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Saturday, May 21, 2011

An Incredibly Beautiful Day Despite the Novus Ordo Accents

I attended my niece's wedding Mass at this beautiful church about a month ago. It was my first time in Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary church in Media, PA. The architecture and interior design of the church seemed to promise an equally beautiful ceremony. As a side note, it was good to see that the "remodeling" frenzy that followed Vatican II did not harm Nativity in any way.

While I was very happy for my niece Colleen, I was disappointed in the quality of the wedding Mass. Before the Mass, people stood and talked--in fact, they talked quite loudly--all over the church. Initially there was a tendency to whisper but this soon gave way to reception-like raised voices, even bursts of laughter. Gone was the traditional quiet one used to expect (before Mass) in Catholic churches. A friend told me that this is what evangelical Protestants do before the beginning of a service--they chat up a perfect storm. I felt like I was sitting in the Wilma theater in Center City before curtain time.

I'm not against saying hello to old friends and telling jokes, but isn't this what a reception is for? There's plenty of time to "get down" after the Mass.

Another disappointing thing about the Mass--besides the lackluster Novus Ordo elements that rarely ever inspire---was the homily. The priest, rather than using the pulpit to speak, stood in front of the couple and talked to them like he was chatting them up in a bar. He kept saying, "Wow, they met in Barnaby's, wow, isn't God great, wow, oh wow!"

Wow, oh wow.

I lost count of the "wow's" after a while, but the people around me in the pews--there were a few traditionalist Catholics--appeared to be wincing. The off the cuff homily was pure stream of consciousness bar talk. The only thing missing was a high five and a baseball cap.

A litany of WOW's might be okay at the reception, but do we need to hear this very dumbed down and condescending talk in the middle of Mass?

Do we?

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