Sunday, December 02, 2007

The More Things Change ....

You know the rest. The more they remain the same. For the first time in 20 years I attended Catholic Mass. Now, you have to understand, I have never opposed the Catholic church in my 20 years as a Protestant youth pastor. I always sought to help others understand. So, what did I learn from my field trip today?

What I enjoyed...

-I enjoyed the stripped down version of church. The focus of mass was Christ. Not the priest, preacher, worship team, etc. it was Jesus.
-I did not go to confession, which I plan on doing, so I did not receive communion. It kind of felt anti-climatic. So, next time I go I'll have my stuff up to date.
- I did enjoy watching others take communion and watching the rhythm of community.
-I enjoyed the creeds once more. I was rusty but I hung in there.
-I enjoyed getting out of church in one hour.
-I enjoyed the straight forward homily.

What I missed....

-talking with people I knew.
-oddly, not filling out a visitor card.
-also oddly not being approached by some kind of welcome team.
-Someone asking me to open my Bible
-Three -5 points message.
- A passionate appeal for prayer and salvation

Well, I think that it is it for now. I shall inform you of further adventures as they unfold.


1 comment:

Eric Bateman said...

Thanks for checking out my blog. I did as you asked and checked out your blog entries (I also checked out a lot of your earlier entries also). I am glad you went to Mass again. As you found out, the Catholic Mass is rich with Christ, the focus from the readings, homily and the Eucharist is all on Jesus, with a lot of the Mass taken from the book of Revelation. I am also glad you didn't take communion and that you want to go to confession. When you do go to confession, you may want to let the priest know a head of time that you haven't been a Catholic for 20 years, he can maybe arrange to have a longer time and also maybe talk with you about your beliefs. To receive communion at a Catholic Mass, not only do you have to go to confession, but you need to totally believe that what you are receiving is the body of Christ. That can be a hard thing for Protestants. The priest can or should be able to work with you to see if you are ready for that.
As for what you missed, some Catholic parishes do give out visitor cards (my parish does) and we also do a welcoming at the beginning of Mass. As for the Bible, Catholic belief is that the parishioners will listen to the readings more with their heart and spirit if they just hear them proclaimed instead of reading them. I don't know what the three -5 message is. Depending on the readings, the priest's homily can have a passionate appeal for prayer and salvation, I have been at Catholic Masses that have done that.
I see from your blog that you are devoted to youth ministry and the best youth ministry for Catholics is LifeTeen (when it is done correctly). My parish does LifeTeen right and it is geared for the youth with the charismatic praise type of music and homilies done with teens in mind. Also LifeTeen encourages youth to be ministers at the Mass and they have youth ministry activities after the Mass. You may want to see if there is a LifeTeen Mass near you.
May God bless you on your journey with Catholicism. There are some great books out about Protestants that converted (and sometimes converted back) to Catholicism - one of the best is Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn, but others that have smaller conversion stories are the Surprised by Truth series.
I will be checking back with your blog to read about your further adventures. If you want to contact me privately, my email address is ericjbateman at hotmail dot com.

PS. I thoroughly enjoyed your frank writings about youth ministry, us Catholics have not done youth ministry very well for a long time (maybe not ever) and it is interesting to see what protestants think about how they are doing with this important ministry.

Eric Bateman (San Jose, CA)