I just finished skimming the thread: How long should mass last?
However, I want to pose a different question: *What should a church do when the length of mass has become such an issue that the beauty of the liturgy has gotten lost? *
Our parish's mass has lost effectiveness of being glorious.
After mass or during the week, it seems that everyone at my parish is complaining about the length of mass. So much so that it has completely replaced the past discussions about the readings and the message of the homily. Recently, we had a mass last 1 hour and 45 minutes. Typically, our masses last 1 hr and 15 minutes. There are so many factors at play, but I'll try to list a few...
*]Homilies that are never under 15 minutes and typically 20-25 minutes.
*]Priest doesn't adjust homily length when he knows that there are special announcements and presentations at the end of mass.
*]People refer to the greeting as the "mini-homily."
*]The priest reads announcements for about 10 minutes - even the typical stuff.
*]Before anyone points a finger a music, the choir stops the songs the moment the action is done (gathering ends upon priest reaching the sanctuary, offertory ends when the priest cleanses his hands, etc.)
*]After the intercessions of the people, the priest adds about 5 minutes of his prayers, sometimes they are duplicates of the prayers of the people.
Anyway, the homilies are just out of hand. It would be one thing if the priest was energetic and engaging; however, his sing-song, accent-thick, overly reverent style makes them seems twice as long as they really are. What is really frustrating is that often the first 7-10 minutes of the homily is excellent, but then the priest goes on and on to the point that the good at the beginning is outweighed by the redundancy, or subsequent themes and points. Often, we get about two to three homilies at one time. Ultimately, they are all lost.
I want to approach the priest, but his opinions and past conversations suggest that it will be very challenging to have an open conversation and to get him to be open to critical observations and suggestions for improvement. He has a habit of trumping any comment with phrases like, "I just know that [whatever he wants] is God's will." He doesn't actually say it but his persistence suggests that he thinks that he is the only one who can interpret God's will. He also, has shown discrimination towards women and arrogance laity. I don't want to go into the many examples, but lets just say that several people have talked about legal action, but chose to just go to another parish. By the way, there are more than 10 parishes within a 10-mile radius of our church. Our church is hurting both emotionally and financially. People are leaving. It is a concern. We have to take some practicality that we are competing with those other parishes for parishioners.
So, my other question...
*If you were wanting to build a persuasive argument that mass and homilies need to be crisper, how would you pitch it and how would you substantiate in research or quotable quotes, etc.? *
I've been struggling with this for a long time. I want him to be the most effective priest he can be for our parish. I see such simple actions changes that he could make to end the general mass criticisms. However, I want to present them in a way that he will hear them and honestly consider them. He loves to quote rubrics and GIRM to substantiate his preference. I am just wondering what can be offered to build a good pitch that he will take listen to.
In my mind, the simplest point that I can make is this: do you want to be effective? do you want people to listen to you? Then you need to consider making a very key change: ** Say more by saying less.**
He talks so much that the value of what he has to tell us is lost in the volume of words. People report that they "zone out" after about 8-12 minutes of his homilies. I've actually wanted to discuss some salient points that our priest made with friends, but they struggle to even recall the theme of the homily!
Sorry for my rambling. I guess I need to just get this out.
Seriously, though, I really do want suggestions and help in what to say to help him hear the suggestion.