Eucharistic FLASH MOB – WDTPRS POLL

Please watch this whole video before reacting.  Then think about it for a few minutes before reacting.

A Franciscan priest and a small group with him took it to the streets and staged a Eucharistic Flash Mob.

What do you all think of this for urban centers in wealthy countries?

I think something like this needs some care to preserve proper reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.  I am not sure how this squares with liturgical law, involvement with the local bishop, etc.

But… if those things can be worked through…

Does this fit with the New Evangelization?

Is this what we need to do?

Let’s have a WDTPRS POLL.

Please choose your best answer along this short scale and leave a comment in the combox.

IMPORTANT: I ask that you allow everyone else to have their say.  Don’t attack other people’s opinions.  Let’s aim for the high road in the combox.

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UPDATE:

The Franciscan priest who organized this describes how he did this. Here.

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127 Responses to Eucharistic FLASH MOB – WDTPRS POLL

  1. priests wife says:

    maybe if there were a few Knights around to protect the Eucharist

    I found the young guy in the backpack crossing the circle directly in front of the Eucharist without care so sad…but in general I think the idea is beautiful—especially with a monk exposing the Eucharist

  2. Charles E Flynn says:

    The charism of Saint Francis of Assisi is alive in this brave priest.

    At the Prudential Center in Boston, the Oblates of the Virgin Mary staff the St. Francis Chapel. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed whenever the chapel is open and mass is not being celebrated. The monstrance is flanked by six candles in gorgeous ruby red glass and gold holders. I sometimes wonder what passersby think when they see Catholics enter the chapel and genuflect.

  3. patrick_f says:

    This is exactly the type of thing we should be doing, Provided the reverence is there – The way the good friars went about this, is a powerful witness

    Look at how the people stopped, and knelt…I am trying not to shed tears looking at the beauty here. To do something like this now adays, both the friars, and those who stopped their life to kneel before the Risen Lord, what better witness can there be?

    You see the people not kneeling, not noticing…walking by, I think its important not to judge them – Coming to Christ is a choice, thats why we have free will, so we can freely choose to follow – That is true love of the Eucharist. There is Knowing, and there is Believing – One involves choice.

  4. mzanghetti says:

    I think it would provide an opportunity of grace for people that might not otherwise spend some time in adoration.

  5. BLB Oregon says:

    It is an intriguing idea, it is a bold idea, but I have certain reservations.

    It would depend on the country and whether the local populace could experience it without an emotionally violent push-back. I guess I have too much experience with the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” of the Bay Area in California to be entirely comfortable that a reverent reception could be taken for granted. Perhaps more to the point: Could the faithful of the locale take it for granted that the opportunity being presented was honest and valid?

    The Church has some very angry impersonators. It is hardly uncommon for her to be attacked via satire. I’d not want to either play into that or pour salt on the wound. Still, this is within the discernment of the local ordinary. It could happen, and it could conceivably be a very good thing. A bad outcome, though….that has the chance to be VERY VERY BAD.

  6. chcrix says:

    I agree that I would be more comfortable if there were some MIB’s there. I don’t think that one should expose the presence without at least some ability to attempt to protect it from insult. If that is not deemed appropriate, I would say don’t take the host with you.

    That said, it is not to my taste and it would not have reached me. But I have learned that there are as many ways to an (admittedly limited) understanding of God as there are individuals on the face of the earth.

    I think the new Evangelization needs to be of a flexible nature – to reach out to many. Perhaps a survey of those who returned or were adult converts would tell us what works and what doesn’t. Or perhaps it would show us why so many weren’t being reached.

  7. birgit says:

    Although the basic idea itself has much merit, I find the concept of putting Jesus into a gym bag and walking off with Him disturbing. I envision something more along the lines of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcJw0dHaMh4&feature=autoshare

  8. Alex S. says:

    I think a more formally organized event, like a Eucharistic procession, could have the same evangelical effect of witness while better safeguarding the dignity of the Blessed Sacrament. I don’t think there was anything undignified about this particular presentation, but I keep thinking of ways that it could have gone wrong.

    I couldn’t also help but think that as a faithful Catholic, I might be a tad shocked or confused at walking out of the mall and seeing the Blessed Sacrament right in front of me. Almost as though it would be nice to be warned if I’m about to encounter the Real Presence.

  9. Bryan Boyle says:

    @Charles Flynn: I don’t know (or care) what the world thinks…if the Blessed Sacrament was exposed in a public chapel, and available for adoration…genuflect, kneel, pull out the rosary…maybe, just maybe, someone unchurched/on the wrong road/non-believer will be touched by the Holy Spirit and come in and ask “Why?” If folks won’t come to you…well, maybe we have to bring it to THEM.

    (Said in all Christian compassion. I was taught in ROTC and leadership courses you can’t lead from behind. And we can’t lead by NOT setting an example. I’m thinking we need a little more in-your-face Catholicism and less retiring-s0-we-don’t-offend action, you know?….:) Maybe that’s why St. Paul was my Confirmation saint…)

  10. Jack Hughes says:

    I think this had the horrible look of being staged but pretending to be a spontanious event.

    I would prefer a procession with great reverence, full canopy carried by servers in cassock and cotta and sacred music (I’m assuming this is allowed in processions of the Blessed Sacrament). Like the reverently celebrated Mass You attended Father which full of beauty drew you into the Church, maybe a similar display could touch the souls of these people

    Whilst I appreciate the sentiments of the Fransiscans in question I don’t think their style worked well with the people of preston, too simliar to prot street preachers

  11. Thomas in MD says:

    Very little makes me cry. I am a hard man. But this made me cry. This is a great idea.

  12. ppb says:

    The better way to do this is to have a true Eucharistic procession through the streets. This method strikes me as too informal.

  13. Ummm. I have my doubts. A proper procession would give a better idea of the reverence due to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. I felt that the friar ought to have had a humeral veil… and as for “reposing” Our Lord in the hold-all, well that was horrible! An example of what could have gone wrong is when that young woman came and grabbed the friar’s shoulder at the end… it looked as if she was thanking him, but it could have been otherwise…

  14. Mike says:

    I liked what was read–excellent. I think it’s a bit on the “casting pearls before swine”, as the Eucharistic Lord is the pearl of great price.

    So many people today are imprisoned by the senses, by false philosophies, that they can’t see with the eyes of Faith what is before them.

    Still, I’m not totally opposed, but have reservations. Obviously, the friars’ intent is solid.

  15. Titus says:

    I think a more formally organized event, like a Eucharistic procession, could have the same evangelical effect of witness while better safeguarding the dignity of the Blessed Sacrament.

    I am tempted to agree: the OFM simply standing there with the monstrance is a bit incongruous. If he had walked up with a few people, pulled a canopy and a humeral veil out of the bag, and started a procession, that would have been something to see. (Not that this wasn’t something to see: I think that would have been better.)

  16. SK Bill says:

    After a day of reading about all sorts of anti-Christian, anti-Catholic goings-on, this video is just what I needed. There are many ways that something similar could be done, even in hostile locations. Effective witness doesn’t require the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

    The beauty of a Flash mob is that it materializes quickly, does its job, and fades into anonymity. As long as it is not overdone and is totally unpredictable, it will succeed. When public acts similar to this one are no longer effective, we can do something else. We could all find ways to be Frank Sheed from time to time.

  17. MarkJ says:

    I would like to have seen two traditionally garbed altar boys with candles and another with a censer. A couple of Knights wouldn’t be bad either, for protection and honor. But all-in-all, I was very moved by what this monk did, and I do think we need to reclaim the public square for Our Lord. In a lot of modern cities, there is no city center dominated by a Church… I have often thought that the Church should lease space in malls and other places of modern commerce for a Eucharistic Chapel with adoration and Confession – again, taking the Lord out to meet the people where they congregate. Jesus needs to be proclaimed and honored and defended and worshiped PUBLICLY. Think of the martyrs and their heroic witness for Christ…

  18. BarefootPilgrim says:

    Unutterably beautiful.

