QUAERITUR: Eating, plays in churches

From a reader:

I was in a discussion with someone about eating in the Church not necessarily at Mass AND use of the Church for plays, community events, shelter, etc.   What are the rules for behavior inside a Catholic Church?  Is there a list of such rules anywhere?  Where would one find such rules?n

In general.. don’t be eating in church.

That said, it may be in some place that church is the only place available for gatherings.

In Rome I frequented a tiny church entrusted to the Chinese.  They really had nothing other than that space for their fairly large group.  After Mass, the seats/benches were instantly pushed back, saw horses and boards and cloths produced and people brought out food they prepared at home for a large pot luck meal.   When it was done, they left they cleaned with celerity and left the place spotless and in good order.  Always.  They really had no place else to go.

But in general… don’t be eating in church. Under normal circumstances there will be a place for people to meet apart from the church.  Eat there.

Plays…

There was a medieval practice of having mystery and morality plays in church.  Eventually they were kicked outside.  Today?   I suppose the same strictures would apply to plays and other performances as would apply to concerts in churches.   There is a Vatican document on that.

The church is a sacred place.

There are sacred things, people and places.  When a church is consecrated, it is set apart for that which pertains to God.  It is not a secular building, for secular purposes.  It is the place where the sacred mysteries are celebrated.

Off the top of my head, perhaps it would be good to see, say, Murder in the Cathedral, in a cathedral.

Moses put his shoes off of his feet because he was on holy ground.  Our churches should be treated with respect.

Sadly, from the way some churches are designed and constructed, you would not know that they have any other than a secular purpose.  I have seen nicer municipal airports than what was foisted on the people as a new church.  Therefore, it does not surprise me that some people would be confused about the uses of church spaces.

Some protestants call their whole church building a “sanctuary”.  And they’ve.. well… got nothing.

We should treat our sacred spaces with the respect they require, for our own sake and that of children who learn about the sacred through our choices.

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47 Responses to QUAERITUR: Eating, plays in churches

  1. Geremia says:

    Of course we can eat God in church.

  2. Stvsmith2009 says:

    The question on eating in church reminds me of a friend in Australia speaking of people eating in her parish…during Mass. She was not happy about it at all, but the parish priest would not take any steps to put an end to it. It seems some parents were bringing their children to Mass, with soft drinks, bags of chips (potato crisps as she calls them), fast food, and more every Sunday without fail. The priest taking no action doesn’t surprise me in this case. This same priest had the crucifix taken down and placed in a closet in the sacristy, because he said that he should be the center of attention during the Mass. It seems that abuses rear their ugly heads every where.

  3. Except for rare cases (diabetics with sudden life-threatening blood sugar problems), there really isn’t much call to be eating in church. You can feed babies and children right before church, and most kids can hold out for an hour. If they can’t, you can take them out to the vestibule to eat. It really is easier for the kids to fast later, if you never let them associate church with eating Cheerios during Mass. :) It also helps your family unity, if there’s not such a total separation between kids’ food patterns and adults’. Our kids aren’t subject to fasting regulations, but they are baptized members of the Church, the same as adults are. They can be taught the simpler ways of showing respect for the house of God and Jesus’ presence.

    What I seem to remember is that on Sunday (if we hadn’t gone to church on Sunday evening), Mom would make breakfast very early, before Dad went to his United Methodist church for 8 AM services. So we were full. When he got back, we’d be dressed, and ready to go to Mass (if we were going, instead of being left at home with Dad or in the parish nursery). By the time we got back from Mass and undressed, it was time for lunch. I can never remember being hungry or thirsty at Mass as a little kid. It’s not as if we had to fast from midnight on; it was only a couple or three hours between breakfast and lunch.

    We always stopped at the water fountain before going into the main church to Mass, though. That was a big treat.

    That said, there have been times in adult life when I’ve broken out the granola bar about five seconds after departing the church building. There’s nothing that says a parent can’t bring something along, in case you need to make a break for the “Gathering Space” or the undercroft. But I’m sure you don’t feed your kids snacks every half hour at home, right? So that’s for emergencies.

