Monday, October 02, 2006

Teach The Children Well
That seems to be what Eric is suggesting on the thread below where we touch on the notion of prestige in liturgical roles. It might be that my no-nonsense approach with elitists has alienated them (or me) from their influence without my realizing it. I have no patience for liturgical popinjays. I've known kids from "pillar of the parish" families who expected that like their elder siblings or parents, they would be altar servers. But if they don't show up when scheduled, they don't get Christmas, Triduum, funerals, school Masses, Bishop Finn, or other plum assignments. They don't stay on the roster either. If I play favorites, it would be with kids (or adults) who have a true sense of service. They don't feel they are entitled to their role. Their prayerfulness, commitment, and earnestness gains the notice of adults--hence they get asked for special events. Like Eric, I think that some clergy are poor liturgical role models for lay people, including altar servers. I don't see the new breed of young conservative clergy are any improvement over Father Open Mike's liturgical comedy coup. People are involved in liturgical leadership because of God's grace. Not because they've earned it through ordination, education, family connection, wealth, or anything of their own doing, other than perhaps simple cooperation with God's will. Over the years, a few people have quietly defected from my rosters of liturgical ministers. I don't doubt that I've unknowingly stepped on a few toes. Some people may well have had expectations other than service and good liturgy. So long as such attitudes don't get in the way, that kind of ownership is not a bad place to start. I once had a college student tell me her main motivation to be a EM was to check out the cute guys. As long as people are open to spiritual growth and development, I trust that God can work with any initial attitude and turn it around. I don't know why I don't see more elitism. It must be there, but where I've served, I must have a combination of the best parishes with people with the best mindsets, or it just doesn't get anybody anywhere.

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