  19. Stephen says:

    This is basically like a procession but in place. I like it.

  20. AnAmericanMother says:

    I’m for it.

    I personally would have liked to have seen altar boys, canopy, knights, candles . . .

    But this just seems very Franciscan . . . and these men are taking it to the streets. Now.

    If we want to do it in a more formal way . . . then we better get organized and get out there and DO it. Time to criticize when we’ve started a procession of our own.

  21. JP Borberg says:

    I think it’s a great idea. Sure, don’t do it in a place where it could go bad, but the English are pretty polite, right?

    As for doing a procession instead, this is something quite different. I think they both have their place.

    Oh, and didn’t St Francis do something similar with the Blessed Sacrament and a donkey?

  22. Inkstain says:

    I feared worse but I still have some reservations regarding this (meaning no disrespect to those involved in this particular effort)

    I think this is the sort of thing that can easily be taken in the wrong direction, and to those it is trying to reach it might instill some confusion over what is proper reverence. They might have problems in distinguishing something like what happened here with puppets and balloons (to use a more extreme example for the purpose of discussion, I am certainly not equating the above effort with puppets and balloons). The thing with the staged applause seemed a bit much.

    I guess my concern comes down to the belief that efforts to evangelize by appealing to society *tend* to cheapen what is intended to be shared.

  23. dep says:

    Yes, it certainly does bring a tear to the eye, in a very good way. The words — exquisite — and the image of the monk holding the precious Eucharist aloft were more than enough to do that. But there is so much more here. I found myself praying a bit for those who passed by, and saw hope in those who paused for a minute. Perhaps a seed was planted in them, and perhaps it will take root. For that we can and must pray.

    In many places, alas, anyone doing this would need to bring lawyers along. And expect protests and shouting. Which makes it even more worth doing.

  24. Fr. Basil says:

    First off, the music at the beginning is what so many people here complain about when it’s played at an Ordinary Form Mass. Why is it acceptable here?

    Next, there is the impropriety of simply pulling the Holy Mysteries out of a bag and exposing them to the gaze of all and sundry, including the uninstructed and unbelievers and inattentive. Was the possibility of a mentally ill person or hater of God attacking the priest and desecrating the Holy Gifts ever considered?

    The message about Jesus throughout the Bible was good, but it would have been just as effective–and more closely following the examples of the ancient evangelists and missionaries–had he simply held up a large, beautiful Crucifix, maybe of Christ the King.

  25. marthawrites says:

    I voted “I have my doubts” because the opportunity for disrespect is so right there. And I was turned off by the clapping. But the experience of suddenly encountering the Body of Christ in the marketplace is quite stunning and would make those who walked by as well as those who stopped to kneel consider its implications for the rest of the day, I would hope. I, too, liked the recitation, but I would have been more at ease with some protection provided for the priest and his monstrance.

  26. digdigby says:

    It is quite risky, I would not want to take responsibility for a really dreadful profanation. All it would take is one angry atheist.

  27. WaywardSailor says:

    On the whole, this is a fantastic idea. I was particularly moved by those who clearly just happened upon the scene, recognized what was happening and dropped to their knees. Since the concept of a flash mob presupposes some organization, however minimal, a core of people who could lead the Divine Praises/O Salutaris to conclude the Exposition, rather than mere applause, would help to demonstrate that something sacred is taking place as opposed to the street theater which is common to such venues. I also echo the comments of others that a group of Knights of Columbus (four would be a good number) for protection of the Blessed Sacrament is a necessity.

  28. Charles E Flynn says:

    I understand and fully sympathize with the inclination to add more to the scene, to increase both reverence and protection. But everything added to this scene is for the uninformed passerby or the lapsed Catholic a possible distraction from its focus, the Eucharist. As for protection, Jesus knew the risks He was taking when He instituted the Eucharist.

    There is a saying to the effect that “If I believed what the Catholics believe about the Eucharist, I would crawl on my hands and knees for miles to get to it.” If anyone of you know more than Google does about the origins of this expression, please post it. In some variants, the Eucharist is described as “the Creative Principle of the Entire Universe”, as in “He through Whom all things were made”.

  29. kelleyb says:

    Beautiful idea. I wish the core group could have been larger to encircle and protect and adore. Our pastor has a Eucharist precession on Corpus Christi, which is beautiful. Two miles through the suburban landscape along a well traveled artery.
    Several years ago, I read an article that recounter thestory of a urban priest saying Mass in a crime infested area of a major city. I remember little about the story. I was in awe of the faith exhibited by the priest by taking Jesus to the neediest area of his city, reclaiming the territory for Christ. Does anyone remember where?

  30. LorrieRob says:

    I voted “pretty good idea” and in truth that is most likely a function of my natural personal reserve…it is certainly a very interesting idea and perhaps a great idea….I was moved by the video…in its simplicity and almost haunting quality calling passers by to acknowledge Truth…step out of the ordinary…interesting…

  31. Great idea! It could be tweeked a bit; someone suggested Knights for protection and that is a good idea. I got choked up watching the people that knew this was Jesus, especially the little child in the yellow hoodie. She was very reverent.

    As I watched the video I thought about the times Jesus went into towns among many different peoples, believers and non-believers. How many, who just gazed upon Him were converted. A seed was planted just at the sight of Him, or from His gaze at them. The Asian girl seemed to be in deep thought; it appears something touched her. Just my two cents

  32. Excellent idea. I’d change the music, MAYBE. But maybe not.

  33. medievalist says:

    I agree that there are risks to this, but the one who profanes the Blessed Sacrament takes that upon himself. The benefits, however, are innumerable. If just a single soul turns to God on account of this…

  34. Schiavona says:

    My mind says this is not wise, but my heart says this is just the right sort of foolish, as in ‘fool for Christ’. Go, Capuchins!

  35. Irene says:

    As a revert, I can say this would have affected me greatly and very possibly brought me back to the Church much sooner.

  36. Charles E Flynn says:

    @semperficatholic,

    I, too, was struck by the reaction of the Asian woman.

    I thought of the delightful and reverent Asian woman who is sacristan of the Saint Francis Chapel at the Prudential Center in Boston, of the many Japanese women who participate in the Japanese tea ceremony without, perhaps, knowing that the idea that the clean-up should be part of the ritual itself came from the observations of Sen No Riyku when he saw the mass celebrated by his friend, Saint Francis Xavier, and the Japanese teenage girls who buy luxury leather goods at the Prudential Center, and then sit on marble benches in public while trying to buff out extremely minor imperfections in the leather goods, with sad expressions that suggest nobody told them what is important in life. God bless them all.

  37. Charivari Rob says:

    I’m somewhere between “pretty good” and “great”. I voted “great”.

    I would’ve felt better if he had a proper, hard shell, molded inside carrying case in his tote bag.

    I think this event was purposefully different than a “regular” Eucharistic procession and may have benefited by being so. I think that in a lot of cities these days, the reaction to a regular procession would be (a) “There go the Catholics”, (b) “Hey – I’ve got the green light but I can’t turn ’cause their procession is crossing the street. How much longer will they be in the way?”, and/or (c) “They’ve got a traffic cop? Are my taxes paying for that?” This exercise seems structured to draw peoples’ attention, to draw them in – to interest and engage people who are not already Catholic and involved.

    Birgit, I loved the NYC clip, though it’s more of a montage of many events than an actual single procession. It is a pretty impressive ad, though.

    Charles E. Flynn, I love the chapel at the Pru. It is indeed a little slice of beauty in the world.

  38. William says:

    Appalling.

  39. Cristero says:

    Ineffable.
    Some protection from Knights, and a case for the Monstrance, but…

    Ineffable.