  4. yatzer says:

    Back in the day, 1980′s and 90′s, I did feed my babies and little kids cheerios and raisins. The purpose was to keep them quiet, and to keep them from starting fights with each other, which was a hobby of theirs. Nobody told me this was bad form, although I can see that point now. I suspect the current crop of parents may have the same motive. Maybe some pointers on how to accomplish the goal without using food would help.

  5. Titus says:

    One of the only edifying anecdotes I’ve ever heard about Fr. Theodore Hesburgh involves eating in church. During the heady 1970s the men of one of Notre Dame’s residence halls—one notorious for its tiny living spaces—decided that if they put up a curtain around the tabernacle in the dorm chapel, they could use the space as a dining and event room. The derelict rector apparently didn’t notice or didn’t mind, and their plan proceeded apace until they held a banquet in the chapel and invited Fr. Ted. He is reported to have hit the roof, and the chapel was returned to its exclusive, proper purpose forthwith.

    Given what Hesburgh did to the basilica at ND and the rest of the university in general, I was always mildly surprised that the event made him irate. So even Hesburgh knows you don’t eat in church. (And I’ll answer shocked fellow Domers in advance: this isn’t the “torch-ND” bandwagon, it’s the “Fr. Ted-is-an-overrated-vandal” rickshaw.)

  6. cheekypinkgirl says:

    A friend of mine says that if a meeting or something secular-ish like that is held in church, then Jesus should be removed from the tabernacle into the sacristy. Anyone know if this is common practice? I’m really curious. Thanks!

  7. Supertradmum says:

    I managed to be a mom in church regularly without ever allowing cherrios (a company which supports Planned Parenthood and one we boycott) or raisins. I have never understood the need for parents to feed children during Mass. My mother had eight children and none of us ate in Mass.

    It is hard to come to Latin Mass and step on cherrios left over from the previous Mass, or worse, sit on sticky gummy bears or things left over likewise.

    As to adults eating in Mass, I also, being a member of a choir or choirs off and on since I was 12, do not understand the obsession with water bottles. I have never used one and was actually surprised at the Papal Mass in Birmingham seeing choir members drinking water. Unless one is ill or has some disease where frequent water is necessary, this seems a bit over the top.

    As to eating, dare I mention all the adults, even at Latin Mass, I see coming to church chewing gum? Why do not priests address these things from the pulpit?

  8. medievalist says:

    No eating in churches, most certainly. Cathedrals…perhaps a different matter.

    Traditionally (I’m not arguing from documents so would be open to contrary references) cathedrals, particularly medieval ones with well partitioned choirs and sanctuaries, were used for all sorts of purposes including ecclesiastical courts. Look at any Gothic or likewise-inspired cathedral without pews or furniture (which is basically a Protestant invention anyway) and it simply becomes a huge covered space. All sorts of activities took place within, some during Mass, and clergy certainly preached against them but didn’t always legislate.

    Not a Catholic example, but I’ve seen York Minster used for wine & cheese receptions (north transept), plays (Chapterhouse), and exhibits (west end of nave). Even when open for tourists, there is a very clear division between sacred spaces (many side chapels, most famously the Zouche chapel) and less sacred. An entirely enclosed sanctuary and choir helps. As the grandest public building in most medieval cities, it was probably only natural to use cathedrals for such purposes (same argument for churches in the villages). Today, when other options are available, this may not be proper, but at the same time may not be entirely unorthodox.

  9. Faith says:

    I’ve seen a couple of new churches where the main bldg. is actually a hall with an altar, used for many functions. There is a tiny Eucharistic chapel separated from this main hall. When Mass is held, a small Eucharistic procession carries the Host from the chapel to the altar. As the Host is carried down the aisle everyone kneels. It looks like dominoes.
    One example is Our Lady of Walshingham, I believe. It’s in Virginia. The other one is Betania in Medway, MA.

  10. MikeM says:

    I’m still a little young (at least by our society’s standards) for the whole having kids thing, but I’d imagine that if I were “dad,” the kids would learn to make it an hour or so without food (as much because my parents would have never thought to indulge me like that as a kid as for any other reason)… even so, I’ve never been bothered by a little kid munching on some raisins during Mass. Now, if I saw what stvsmith described at Mass, though, I would be pretty upset. Bringing fast food into church? Seriously?

