger generation is no different than you are in that regard.

Sure there is a desire to be “hip” and what-not, but that is where my second point comes in. I come in contact with a lot of young protestants who are attending “church” one, two or more nights week. Mostly, this consists of youth group activity–easy stuff–music, games, pep talk-like sermons, just hanging out together. Sure, there is not a lot of substance there, but the point is–that is where their friends are and that slowly cements itself into a church-youth community. I cannot tell you how important that is.

We need to expand our Catholic youth programs for weeknight activities. Have a Mass, then go into the meeting rooms for things like music and audio-visual fun. (NO Protestant church is without very nice AV equipment these days–and it brings a lot of kids in and keeps them coming back.

Of course, with our Catholic history, the opportunities for teaching are tremendous. This history, properly explained, absolutely grounds these kids into their faith if presented in a “young adult” atmosphere.

The proper place for fun and excitement is during the weeknights.
There is plenty of money among parishioners to help with these programs.
If properly explained, the traditional Mass with all the smells, bells, chants etc will be seen by the kids as something special and the kids will then see themselves as special amongst secular youth.


#14

if you re-create the liturgy according to your own whims, you are in a way creating a new religion. what makes a religion organized and non-pagan is that it’s doctrines, beliefs, and traditions are handed down. if you did not recieve them from someone else, what good are they? in this respect, progressives or liberals who were hell bent on refashioning our catholic faith to fit our 'modern" needs have done untold damage. look at the statistics for mass attendence etc. deep down, people are looking for something mysterious, ancient, and sacred, not banal and profane. people want a connection with the past. why in the world they removed altar rails and wreck havoc with the altar and apse is beyond me. or for that matter, mistranslate the entire roman rite into english.

this is why i belive a return to our latin traditions would do much good for our church, i.e. ad orientem, gregorian chant, kneeling to recieve the eucharist, and increased personal pieties after mass. at least eucharistic adoration is back so there is hope.


#15

[quote=montanaman] Other than Theology on Tap, what can we do to make our ancient incense-and-stone Church more “appealing” to the youth without falling into all the errors of modernism?
[/quote]

Teach them the truth about the Eucharist.

What this church had was form over substance… a bunch of guitars and cool techno gadgets…

what the Catholic Church has… GOD present on the altar.


#16

We have the Sacrifice of the Mass & the Eucharist, The Real Presence, what more can the Church offer? If that’s not good enough then , “So Long, it’s been good to know ya’”.

In the first two posts I read

  1. Rock Band in church
    2.It was “Flashy”
  2. It was a spectacle!
  3. The audio/visual had 8 screens
    5, How can the Youth be attracted?

Oh man, there was not much different than going to a Rock Concert.

The guy must think Jesus cannot compete with a ROck Concert!


#17

[quote=montanaman]The average age of the congregation was probably 22, and I’ll just say this–if I was Protestant girl shopping, this would be the place. I have never seen such a high percentage of hotties under one Church roof in my life. But that’s not the point… I’m TRYING to illustrate that this was a youth-oriented crowd. These were the “cool” Christians.

The service was pretty typical, I guess. An emotional, inspiring rock concert followed by some house-keeping details, and an excellent guest pastor who gave a funny/inspirational sermon. I was shocked at how few people had brought their own Bibles, but that really wasn’t the point.
[/quote]

Ha, ha that is a hiarious way to look at it. Protestant girl shoping.:rotfl:


#18

re:

[In the first two posts I read

  1. Rock Band in church
    2.It was “Flashy”
  2. It was a spectacle!
  3. The audio/visual had 8 screens
    5, How can the Youth be attracted?
    /QUOTE]
    The church I go to is Anglican Usage Liturgy under the Latin Rite. There were about 120 families when I started going about 10 years ago. There are about 350 families now. We are in the middle of a large expansion. The church will be increased from 200 to about 600. We started an elementary school about 9 years ago and this year we started our first freshman class for a high school. We will be adding a great each year. They wear good old fashion school uniforms with ties. The high school boys wear blazers. No plain polo shirts and khakis and look horrible after three washings. Our children attend mass every day. On Friday’s the mass is in Latin. We had 2 masses each Sunday 10 years ago. We now have four and one of them is in Latin. We have a Sunday low mass ( no music) at 730AM. The 9 AM mass is attended by many youth. We have 11 AM and the 6PM mass in Latin. Other than the low mass, we have incense, bells and altar boys that do a complete bow during the consecration. Our altar boys range in age from around 6 (they carry the boat which has the incense) to high school, college age boys and even a few older gents. Our teens have never claimed that mass is boring. On the contrary they are show so much reverence during mass that it puts some of us older people to shame. No guitars, drums, bass, etc. Old time organ (we have an excellent choirmaster) old traditional song (sorry no G&P with inclusive language songs) great children’s choir. Our school almost doubled this year to over 370 students while some other parochial schools are closing due to lack of attendance. I believe is has to be how the word is also preached. We now have two priests, and two deacons and have no need for EMHC’s. They do not hold back to calling sin a sin. Sometimes I make comments to the priests or deacons that I at times I feel like I have been hit on my head with a 2x4 because of their homilies. They are great!!! As our enrollment in school continues to grow, mass attendance also grows because according to our pastor, the kids like the mass and they make their parents take them to Sunday mass and they soon become parishioners. We know that we do not go to church on Sundays to be entertained. We go to worship our God. It’s never a case of what I get out of Mass but what to I put into it. Priests need to stop adding their own innovations and stick to the rubrics.

#19

I think that the best thing that can be done is to change the typical adult’s approach to Mass. Most adults approach Mass as an obligation, which is an attitude that is passed onto their children. I hear all of the time from my wife about how horrible the entire experience was for her growing up, and I am going to work my hardest to make sure that is not the case for my family.

When it’s time to sing, don’t just pick up the hymnal and quietly mumur the song, sing loud! One of the things I look forward to most in the Mass I attend is the voice of this older guy who usually sits behind us. I am pretty ashamed of my voice, but then it occurred to me one day that since I have no problem singing along with my favorite song on the radio, then I should have no problem singing in church. Get into the song, and sing it like you mean it.

Mass is not only worship, but a gathering of the Christian community. Get to the Church a little early and stay late so you can talk with people. What are we saying to our kids when we continually arrive late and then leave right after communion?


#20

I completely relate.

A few years ago I was a firefighter on light duty. (I’m no longer there…the injury that put me there also ended that career…and I’m very happy about that. Long story).

Anyway, I was assigned as “Fire Marshall” at an event called “Acquire the Fire” which featured some good, some hokey music, a lot of entertainment, and a pastor with a rough beginning. The Target Center was full and it was only the first night.

Anyway near the end of the night there was an alter call…and I have never witnessed this before. I can tell you that God was present and I was tearing up, which I really couldnt’ do as I was in uniform.

So I stood and watched, realizing that I was a witness to something powerfull…albiet not part of my faith. It was different than what I thought an alter call to be.

The Pastor was simply giving his long closing speech, which was very interesting. He simply asked people who were open to recieve Jesus Christ into their lives to come forward as they witnessed. It was very casual. He went on talking, with no movement. Then one person stood across the huge stadium and began making her way down the steps. Then another…and another. And I couldnt’ see the people on my end.

I was ready to go to confession and had this been a Priest I would have thrown myself at his feet and prayed for special oils in order to mimic the actions in the Bible. It was very moving, and very REAL.

As it was, a girl approached me to convert me. I told her I was Catholic and as I was in uniform couldn’t do anythign publicly. She prayed with me (I did pray silently) and honestly, I was strugglign in faith then, as wel.

(contineud -sorry)…


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