  40. WaywardSailor says:

    “If I believed what the Catholics believe about the Eucharist, I would crawl on my hands and knees for miles to get to it.”

    A Franciscan priest who comes home from Honduras every summer to my parish used that saying in one of his sermons several years ago, substituting “through broken glass” instead of “for miles”. That small part of a simple sermon from a simple priest was the catalyst which pushed me to return to receiving the Blessed Sacrament on my knees. I can’t help but think that every time a simple public Exposition like this took place that the sight of ordinary people on their knees in public adoration would be the catalyst for some soul to find the Faith, return to the Faith or deepen his Faith.

  41. mrsmontoya says:

    The guest on Imaculate Heart Radio this morning (I think it was Catholic Answers) addressed something pretty much similar today. Assuming the friar is a consecrated religious, then it is licit for him to transport the monstrance, and with permission from the bishop, it can be adored in public. At least that is my understanding.

  42. sejoga says:

    I have two thoughts on this:

    1) I think the idea of a Catholic Flash Mob is actually quite good, but it should leave out the Eucharist specifically. Perhaps something more along the lines of a priest walking out and starting a rosary and people “randomly” walking by pulling out their rosaries and joining him. This particular practice, with the Eucharist, seems to reinforce the lack of respect for Our Lord in the Sacrament that we already see. I can’t help but wonder how many of the people who have joined the priest in this stunt can’t be bothered to attend private adoration.

    Maybe it’s uncharitable of me, but I feel like this smacks of Matthew 6:5–”And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogue and on the street corners to be seen by men. I suppose that could be the case with a rosary or other public exhibition as well, but at least then there’s less inherent sacrilege in the hypocrisy. However, the idea of a public demonstration of this sort I think could be very well put to use as a tool for evangelization.

    2) If there is a desire for a public exhibition of the Sacrament specifically, it would be best simply to organize a true procession and advertise it and educate people about it, rather than just springing it on them. Catholics could organize it with the permission of their local city or neighborhood council, thus getting some kind of “protection” for their procession, such as blocked traffic ways or even police protection (in order to prevent any kind of backlash from those who likely find this offensive or idolatrous).

    In the event that city officials try to prohibit a public procession, then by all means, take to the streets anyway as an act of civil disobedience to demonstrate devotion to Our Lord. Even in our secular culture, people wouldn’t tolerate government officials arresting Catholics for marching in devotion to the Eucharist.

    At the very least, a procession would be the statelier, more decorous approach to this type of evangelization. Stephen at 6:22 wrote that this is like a procession, but in place, to which I say that if there is no formal ‘procession’, per se, then there ought at least be more structure and reverence. I’m put off by the stunt-like, haphazard way this has been done.
    ______________________________

    All in all, I voted that I have doubts about this, but it’s something that I think merits further consideration / development, because I think Catholics are woefully timid about public displays of faith. We shouldn’t be cowed into avoiding any pomp or display that worthily demonstrates in a public fashion our faith to Christ.

  43. Elizabeth D says:

    This was affecting and fascinating. Partly because it is “imprudent” and any number of things could have gone wrong. It was filmed and edited extremely well. I also thought “O Salutaris Hostia” would have been way more appropriate than clapping but would not have seemed very spontaneous. Not sure how to feel about the gym bag, I can’t imagine recommending anybody to do that, though arguably the surprising “reveal” from the mundane bag is dramatically effective.

    Using a crucifix would be truly different, an icon rather than the Real Presence. The way they did this, many onlookers must have understood that the kneeling people understood themselves to be kneeling before Christ truly present even bodily, thus raising the issue people are seldom confronted with in public, what if This really is He? This has serious implications for every person’s life.

  44. PeterK says:

    fantastic. now contrast it with what the followers of the “Religion of Peace” do in the same country
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya9xypqB5eo

  45. Charles E Flynn says:

    @Elizabeth D,

    You have nailed it.

  46. benedetta says:

    I liked it. I really liked also the prayer with some explanation as to what was going on with the identification of the Lord in the books of the Bible along with the invitation. Ideally we should have processions. Ideally we wouldn’t have stores open with shopping and soccer games and everything else on the Lord’s Day. It is a public recognition and prayer, right where people are, which is a reality. It helps to break through the sleepiness or the dismissal of faith as an intellectual exercise or all the other things taught pretty actively about what faith might look like or mean. People may be startled to inquire further.

    I do recognize that it could be problematic in other contexts but this given the strength and reverence of the priest with the adorers really seemed fine to me. It is a public witness. I ponder what people would do if they ran into this locally and what the reactions might be. The goal would be to witness and invite, leading to processions and the ability to openly practice the faith without shame, embarrassment or expectation of attack. The reactions these days to things like a child in a parochial school uniform to wearing any religious item can be trying in some places. The tendency is to run from all of this instead of facing it with kindness and determination.

    I also heard the music, reggae from the boombox at the beginning but it was turned down, if you noticed, when everyone assembled. If it was just that with the boombox reggae then I would have had a very different reaction. But combined with the other friar’s words I thought it was very effective. Of course Franciscan Friars can sometimes do things that are surprising in all places and times that help break through ingrained habits of thought or familiar patterns with the reality of the presence of God. I am thinking now not so much of modern Friars although plenty do that too but of St. Francis himself — I am sure some might have scratched heads at the idea of a creche back in the day but one has to admit that it certainly compels people to meditate on the incarnation. One cannot set up a creche absent-mindedly or with, no awareness.

    I am opposed to the Western Mass in Austria…if there will be a Mass at the country & western festival on the Sunday, find another spot to hold the Mass if it is a must have. And I have heard of theses sort of youth rallies with dance music in Brazil where in the midst of the concert and the dancing all of a sudden a priest will dash out with a monstrance for a “moment” when everyone lifts hands up and then goes scurrying back stage for the music and dancing to commence again. Obviously another fail, and those are organized Catholic occasions. But I found this very different. It takes planning and care so that it isn’t permitted to lapse but that goes for everything. It did look like they had some guys in tshirts who were sort of looking out to keep order as well. This does not look like something someone just threw together on a lark but very well planned overall.

    I sort of connect this with the outdoor Way of the Cross in some cities which are very reverent, peaceful and offer a chance to contemplate and provide a profound witness in the middle of everything. Again if it is planned properly I think the responses from people who have never had a chance to encounter are very important. Unlike other “flash mobs” there is much more than music, places, choreography, space, and what is conveyed is more than just a momentary aesthetic or political impression. There is power. In summing up towards the end the friar alludes to this reality.

  47. benedetta says:

    Also I read of this fairly recently, a “flash mob” of sorts organized by saintly friends St. Felix of Cantalice and St. Philip Neri:

    “Once during Carnival, a time of open vice in the streets, Felix and Saint Philip Neri organized a procession of Capuchin friars right into the middle of the revellers; Fra Lupo, a well-known Capuchin preacher, spoke to the crowds, and Carnival ended for the year. “

  48. Catherine says:

    When I first began watching this, I said, “Oh, no, no, no.” But as I watched I noticed the looks on people’s faces, and by the end I had tears in my eyes, especially when the people applauded the victorious King.

    However, I agree with many of the comments regarding the safety of the people involved, and especially of the Blessed Sacrament. And I agree that it was not altogether reverent to place Our Lord in a duffel bag and just walk off into the crowd.

    I liked Birgit’s post of the procession through the streets of New York. This was sanctioned by the local authorities, it was much safer and more secure, it reached more passers-by, and the large procession seemed to have a profound effect on all who witnesed it.

    Having said that, Pope John Paul told us to take Christ out to the streets and not to be afraid. I just believe a little more caution and prudence is called for.