    With the sort of things addressed in this post, I obviously generally support following Church regulations if they exist, but for my part I see the point as showing God the respect He’s due… If the situation makes it such that allowing a church to be used for some other purpose makes sense and doesn’t seem irreverent, it doesn’t bother me, but if it seems like the church space is being treated in a pedestrian manner, then it does.

    My parish has a yearly Christmas concert of sacred music which raises money for charity. People behave themselves, and that doesn’t bother me. On the other hand, I know of another church that seems to treat the church as an all-purpose building, and in their case, it does sort of bother me when they hold concerts.

    As for shelter, I’ve only ever heard of that in cases where there was some sort of emergency or something. In that sort of case, I don’t think Christ minds his house being opened to those in need.

  11. Stvsmith2009 says:

    My parish has an enclosed sanctuary, and after Mass, we have a fellowship hall where you can have coffee and doughnuts after Mass. I have never seen or heard of any parents bringing snacks or food for their kids during Mass. Father A would never have stood for it, and I am sure our current priest would not allow it either. I can’t imagine being at Mass at that Australian parish, and the noise from rattling chip bags, candy wrappers, or the loud slurping noise every child makes when they get to the bottom of their softdrink while drinking from a straw. That is what they are having to contend with, and it should not occur for any reason. When there is a lack of reverence for the Mass from the priest and from over indulging parents, no one should be surprised when there is no reverence for the Mass from those same children in the future, and such actions may contribute to those children later leaving the Church as well.

  12. mrsmontoya says:

    Father, thank you for posting the link to the document regarding Concerts in Churches. It addresses a situation in my own parish, and provides in one sentence the leverage necessary to have the event moved to the school auditorium: “c. Entrance to the church must be without payment and open to all.”

    I recognize the inappropriateness of what has been proposed in my situation, however my concerns will be over-ridden as not in harmony with my fellow congregants. Pointing out that we will not be able to charge admission will, I expect, be the article that stops the activity.

  13. MikeM says:

    Mrs. Montoya,

    While I don’t like it when people have to pay for events in a church (I actually wrote a rather annoyed letter… perhaps a bit to annoyed… to the Archbishop of Montreal when they tried to charge me $15 to enter a church when I was trying to go pray), I don’t actually think the document forbids that. It says that the ordinary CAN require a church to make it free, not that admission MUST be free.

    It does seem tacky to charge people for a concert in a church, though.

  14. Geremia says:

    A reverent mass with good Gregorian Chant and no joke-telling keeps the kids quiet during mass, thus not necessitating cereal, raisins, etc., for crunching on.

  15. brassplayer says:

    As to adults eating in Mass, I also, being a member of a choir or choirs off and on since I was 12, do not understand the obsession with water bottles. I have never used one and was actually surprised at the Papal Mass in Birmingham seeing choir members drinking water. Unless one is ill or has some disease where frequent water is necessary, this seems a bit over the top.
    Most folks generally don’t drink nearly as much water as they should. In fact, you should never go so long without water that you feel thirsty. So, instead of discouraging people to carry water bottles, we really should be encouraging folks to always carry water wherever they go.

    As for me, I always carry water when I cantor. Water is great for keeping the vocal chords loose, and it’s saved my voice plenty of times when I start feeling the inevitable “tickle” in my throat. I’m sure the Congregation would rather have me discretely taking little sips from my water bottle instead of coughing when leading a hymn.

  16. I must say I was rather disgruntled the one time I heard the loud crunching of crisps (potato chips) by a child not only during Mass, but right during the consecration. This was the monthly Mass said for the souls of those who had died in the parish, and obviously would have been attended by many families of recently deceased people. I can’t remember every hearing anything like that at Sunday Masses or other weekday Masses.

    I mean, if you are going to give your child food during Mass, at least make it quiet food and try to avoid eating noises during the consecration!!!