  49. Jbuntin says:

    I’m not to crazy about the idea…with that said, I do think the people who planed it gave it great thought and did provide some instruction on who was being worshiped.
    Before I became Catholic I would not have understood any of this and probably would have done or said something to offend the people there.
    I beleive that the Eucharist belongs in the Church and not in a duffle bag, or a mall.

  50. SonofMonica says:

    And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

  51. Something to think about:

    If this had happened in a city square 600 years ago, every single person (man, woman, and child) would have been on their knees.

    We have lost so many souls…

    Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us and obtain special graces for our times.

    ad Jesum per Mariam,
    Taylor

  52. thickmick says:

    Awesome. Brave. Reverent. Catholic. Humble. Watching it, I was not concerned about safety at all. That was Christ HIMSELF present and even the worst sinner among them knew that deep down. That is why there was no incident. Like Jesus on the boat…”why are you worrying…I’m right here, nothing is going to happen…”. We need more of this from our Priests, God Bless them all.

  53. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    harivari Rob says:

    I think this event was purposefully different than a “regular” Eucharistic procession and may have benefited by being so. I think that in a lot of cities these days, the reaction to a regular procession would be (a) “There go the Catholics”, (b) “Hey – I’ve got the green light but I can’t turn ’cause their procession is crossing the street. How much longer will they be in the way?”, and/or (c) “They’ve got a traffic cop? Are my taxes paying for that?” This exercise seems structured to draw peoples’ attention, to draw them in – to interest and engage people who are not already Catholic and involved.

    I agree. This allows people to pause and really consider, instead of just seeing our Lord wizz by like its a holiday parade (which is not to say processions don’t have value, simply that this is a horse of a different color).

    I think its a great idea, it’s probably the first and only time many of the non-Catholics have ever seen the Eucharist up close and personal, and they had the chance to stand (or kneel) in his presence for an extended period of time. I also thought that the reading was also fantastic, full of reflection material.

    On a rather tangential note, that Friar was a champ standing so perfectly still like that, while holding the monstrance, not always easy.

    Finally, an attack may have caused problems, but I would be willing to wager that such an event was covered before hand and some sort of preparation made.

  54. heway says:

    Ah, wonderful! I watched it once and then again with my husband. We are in our 70′s and 80′s and believe this is what Jesus has asked of us. Have no fear – walk on that water. He is with us at all times. The tonsured Fransican ,in humble robes and simple white stole, rosary on hip – Jesus at the well? Watching it today, St.John the Baptist’s solemnity – a voice crying in the desert (mall);
    Stephen, Paul, Oscar Romero, names of saints and some who should be, who were all unafraid, and heroic because of their faiht in Christ Jesus. My own grandfather operated the movie theater in Preston in the 30′s and 40′s – not a particularly Catholic area.
    Canada is doing better than the US? The ‘Niagara’ choir did a flash mob of the ‘Alleluia chorus’ in
    the Welland Seawall Mall on Nov. 13 2010. Another time to cry tears of joy!
    -from New Mexico

  55. heway says:

    Sorry for the spelling istakes – eyes are failing….

  56. Stu says:

    Needs to be done more. It’s evangelization with Jesus right there.

    I have often lamented the fact that at every parish I have attended the Corpus Christi procession has been confined to the church parking lot. Why? I think we should show all non-Catholics what we believe and that we believe it with fervor. Make them ask the question, “What are those Catholics up to?”

  57. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    I saw this early this morning and was moved to kneel before the image of my Lord and Savior on my computer screen.

  58. Biedrik says:

    On the subject of the bag, I think someone made a good point that it adds to the surprise. While at first it might seem irreverent, it makes Christ’s appearance all the more glorious and stunning, since he comes out of such an unexpected place. I think that worked rather nicely. Another thing to consider would be whether this is due to their vow of poverty. Perhaps they simply didn’t have something else to carry it in?

    Overall, I do think this is a great idea. Eucharistic processions are fantastic, but this is a lot easier to organize, and it simply jumps out at the people a lot more. I think this needs to happen more often.

  59. Andy F. says:

    I was so moved by those people on their knees worshipping Our Lord that I thought nothing of any of the details. The gym bag and those that passed by made no difference to me. Take Jesus to the streets lest the rocks cry out, I say. Here in Chattanooga, I don’t know when the last (if there ever was one) EP was. I would welcome one of these flashmobs in the Scenic City.

  60. Alan Aversa says:

    This isn’t as bad as a lay missionary with his own “personal” monstrance adoring Jesus on a kitchen table.

  61. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    As a young person in a country where we have the unfortunate Charter of Rights and Freedoms (thank you foolish prime minister Trudeau ;( ) I think if done in Canada sporadically like in the video, all it would take would be one offended person who is of another religion, atheist, or areligious to complain to the Human Rights Councils of Ontario/Canada and you would see the priest and the people thrown in jail or fined heavily and a Church closed down to pay the fines.

    However, in terms of its spiritual value in public, Yes this is definitely awesome and should be done, albeit under the protection of not Knights but armed police officers and yes have altar boys, the canopy, and do it as a formal Eucharistic procession (which might require a public event permit from the city depending on by-laws.) At least it can be seen as having legal protections and if the people had done all the right stuff (permit and police), then at least the charged individual(s) would have a leg to stand on in courts or human rights councils.

  62. TravelerWithChrist says:

    Praise God!!!

    As I contemplate the idea, I like it more and more. I had some reserve for the safety of the Eucharist at first, but then, I thought to myself – have more FAITH; someone once tried to steal the Eucharist out of the monstrance at our church around 9pm in the chapel – he was tackled, the host removed from his possession, and the cops called out.

    We need to be bold; this was an unannounced “IN YOUR FACE” kind of event, which needs to happen more frequently. We need to make a change in the attitude from “keep religion to yourself” to trying to convert anyone and everyone. I wish I could be more bold in speaking out about my faith – “Shout it from the rooftops!!” This makes me want to do more with what God has given me.

  63. I thought it was a good idea, although I think a little more decorum would have gone a long way.

    I also would have re-worded “Come and kneel before Him now” to “Come now to kneel before Him.”

  64. AnAmericanMother says:

    JP,
    That was St Anthony of Padua and the mule.

    Another Franciscan who wasn’t afraid of taking a risk for Our Lord.

  65. Alan Aversa says:

    Fr. Z writes:

    I am not sure how this squares with liturgical law, involvement with the local bishop, etc.

    This isn’t much different than a procession with the Blessed Sacrament, is it? Like a procession, it is a public witness to Christ. But unlike a procession, it is not something spectacular for the average non-Catholic like Spain’s Holy Week processions would be. I could just imagine a Protestant walking by thinking these “Eucharistic flash mobs” thinking “Why are people kneeling down to a piece of bread?” Maybe it’s good at least to get people thinking and being comfortable with religion.

  66. Former Altar Boy says:

    God bless the friar — his arms must have been killing him. (A sacrifice, no doubt.)

    God bless those who knelt on the hard pavement to reverence Our Lord.

    God bless all the non-Catholics, fallen away, and unchurched who had a seed planted in their heart. May it bear fruit.

  67. Nora says:

    I like it. I would fiddle a bit with some particulars, especially the gym bag, but if out Lord in his earthly life could put up with the disorderly mob of sinners who followed him, who are we to “protect” Him from those same sinners today. We have to propose salvation, not presuppose reverence. Very thought provoking; I watched it and prayed over it before commenting. Having made my comment, I look forward to reading the thoughts of others.

  68. Patti Day says:

    I didn’t read the posts that proceded mine because I didn’t want to be influenced if others found it irreverent. It took about 15 minutes for this to download to my computer, so I kept seeing small 3-4 second pieces that would freeze frame on the different people in the crowd. It was amazing to see the range of emotion on the individual faces. Some appeared rapt, others laughed or looked worried, and some were oblivious. I was particularly struck by the couple on the right who knelt and barely moved an inch throughout, and the older ladies on the left. I hope I would have had the courage to kneel in the street.

  69. Jayna says:

    The thought that came to me as I was watching this is that processions are a little like “flash mobs,” aren’t they? Take, especially, that procession through Manhattan that was beautifully filmed in God in the Streets of New York City (watch the trailer if you haven’t, great stuff). Something like that, I think, has even more of an impact because of you get all of the ceremony that goes with what we see here.

    As to the video here, perhaps a procession to a church after would have been better rather than putting the monstrance back into the bag? Would have been interesting to see how many people tagged along.

  70. For some reason the Franciscan reminds me of that brave young man standing in front of a column of tanks on Tiananmen Square. It’s improbable. It’s reckless. It’s perfect. Because He’s perfect. And I hope in that crowd there someone who really needed to see Him that day…

  71. PaterAugustinus says:

    The first few times, something like this can go off without an hitch. But, if it becomes a regular thing, you can be sure that some will be glad to disrupt the event and perhaps defame the sacred. In days of yore, Corpus Christi processions went by with armed escorts, on account of the Protestants who were ready and willing to blaspheme the holy. So, I think it may be prudent to have a few stout monks kneeling round about.

  72. St. Louis IX says:

    CHURCH MILITANT…………………

  73. Someone send that Franciscan to New York.

    Father, please post something on how we can pray…

  74. APX says:

    @Young Canadian RC Male
    As a young person in a country where we have the unfortunate Charter of Rights and Freedoms [...] I think if done in Canada sporadically like in the video, all it would take would be one offended person who is of another religion, atheist, or areligious to complain to the Human Rights Councils of Ontario/Canada and you would see the priest and the people thrown in jail or fined heavily and a Church closed down to pay the fines.

    Funny you say this. I was thinking this would never work in Canada because someone would get offended by us “forcing our religion on them” (yet, they have no issue invoking God’s name in vain, hmm…). I wish I could just go out and be Catholic without having to worry about offending people and losing my job over it.

    Anyway, the whole flash mob thing doesn’t do it for me. It reminds me too much of those Christians I’ve seen in various US cities (I’ve never seen one in Canada.) standing on the street corner wearing their “Then end is near!! Repent and be saved!!” sign. Something more solemn would be better, IMHO. It also really bugged me to see him just place the monstrace into his duffle bag.

    Maybe I’m too old school, but would I just think more public solemn events would be better. It’s refreshing in this anything but solemn world.

  75. I like the idea of the Eucharistic Lord in the city streets, but I’d prefer a solemn Eucharistic procession. I think there are reasons for doing it in a formal procession beyond just pomp and circumstance. We need more processions. A Eucharistic procession should pass by the local abortion mill at least once a week.

  76. Biedrik says:

    One thing I’d like to mention is that this is a friar, not a monk like some people have said. Monks are cloistered. Franciscans are not cloistered, and so they are friars.

  77. DIgoe says:

    I voted “I have my doubts.” Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is an awesome thing, but I am not sure this is the best way to spread the Gospel. In my few minutes of reflection on this video, I can’t see how it would be possible to have Adoration in a public square and still maintain the reverence due the Blessed Sacrament. Undoubtedly there would be those who recognize It for what It is, those simply ignore It, and those who are even openly hostile to the Blessed Sacrament. These things, especially the latter, are usually avoided in a church setting. Furthermore, it seems to me that, by the priest himself standing elevating the Sacred Body, the focus could go more on the priest. And if you were to lay the monstrance on the ground, that would leave It more vulnerable to stealing or some other form of degradation. However, if these things – and others that I’m sure I can’t think of right now – could be avoided or remedied before they happen and this practise of “flash mob Adoration” could be approved, then I would be all for it.

  78. donantebello says:

    I think that the whole idea of the New Evangelization is only coming into clearest focus in Benedict’s appeal for the Church to become a “creative minority,” in the “new vast pagan wilderness.” Through the creative minority, the flourishing of arts, culture, architecture, and a New Catholic Renaissance (the true vision of Vatican II!!) will emerge, but from an intensification from within this creative minority.

    I can appreciate what these fine holy men are doing, but honestly when I go to the mall, I’m there to shop and relax. Sometimes very public displays of piety or preaching in such common areas where people are doing business and trying to recreate end up being not that effective and perhaps at times, while done with the highest of aims, even be slightly annoying.

    Trust me, I have engaged in this type of outreach many many times in my youth. I will save all of you the trouble of asking “what about St. Paul’s, ‘Proclaim the Gospel from the rooftops?’” Perhaps preaching the Gospel is done most effectively by having a very very beautiful and solemn Benediction done in the most exquisite Church, with gorgeous vestments, etc… In the long run, which one will better create deep roots of civilizational, cultural, and human dynamism?

  79. JP Borberg says:

    Cheers AmericanMother. I wasn’t sure which one and didn’t have time to look it up. But yeah, these dudes were just continuing the Franciscan tradition, eh.

  80. ancillaDomini says:

    @MarkJ: “I have often thought that the Church should lease space in malls and other places of modern commerce for a Eucharistic Chapel with adoration and Confession – again, taking the Lord out to meet the people where they congregate. Jesus needs to be proclaimed and honored and defended and worshiped PUBLICLY. Think of the martyrs and their heroic witness for Christ…”

    I completely agree. One time a friend and I had some time to burn at the Pittsburgh airport and she said, let’s check out the chapel! We went up and there was a sign: “Mass every Sunday” at such-and-such time. It blew me away and has still remained on my heart. It was a moment of: Jesus has been here! He’s been HERE! The airport?

    Sort of like how He rode the elevator at the FOCUS conference in Baltimore to repose Him upstairs :) I got a kick out of that. But returning to my point…

    Imagine what kind of effect a chapel in a shopping mall would have? How many souls we could bring to Christ? I have heard of many non-Catholics spending time at our churches, or adoration, because of the peace and silence of it all. If we could expand that offer, and perhaps put some kind of people at the doors you can speak with, or information, imagine the possibilities! A lot of people who wouldn’t wander into a church, would be far more likely to wander into a chapel at the mall.

  81. MikeM says:

    I have some reservations, but they did it respectfully. This sort of thing seems very Franciscan. I’m willing to lay aside my reservations about something like this… it seems like good raw material for God to work with.

    The Church has flourished over the years as a result of people doing some seemingly crazy things. In the scheme of things, this isn’t nearly as crazy as some of the other things faithful Catholics have done!

    Plus, while there’s something to be said for exercising prudence in such things, I think we need to take some risks. I really can’t see Our Lord being anything but pleased by this.

  82. amenamen says:

    The scriptural homily was rather good, and it could have stood on its own merits, without the questionable “flash” Benediction. Frank Sheed stood on a street corner in London and spoke to crowds like this.

    Public adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is good. But not like this. Despite the noble intentions of those involved, the “flash mob” style of sacred liturgy leaves a lingering negative impression on me. It relies too much upon the “gimmicks” of surprise and sudden incongruity.

    For me, it was very troubling to see how the Blessed Sacrament was handled. The priest carried the Blessed Sacrament, and a monstrance, in a gym bag, unescorted, through a crowded sidewalk, both before and after the flash mob event. In “flash mob” style, the monstrance was suddenly pulled out of a gym bag, to the surprise of everyone. And at the end, the monstrance was quickly put back into the gym bag, and the priest hurried away through the crowd. However, as he was rushing away with his gym bag, a woman rushed up to him and grabbed his shoulder, in order to speak to him, while he was carrying the Blessed Sacrament. He was lucky (this time) that it was not someone with a more hostile intention. It does not seem prudent to take such a risk. Things could have turned out very differently, either by accident, or because of intentional disruption and confrontation.

    Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a liturgical action. There are rubrics for the sacred liturgy, and they are not optional. The priest in this video was not properly vested. Just a stole. No surplice. No alb. No humeral veil. Why not? No incense. No candles. No altar. No altar cloths. No servers. No honor guard. No hymns. No prayers. And a very casual and abrupt “ending” to the whole thing.

  83. off2 says:

    This is a hard one.

    1) If I had come upon this early on, I’d have thought, “Who is the nut job in monk drag holding what looks like a monstrance?”

    2) Had I happened by after a crowd had gathered I’d have been more willing to believe it was real.

    3) If someone can demonstrate a positive evangelical effect, okay, I guess.

    4) I would prefer my God manifest in the Host to be treated with more decorum. Hasn’t one of the functions of the church been to ensure things are done “decently and in order?”

  84. asperges says:

    At first I was horrified and then warmed a little to the idea. As a one-off, it could have a marked effect – but this is the NW of England (Lancs) which has a high Catholic population and tolerance. There remains a real danger of profanation and I cannot imagine this is many other cities without potential incidents. He certainly wouldn’t do this is N Ireland.

    Also there is a need for more “manpower,” even a discrete Police presence in case of trouble.

    Under no circumstances should this ever become regular or the norm, but it was a brave initiative and could have had a marked effect on people’s lives.

  85. rcesq2 says:

    While on earth, Christ entered a city in formal procession only once – on Palm Sunday. The rest of the time he tended to appear as a “flash” – think of the Samaritan woman at the well, or the disciples on the road to Emmaus. So this kind of presentation fits right into His M.O. Moreover, the “new evangelization” should be aimed in the first instance at those who know about Jesus and the Church, but have fallen away. This flash demonstration of the Eucharist seemed to stir something in several onlookers – maybe a forgotten memory or a call to return. Wonderful and moving. And very much in the spirit of St. Francis.

  86. Mark Pavlak says:

    I think this was a great idea mainly because it’s getting comments from people on how it could’ve been better. Knight of Columbus, candles, altar servers, incense, etc…
    Before seeing this video, many of us wouldn’t have thought of even being a part of a Eucharistic “flash mob.” Now, we’re trying to find ways to make it better and safer. That’s why I think this was a great idea.
    Was it perfect? No. I agree that the gym bag makes me somewhat uncomfortable, and I like the ideas of candles, incense, and guards. But the point is that we wouldn’t have thought of adding the candles, incense, and guards if these courageous Franciscans hadn’t done what they did in the first place. A fine idea indeed.

  87. Mundabor says:

    I think I am as conservative as the next guy, and I have voted… 5.

    The monstrance was beautiful, the behaviour of the Franciscan friar reverent from beginning to end. It was authentically moving to see people who were evidently not part of the “flash mob” kneel down and pray. The Catholic message of the Real Presence comes out in a very powerful way. I think those eight minutes of aching arms have moved a couple of hundred people to wait and think a bit (yes, even those who didn’t have time, weren’t interested, were afraid of not being respectful, were no more than mildly amused or didn’t know what it was about in the first place).

    In my eyes, the following improvements should be made:

    1) Security. OK, England is not a place where people start to mob or assault a priest, and the camera was certainly seen as security enough. But I did have some discomfort.

    2) Reverence. Perhaps the text should be modified stressing in several points the absolute reverence due to the Body of Christ. The applause to the friar in front of the Blessed Sacrament was, in my eyes, completely out of line. What is next, choirs of approbation in football-stadion style?

    All in all, I found it beautiful.

    Mundabor

  88. Inigo says:

    My first thought was: I am seeing Golgotha.
    Bishop Fulton Sheen said something about this scene once. At the foot of the cross, people where either passing by angry or laughing at what all that was about. Other people stopped, and read the sign, and wondered. And only a few people were kneeling adoring and crying. I think this was exactly what happened on this video.

    We had a small Eucharistic procession two days ago at Coprus Christi, in the most crowded pedestrians only street in Budapest. The effect was the same: most of the people were making photos, others laughed, but a few actually genuflected when the Eucharist passed by, some of them even joined the procession. Not a lot of people, only a few.

    I think what the monk did, was one of a kind, it should not be repeated. The Holy Spirit was watching over this crowd, all the angels were present, standing on guard. Doing this again would be tempting God. This should be an example, that the only really powerful way to evangelize, is to teach and preach our crucified and risen Lord, to expose the Mistery (not necesarily the Eucharist itself).

    Priests: do Eucharistic processions! Preach about the Cross! The Resurrection! People need Divine Mistery, not cheap moralisation on weekday issues!

    People need God!

  89. Phillip says:

    Like others here, I have my concerns regarding the safety of the Blessed Sacrament – but what a marvelous display of political incorrectness for the sake of evangelization.

  90. I’d prefer a Corpus Christi procession. Still in all I don’t think the flash was a horrible idea. But what’s with the applause? That doesn’t seem right.

  91. jflare says:

    I like the idea a great deal a voted thus. I DO, think though, the Eucharist needs to be safeguarded rather more effectively.
    I saw a video of TFP Student Action not long ago while they staged their advocacy for traditional marriage at Brown University (and elsewhere). I’d thought Brown U, of all places, SURELY would be a place with minds open to new and different ideas. It’s an Ivy League school after all. I believe Brown U, however, wound up being the one place where a student attempted to tear down and shred their large banner..and succeeded. Granted, the culprit later faced charges, but the damage had been done. Consider what could happen to the Eucharist if something similar struck.

    I agree with some who’ve posted about the virtues of a Corpus Christi procession. My parish has offered one in this area for about 6(?) years now; it’s a marvelous witness to the community. We have we have police escorts,several clergy surrounding the Eucharist, and probably close to three hundred (or more) people within a half mile or so.
    Even that won’t guarantee that Christ will be safe, but someone with mischief in mind will usually be deterred by such a contingent.

    Maybe instead of the Eucharist, do something similar, but use a fair-sized crucifix instead? Granted, I don’t wish to see a crucifix broken or abused any more than I wish to see it happen with the Eucharist. BUT, it would do quite well to get the point across, I think, and would offer less risk of scandal.

  92. Christopher says:

    I do have my doubts, mainly on the security. Nevertheless, it seemed quite a success.

    Ann: ‘But what’s with the applause?’

    Probably because they brought the Eucharist out in public.

    The amazing thing about the Eucharist is that it grabs the non-Catholics attention. I believe this is in Preston, England, and further North around Middlesbrough, the Protestant preachers don’t get as much attention as this.

    One thing is for sure, we need the Eucharist to be more public.

  93. jflare says:

    I’d wondered about the applause too.
    I didn’t hear or see anything to spawn it. I’d actually wondered if they applauded because the security officer looking person DIDN’T chase them off. (I thought the camera followed that person in the yellow vest/jacket for a reason.)

  94. Schiavona says:

    For those who haven’t clicked over to YouTube, it may be interesting to read the description they posted with the video:

    A Eucharistic flash mob in the centre of Preston, organised by the Capuchin Franciscans on Ascension Thursday 2011.

    A small team of Catholic evangelists mingled with the crowd to hand out cards and explain what was going on. Here are some of the reactions….

    “What is this about? What is happening? What is this about?”

    One young girl said: “I’ve not seen anything like this since Church.”

    “Are they doing this all day? … Will they be doing it again? … Are they doing this any where else?”

    Two young women asked: “Why does God allow hurt and pain in the world?” They agreed it was not God’s fault but ours. Then they asked: “Why doesn’t Jesus come again?” We explained that He is here in the form of bread, but would come again and we invited them to think about Him now.

    “Is it religious? What is inside that thing?”

    A man said: “What is that guy doing?” An old woman with him replied: “That’s Jesus. Show respect.”

    “This is so moving! It is the first time I have seen it done outside. I can’t wait to tell my parish priest!”