  17. Pater OSB says:

    When I was deacon in a huge parish the Saturday/Sunday Masses were all moved to the school gym so that the Church could be used for a Godspellesque Passion play. The pastor thought this most appropriate since it was a ‘religious, even a Catholic, play’. I argued that the the Mass is ‘the Real thing’ for Catholics – I was a deacon… I lost.

    To top it off the parochial vicar leaned over during the Agnus Dei at on of the Masses and told me ‘Watch this’. Then, before the Ecce, he said, “I know that getting out of the gym can cause a traffic jam after Mass, so I invite you to leave immediately after you’ve received Communion. But so that you can receive the full fruits of the Mass, I’ll now give the final blessing and dismissal.” which he did, followed by the Ecce, then Communion. All for a play in the Church – ridiculous.

  18. Re: food in church, I’m not angry about seeing it — not angry at the kids, not angry at the parents. I just want it gone. :) I realize people are trying to keep their kids quiet; but though loud kids do probably get more attention, it’s eating that’s really more of a problem.

    Re: drinking water in choir, that’s an interesting social phenomenon, that is. Once water was declared not to break the fast, a lot of choirs used to have members going in and out to the water fountain if they got tickles in their throat. It dawned on everyone that you could carry a water bottle instead. At first, the directors were relieved. Then they realized everybody has a bottle to fiddle with, instead. People seem to be getting along without the water bottle, now.

    Re: Birmingham, be gentle. Those choir folks had been up since the middle of the night, traveled on buses, and had security regs keeping them from fulfilling many basic needs. They probably really really needed a water bottle that day.

  19. Re: “more of a problem”, in the historical traditions of the Church. Noisy adults have always been a pain in the butt, but eating not so much. :)

  20. Gaz says:

    So many things to say about this post. What do I begin with?

    Choristers should be allowed water during Mass. I’m planning to take water next week – I’m a bit nervous because it’s my first time singing in this church, and it’s the first time singing the propers on my own for the EF Mass (I’m hoping to quadruple the size of the choir by Epiphany). Please pray for me.

    Yes, I have seen the Blessed Sacrament removed from the tabernacle to the sacristy for concerts in our Cathedral. I think it’s a good practice. What this does is it marks, even when the concert is noble religious music, that the concert is not the normal use of a Cathedral.

    Keeping the kids quiet with chips during Mass is a bad idea. Much better to let them scream. I said quietly to one of the nine year old servers a couple of weeks ago (OF) that a young child up the back shouting “Aaaaaaaaaa” was just short of getting out a full “Amen”. During a recent EF Mass, one young ‘un let it rip as early as “Et clamor meus ad te veniat” during the prayers at the foot of the altar. Completely fitting, this, I reckon.

    It wasn’t that long ago that I had to eat in a church. I didn’t like it and mentioned as much to the Parish Priest. The trouble was that it was the practice session for my daughter’s First Holy Communion – it was a week-night after all the after-school activities and such – neither she nor I had eaten and time was getting on. We were going to be there for another hour so we ate our chinese take-away in the third pew and it tasted great. I can’t remember any other time that I’ve done this – I hope never to need to again.

  21. stpetric says:

    The last few years I’ve noticed a few beginning to bring a bottle of water with them to Mass. If they have some kind of medical condition which requires constant access to water, OK … but I don’t think that’s the case for any of the people I’ve seen. The casual informality of it seems completely inappropriate, but I can’t really identify a theological objection to it.

  22. stpetric says:

    For myself, brassplayer (and it’s nothing personal), I’d rather not have cantors “leading hymns”. Why do hymns need to be “led”? Why aren’t cantors in the loft at the back of the church, out of the view of the congregation? Cantors in the front of the church, waving their arms around, is one of the silliest fruits of the Second Vatican Council.

  23. I’m not sure that ‘leading a hymn’ implies that brassplayer was up at the front in view of the people waving his arms around…. One can lead a hymn from the back of the church and with minimal movement of the arms. I could be wrong, but I certainly didn’t understand it in the sense you did.