    Thanks to Sean Zaniboni, Gerardo Gonzalez and the team for filming and producing the video.

  95. pelerin says:

    I had mixed feelings about this. If I had come across the event unexpectedly anywhere in England and did not recognise the Priest or Religious, I would have thought that it was a scene from a film being acted. I must be very cynical I suppose. What is to stop any unauthorised person from doing the same thing? And like many I hated seeing the gym bag being used in this way.

    However if my parish Priest were to do something similar in our local shopping mall I would be supportive but would prefer it to be preceded and followed by a procession.

  96. Kerry says:

    (I’ve chosen this quote not to pick a quarrel, but as a sample of many of the thoughts here.) “… it would be best simply to organize a true procession and advertise it and educate people about it” If Jesus cannot pop out of a gym bag, then out of what can He pop? There are formal processions, and informal processions. Would anyone here not have knelt when the Monstrance was elevated? I think surprise was the point. Difficult to continue believing “Oh, them again”, when one does not see it coming. “But of that day and hour no one knoweth, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone.” Excepting the boy with the backpack wandering through the center, no one else did so. Why not?

  97. robtbrown says:

    Although it was impressive to see the people kneeling, to me the event was a bit too gimmicky.

    The text was superb. As someone pointed out above, the Brits have a tradition of public preaching and disputation, not only Frank Sheed but Fr Vincent McNabb, op., who would preach and take on all comers in Hyde Park.

  98. Joseph_s daughter says:

    Personally, I tend to think flashmobs are tacky to begin with. I’m unsure what I would have done if I was passing through that square that day. The cynic in me would have wondered if it was some sort of hoax or attempting a mockery. Should we trust that someone dressed in religious-looking garb who, unannounced, pulls a monstrance-looking item out of a carry bag is authentic? I will never kneel before a piece of bread…but if I was certain this was indeed the Most Blessed Sacrament, I would have venerated Him…tacky flashmob or not.

  99. AnAmericanMother says:

    And don’t forget Canon Francis Ripley, who would get out there and pitch for the team, too.
    It would have been nice to sing “Tantum ergo” or “O salutaris” . . . But like I said, let’s get organized and then we can do it exactly the way we like.

  100. Sixupman says:

    Preston, in Lancashire, UK was a very strong Catholic centre, with magnificent churches. Lancashire produced many Martyrs for taking the Celebration of The Mass to the people. In the general area there are some beautiful churches in somewhat secluded rural areas – related to the Emancipation. What the Martyrs would make of Mother Church, in Lancashire and elsewhere, to-day, God only knows! They gave their lives for a Mass which is reviled, not by the general population, but by those who should know better in Mother Church – prelates included.

  101. Jeremiah says:

    Personally, I understand the concerns for safety, and I would agree that (and had the thought that) those present who are “in on it” should completely surround the Adored frm the start.

    The thing that this really reminded me of was a recent homily by our pastor. He said that our lives should be a question mark. What we do should make no sense, unless God is real, and in this case if the Eucharist is real. I was similarly turned off by the clapping and would have preferred Tantum Ergo and O Salutaris to have been sung at beginning and end, but this is something very diffent from a procession, and I think it needs to be analyzed in that light.

    A procession is the glory of the Lord passing by.

    This was a statement, a sign. Jesus, creator of the universe is HERE in our midst.

    One way or another, it is a statement that we MUST make every day of our lives.

  102. colospgs says:

    Great idea. Our Lord could have been reposed in a more respectful way, but overall I give them an “A”. I assume there were some security people lurking about.

    Mark J, above, often thought that the Church should lease space in malls and other places of modern commerce for a Eucharistic Chapel with adoration and Confession – again, taking the Lord out to meet the people where they congregate.

    We do that here in Colorado Springs at the Citadel mall, run, again, by Capuchin Franciscans. Here:
    http://www.catholiccitadel.org/

  103. LisaP. says:

    No.
    See, here’s the problem, which is so often the problem.
    God is not a show.
    The microphone and the clapping . . . until the Church and its members stop thinking they have to out-MTV MTV, it’s always going to go wrong.
    How are the people who don’t understand that this is Christ supposed to understand while watching him be grandstanded like a state fair attraction, clapped for like the winner from The Biggest Loser, then tucked into a duffle bag and walked away?
    You can’t teach people reverence by compromising with the irreverent. I totally believe these guys had the best intentions, but so many folks in the Church today are corrupting and demeaning it with best intentions. Go to the Church, stop trying to make the Church “come to us”.

    The Capuchians at the Citadel, btw, are wonderful. They put a chapel and the Eucharist in the mall, but they don’t bring the mall into the sanctuary. They are doing a beautiful job. My kids love it there.

  104. Will Elliott says:

    (oops, hit post too soon) Also, as others have already noted, even if he wasn’t vested in alb and cope, he should have used a humerial veil. The Christilogical summary of all the books of the Bible – OT and NT – was fantastic. I’ll have to see if it has been published online.

  105. Will Elliott says:

    (looks like the first part of my post disappeared) I too would have like too seen an escort for father — some vested servers or Knights of Saint Columba (no KoCs in the UK, if I remember correctly. I wasn’t bothered by the boombox-reggae, I saw that as being a fake-out before the real purpose of the flash mob was revealed. The applause was fine — I thought of the UK sporting tradition of having a minute of applause to prevent people from deliberately disturbing a minute of silence.

  106. Fr Martin Fox says:

    I voted “good” idea, not not great; I think some fixes would get me to “great,” at least as a trial:

    1. Have someone arrive before the priest and prepare things a bit; put a couple of votive candles on the ground, maybe a white blanket, with the priest standing at the center. (This might serve to suggest wordlessly that folks walk around, not through.)

    2. Someone else brings an empty monstrance; the priest arrives, puts on his stole, and then he brings a luna out from his breast pocket and places it in the monstrance; this eliminates the awkwardness of carrying the Lord God in a gym bag.

    3. The priest should be escorted to and from; the challenge is where he can go, nearby, to repose the Eucharist? This would be a good time to have another priest or brother in habit, who isn’t carrying the Eucharist–let him be the one folks talk to afterward.

    4. As suggested, have some folks who are nearby to assure no physical assault on the priest or the Eucharist.

    5. I don’t really have an opinion about the applause. I can see that some don’t care for it; on the other hand, it doesn’t seem to me irreverent. I think it would be good to ask the organizers if that was planned, as I assume, and if so, why they thought that the way to go, as opposed to singing or reciting a prayer at that point.

    6. I would be sure to tell the local authorities what we were going to do so that no police officer had reason to be alarmed, which they may have done.

    7. Finally, all this has to be approved by the bishop.

    Also, I liked that someone was narrating a reflection that also served to provide instruction on what was happening; and that cards were passed out explaining things as well.

  107. americangirl says:

    Just like it was 2,000 years ago, Jesus in our midst! People kneeling in public Adoration and clapping for the King of Kings. Hmmm Can’t help but wonder what Jesus thinks!
    God Bless the Capuchin who stood in the public square open to ridicule and insults….True Franciscan Spirit.God Bless these Friars for their belief in the true presence of Our Lord!

  108. dmhb says:

    I think the comments have been very insightful.
    I love real processions, but they are a lot more difficult to organize than this sort of thing.
    I’d recommend reposing the Blessed Sacrament with due reverence to a pyx that is worn around the neck of the priest. Also, using some of our impressive and beautiful Catholic cultural heritage (candles, incense, hymns (Latin!), etc.) can only improve the experience, both for those who understand what is going on and in impressing some sense of the sacred in the clueless.
    I see nothing wrong with clapping, modern songs, etc. These things can be easily understood by the common man and that’s good, we just have to give them some mystery and things impressive but not so easily understood (e.g. Tantum Ergo especially sung a capella by the real people kneeling there).
    I think real processions, like those filmed in New York City with the CFR friars in the link above, are still the ideal. I especially remember a wonderful procession on Corpus Cristi through all the main streets of a city I lived in (in Latin America), ending with adoration at a large outdoor shrine in the main square. They had processions on most major feasts. Now that I live in the US, I miss seeing our faith lived publicly and I wonder how to get people together on doing this sort of thing.