    For myself, I always carry water everywhere, even when going out for half an hours walk. I do tend to get very thirsty and uncomfortable, and sometimes a bit dizzy and nauseous or just weaker (on top of a fatigue condition) if I’m not able to drink on those occasions, though it would probably be true to say that it is a medical problem.

    For choirs, though, I would think it is quite natural to have access to water. A long stretch of polyphony and chant for a solemn Mass tends to make people with less of a ‘drinking problem’ than me appreciate a sip of water, and I’m not sure it would do the sound quality a lot of good to ban this even for healthy people.

  24. pelerin says:

    stpetric has hit the nail on the head so to speak by referring to the ‘casual informality’ of eating or drinking during Mass. It would have been unthinkable forty years ago. I have seen children brought to Mass with colouring books, felt tipped pens (often waved about like swords!) baskets of toys and left to play in the pew. All more examples of casual informality. I soon stopped going to the Children’s Mass at my previous parish particularly as the ‘liturgy’ geared for children made me feel that it was not a ‘proper’ Mass. Yes I know it was – or hoped it was – but that never stopped me feeling empty on the few occasions I had to attend.

    Regarding concerts in a church – I note from the link provided that they are not supposed to be held in the sanctuary. I attended one last year where the solo harpist did indeed sit in the sanctuary and in front of the altar. I had wondered before entering whether I should genuflect before taking a seat! However, being a very modern church, the Blessed Sacrament was nowhere to be seen. so i took my place as if in a concert hall. It did seem odd hearing the rousing applause for the musician in such surroundings.

    A couple of years ago I attended an illustrated talk in a chapel where the screen for the slides was placed on the altar itself. Nobody around me seemed to think this wrong. And I once attended a Mass where on leaving there were trestle tables set up at the back of the church and everyone was offered a drink and invited to stay and chat. I forget the event but it could have been the Feast of the patron of the parish. The church was very large and I found it hard to believe that they did not have a parish hall in which to have the celebration rather than the back of the church.

  25. profcarlos says:

    In the Brazilian countryside, there are plenty of small chapels everywhere. A few decades ago, Protestant sects began to appear, too, and some imitate the architecture of real churches. Nevertheless, it is always easy to recognise a Catholic chapel: all of them have some (usually small) building by the side, for any non-liturgical event. The small chapels usually have Mass only once in a while, but the patron saint will always have a huge festival (usually 3-9 days, with music, food, drinks, dances, etc., ending with a solemn Mass on the Saint’s feast). The small side buildings will hold food stalls and such during the festivities. When a marriage is celebrated in a countryside chapel, the party aftwerwards will be there, too.

  26. Fr. Basil says:

    All sorts of things get blessed and eaten in the church in the Byzantine tradition: fruit, bread, wine, kollyva, dried fruit (on Holy Saturday).

    But they are not eaten during the services (Office or Liturgy), with the exception of the special sweet bread blessed during an All-Night Vigil.

  27. poohbear says:

    I can’t imagine, except for serious health reasons, anyone not being able to go an hour without drinking water. We are at Mass to spend the hour with God, but, like the apostles in the Garden, we cannot watch one hour with Him who thirsted on the cross.

  28. Curmudgeon says:

    Funnily enough, I was counting money at our parish festival last night with our twenty something crowd. (Who grew up in the 80′s and 90′s.) Someone began talking about a suburban parish that was selling sticky buns before mass precisely so that parents could buy them to feed to their children during mass! (Makes cheerios seem pristine by comparison, doesn’t it?) They all agreed that as children you went to mass and *paid attention!* No food in the pews.

    Now, maybe they were raised by the kind of parents who knew this and produced young adults who think it is a good thing to volunteer for the parish fundraiser. So, perhaps a minority. But, it evidently was possible to have a child coached to behave in church in the last decades without food bribes.

  29. MikeM says:

    Curmudgeon,
    I fall on the younger end of that age group, and I never had food, drinks, coloring books, or toys at Mass. I don’t know how my parents dealt with any screaming I might have done when I was really little, but from as early as I can really remember, any noise-making I would have done would have been met with punishment. I was expected to stand when it was time to stand, sit when it was time to sit…

    I don’t remember feeling like that was an abnormal expectation at the time. I don’t know when parents got the idea that their kids needed special entertainment at Mass.