  109. biberin says:

    I agree with amenamen who pointed out that Adoration is a liturgical action. We don’t just whip Jesus out; the rubrics call for prayers and solemnity. And a humeral veil for Benediction!!

    I would be pleased to see a very small, non-intimidating procession, which then halted in the public square for some time for Adoration, and then continued on, allowing for much more dignity in exposition and repose. The arrival could even be timed to coincide with music and homily for the flash-mob effect.

  110. irishgirl says:

    I thought it was a pretty good idea, but I still have reservations, especially with the anti-Catholicism that pervades many parts of the West.
    I would have rather had some strong young men to stand guard on either side of the friar, as to prevent any sacrilege.
    I was distressed seeing the young man with the backpack walk right past the friar with the Host without knowing that Our Lord Himself was present.
    A formal procession would have been better.
    And St. Anthony was the one with the Blessed Sacrament and the mule, not St. Francis.

  111. ContraMundum says:

    I’m with Birgit on this: however respectfully Christ in the Eucharist may have been treated during the event, there’s still the part about bringing Him in a gym bag.

    Also, although flash mobs can definitely convey messages, it seems to me that the message they convey most loudly is “look at me!” I’m not sure exhibitionism can be turned to holy purposes.

  112. ipadre says:

    Wow! It was awesome, but I’m not sure how I feel about having the Blessed Sacrament there. It think it is very creative though. We need to think of creative things like this for the New Evangelization. I would like to know what Benedict XVI think of this!

  113. matttheman says:

    I liked it. Not my personal style but absolutely a good idea. I also think it’s kind of funny that there are folks who think this priest was attempting to be contemporary or something. Sure it’s not a full on traditional procession with all the bells and whistles, but it’s a far cry from the ridiculous happy clappy “worship” often offered in attempts to be relevant.

  114. Dr. Eric says:

    I give it a B+. It would have been better to have a bona fide procession. We should have more processions.

  115. Theca says:

    I loved the comments. This made my day. I think I liked the video too. I liked what Elizabeth D. said.

  116. Konichiwa says:

    I agree with some that this would be better if it had been a formal and not spontaneous thing. Also some security would be good and that could be provided by a group of KoC. I’d hate to see a someone just walk by and rip the monstrance out of the grips of the priest. It’s a pleasure to see the Lord any time for me, and again it’s so nice to see people kneel down before him.

  117. Joan A. says:

    Haven’t we done enough to degrade appreciation for the Blessed Sacrament inside our churches? Haven’t we tossed enough old practices out the church window, such as genuflecting, silence, tabernacle front and center, knelling, and you can think of many more.
    So now we are going to continue our “spirit of Vatican 2″ modifications and bring the Blessed Sacrament into a busy street with pop music and no procession and no covering? How is that supposed to inspire or educate anyone? Catholics will get it, everyone else, as shown by the facial expressions, will think, “Another weird religious group.”
    Sorry to be a party-pooper, but I feel this was highly improper to say the least. After all, the purpose of a “flash mob” is entertainment.

  118. Janine says:

    I watched this so worried about our Lord. I was worried for His safety and for the reverence He should receive. But isn’t that where He would like to be?
    I am not sure if it was good or bad, but IMO I would rather see a procession in public in the future.

  119. Charivari Rob says:

    Is it just me, or did the EF diaglogue poll swim through and eat the Eucharistic flash mob poll?

    Or can only one poll exist at a time?

  120. pfreddys says:

    This worked out well, in fact I wish I were there to worship; however, this could lead itself to some profanation of the Blessed Sacrament which could never be tolerated. Perhaps 4 men as a human buffer around the monstrance or something similiar to that?
    BTW, the poll seems to be repeating the previous poll.

  121. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Watching this once more (I love it) I have noticed that there are 6 young men that stand near the friar, in ordinary dress, and try to stay out of the camera, but are keeping an eye on people and interacting with others. Very noticeable at the start, when the friar sets down his bag. At the one minute point.

  122. Leonius says:

    I don’t want to take anything away from the people involved, it was a noble initiative but personally I didn’t like. I hate to say it but it was boring frankly.

    Public displays of faith need to grab attention, there needs to be banners, chants and prayers and more people.

    The Blessed Sacrament shouldn’t be used in stunts like this, it cheapens it, a crucifix could have served the same purpose and also has the benefit of been much easier for non catholics to recognize and understand.

    That Christ was crucified is easily understood, that the blessed sacrament is God is a mystery that the average person in the street isn’t going to even recognise.

    If the Blessed Sacrament is to be taken to the streets than there should be great worship and much reverence. Something similar to what happened in New York in the video below is a much better way of doing it in my opinion:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/VolpiusLeonius?feature=mhee#p/f/113/NX5X2cXMh0o

  123. CarpeNoctem says:

    I was looking through the comments, and if someone had mentioned it, I didn’t notice it. I think that the text/preaching on the video actually originates from, of all people, Oral Roberts:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEvMGJ-Ghrc

    In full disclosure, I do use this the Oral Roberts clip when teaching RCIA, simply to illustrate the very-Catholic idea that Christ is found in the entire Bible… to which I would add, even the ‘apochryphals’. It is so “Catholic” in its ‘feel’, that I wonder if this text/clip has a more ancient origin. So, can anyone track it back to a Catholic source, by any chance?

  124. nfp4life says:

    Birgit and Leonius are on the same page with me! Watching those processions on the video you posted moved me ,too. The Franciscan Friar video was nice, but definitely gave me pause, for all the reasons mentioned. I hope you don’t mind, but your comments were so thoughtful, I quoted some of you in my blog. http://bit.ly/Eucharistflash God bless! Linda

  125. CloisterM says:

    The faith in England is in a bad way, faithful Catholics know this and long for courageous leadership to combat the decline. God bless the friars for their courage in going to Preston’s market with Our Lord. We need more of this public witness. Yes, we were concerned that the friar didn’t cover the monstrance as a mark of respect, having said that, the very important point was that it WAS a public display and faithful Catholics saw this and responded and knelt. Human nature being what it is, people will be talking of this for days. Muslim show their faith in petrol stations when they want to prayer, they roll out their prayer mats and away they go. I repeat, God bless the friars for this public display, this might inspire our Priests to courageouly lead their parishioners in Eucharistic Prcessions, at least on the feast of Corpus Christi. Please pray for England.

  126. Stephen D says:

    As has been said, Preston was one of the most Catholic towns in England, its remoteness and local resistance protected it to some extent from the ‘reformation’ and so a higher proportion of passers-by would have had an idea as to what was happening than in most places in England. Preston is also an area where the US Mormon missionaries had most success in the 19th and 20th Centuries and houses one of only two Mormon Temples in the UK. I thought that it was a good idea, those people have been exposed to the Real Presence of Christ whether or not they were aware of it.

  127. Saiphus says:

    I have my doubts.

    I do recognize that this has probably done good in someone, if not many someones, life. I recognize the bravery and zeal of those involved. I recognize the good intent.

    At the same time I recognize those same qualities in some the more hokey and silly things done in masses (like puppets or actors to demonstrate what the mass is doing, which does educate some children)

    Still, adoration is (I think) an extension of the Liturgy, and is therefore bound to be as exalted and appropriate as possible. “Pearls before swine” was mentioned and seems applicable here. Perhaps there is no privation in what was done, but after 20+ years of “American Liturgy” built on the idea of “reaching more people,” I tend to reject any loss of possible reverence and exalted ceremony.