  30. Clinton says:

    Would you bring snacks or a water bottle to a court appearance? To a meeting with the CEO
    of your company? To an audience with the Queen? If not, why not?

    To my mind, I doesn’t make sense to show Our Lord, our Judge and King, less respect than I would
    accord a merely human judge or ruler.

    Besides, I just can’t imagine a papal liturgy with the Holy Father or any of the other participants
    packing a water bottle or a baggie of cheerios. Makes me think there’s a reason for that.

  31. RichardT says:

    So it’s fiction (and protestant), but Thomas Hardy has a warning about choirs drinking whilst on duty:
    http://www.classicreader.com/book/1281/33/

  32. Re: coloring books

    I do remember having picture books in church on occasion, although usually it was a matter of amusing oneself with the Missalette or nothing. (It’s a real advantage for a Catholic kid to learn to read early….) Babies had quiet toys, usually stuffed animals or the like. Once you weren’t a baby anymore, not so much. Of course, there were always holy cards and prayer cards to collect, and to keep in your prayerbook when you got one at First Communion.

    Maybe a nice service project would be to make soft fabric books with church-appropriate traced pictures and simple words, and using tough but non-toxic materials. I think little kids would like to have their own books for church, and fabric isn’t noisy if you hit the pew with it or drop it on the floor. :)

  33. AnAmericanMother says:

    LOL! That’s a great Hardy piece, ran across it while reading about the old gallery choirs.

  34. AnAmericanMother says:

    Quite a number of people in our choir carry water bottles – especially the older folks who tend to get dry throats while singing. We are in the choir loft in the back, so nobody can see us and be distracted or given a bad example, except the folks who hurry in late and hide upstairs. Tough for them.

    I don’t carry a water bottle myself, but I DO carry a tiny spray bottle of “Singer’s Saving Grace” which is an herbal preparation/throat tonic. If we are chanting everything it comes in handy. I also carry a large bag of music, cough drops, offering envelopes and the iPhone with iPieta installed . . . my dad says that we all travel like Coxey’s Army, or the Duchess of Windsor with 39 trunks.

  35. AnAmericanMother says:

    Not only did we bring water bottles to a court appearance, the bailiff filled the water pitchers on counsel tables for us, the jury had water pitchers and glasses, and the judge had a pitcher and a glass on the bench. I don’t think I ever saw a courtroom without water provided. They even have it at the appellate courts.

    There is a lot of talking going on in court, and it makes everybody dry. The jury gets water although they don’t need to talk, because it makes them thirsty to watch the lawyers and the judge guzzling away.

    Unfortunately, unlike the judge and bailiff in The Magic Pudding, no port has ever been involved anywhere.

  36. Angelika says:

    If the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is really a re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ on Golgotha, we should behave at Mass just as we would standing beneath the Cross with the Blessed Mother. Christ suffered thirst (among all the other things) while He was hanging there for us. So why do we think we should be so comfortable at Mass?

  37. brassplayer says:

    With all due respect, with this logic, we would probably have to ban chanting during the Service as well. I can’t really imagine the Faithful were doing much singing while they were standing beneath the Cross.

  38. brassplayer says:

    Cantors in the front of the church, waving their arms around, is one of the silliest fruits of the Second Vatican Council.

    No worries, stpetric. I stand wherever my Pastor tells me to stand. That can either be at the front of the Church, the side of the Church, the back of the Church, or the In-and-Out down the block. It’s definitely not about me.

  39. Mass is a re-presentation of Golgotha, and it’s a re-presentation of the Last Supper, but all of those re-presentations are taking place in Heaven simultaneously as on Earth as Jesus the High Priest brings His offering and ours to the Holy of Holies. It’s also a serious foretaste of both Heaven and eternal life in the New Jerusalem. You can even bring up the Annunciation, since we briefly carry Jesus within us when we receive Communion. So comfort and suffering, splendor and squalor, priesthood and victimhood and reigning in Heaven… the action of Mass is not held to any one facet of Salvation.

    It’s easier to pay attention to Mass if you’re not in exceptional discomfort. But if bad stuff happens, generally it’s better to offer it up if it can’t be discreetly relieved. There’s no shame in relieving discomfort, though, and especially we should look out for the comfort of our old or frail parishioners. A little discomfort for us might be agonizing for them.

    It might be easier for parishioners to overlook the failings of others if priests would give a little more policy guidance about these things. I mean, I’m sure there are Catholics out there who have no clue that they’re supposed to fast, or only the vaguest ideas about it.

    It’s best to hydrate before Mass. It takes hours to get water to your cells. But… whether it’s smart or not… it is allowed under current fasting regs. And yeah, giving choirs access to water is smart, because it’s better to have somebody take a discreet swig or a run to the water fountain than have the 40,000 coughing choristers upstairs or the person with health problems not going to Mass.

    But in general, water is more something to have access and not use, than to use; it just works better if you don’t have water bottles everywhere and people slugging away in the middle of Mass.

  40. Andy Milam says:

    Clinton,

    You’ve obviously never been to World Youth Day then. During the Papal liturgies, one can see any number of various and sundry things, including whole groups of people having “lunch in the park.” This is another reason why I am so opposed to the “Mega-Mass” genre in general when it comes to Papal (or any other) Liturgies.

    As far as court goes, I have actually taken in a granola bar and bottled water with me when I knew that I was going to be a witness in a misdemeanor (hit and run) case I knew that we were not on the docet first. It happens.

  41. Andy Milam says:

    Hi Suburban Banshee,

    Ya know, you make a good point about the current fasting regs. While we have to respect those, there is nothing that says we can’t adhere to prior ones. As a general matter of practice, I usually follow the midnight rule, but there is nothing that says I can’t or shouldn’t.

    I have a whole group of friends who follow the same protocol, to various degrees. It really becomes a good way of practicing mortification.

  42. brassplayer: Can you not? I can.

  43. irishgirl says:

    This past summer I went to a presentation of a DVD movie about St. Padre Pio in a small parish in the north country of New York. It was shown in the church. I didn’t like it being shown there because the Blessed Sacrament was not removed from the tabernacle and put in the sacristy. It would have been better if it was shown in the parish center where the refreshments were served.

    Needless to say, I did not return the next week for Part 2 of the video.

  44. Cricket says:

    Very mixed emotions about “concerts” in Catholic churches. Even with Jesus removed from the Tabernacle (& the Sanctuary candle snuffed out) I’ve seen plenty of abuses.

    I was privileged to attend a “Festival of 9 Lessons and Carols” at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago a couple of Advents ago. The good Canons Regular heard confessions throughout the “performance.” There were long lines of people outside the confessionals, too! This established just the right tone of reverence.

  45. AnAmericanMother says:

    Our church is in high demand for concerts because of the marvelous acoustics.

    The sanctuary lamp is extinguished and Christ is removed from the Tabernacle.

    I’ve also noticed that the concerts that are permitted are either of a frankly sacred character (we’ve hosted several touring Catholic choirs including an absolutely fabulous one from LSU) or what you might call ‘serious’ classical music (chamber concerts, ancient music, etc.) Nothing inappropriate or frivolous, certainly not raucous or abusive.

  46. AnAmericanMother says:

    Gaz,

    Prayers and break a leg. Once you get going you will do fine — it’s the worrying beforehand that is the worst.

  47. SSHC says:

    One issue I haven’t seen addressed here is accessibility. Our parish buildings are old and so are most of the parishioners. All events and meetings are held in the fellowship hall which is in the basement of the school. There are many steep steps and no elevator available. Thus, the elderly and the disabled are excluded from almost everything that goes on in the parish except for the Mass. They can’t attend Bible studies, catechism classes, board meetings, etc. Elderly/disabled people can’t attend RCIA.

    Our priest says we don’t have the money to install an elevator. I say, in that case, perhaps we should ask the Archbishop for permission to use the church itself, perhaps the back half of the church, for parish events so that they can be inclusive. It’s so sad to see members who literally built the church be excluded from the life of the church.

    What else can we do? I’m open to suggestions.