Oddly, I wasn’t invited to speak at the Three Days of Darkness in L.A., which transpired (I guess) over the weekend.
I am talking, of course, about the annual religious education
circus … confab … conference.
With a new Archbishop in place, you would think that some of the goofy 1970′s and 80′s stuff would be over. Noooo…
Click HERE for the video of the opening ceremony (not a Mass). I haven’t seen the closing Mass posted yet. The Youth Day Mass for 2012 is HERE. The music may make your ears bleed. After a few indecorous concessions to the prevailing idea that we have to talk down to young people or be chatty with them (hard to resist), Archbishop Gomez gives a good sermon.
I did not find a Mass in the Extraordinary Form on their schedule.
That said about this year, I take you back in the past to last year‘s conference (2011), which had Archbishop Gomez in his new role in Los Angeles. It was far less crazy than in years before. You can see the video here. I don’t recall writing about it last year, so I will make a few comments about last year’s closing Mass.
The first thing one always notices are the “ministers of movement” as they are called (read “dancing girls”, since in Latin cheerleaders are ludentium stimulatrices, we might call these precantium stimulatrices).
Throughout there is a seemingly endless trouping around of women, barely a man in sight.
At the offertory there is an “interesting” decoration of the altar. The offertory wasn’t as laughable as in the past. various symbolic clothes were put over the altar and then covered with a white altar cloth. Far more restrained and in years past, but still overly theatrical and “meaningful”. I wonder if forced meaning works. You might check it out. Go to minue 56:30.
The music used for the offertory is worth a few minutes of your time. I am still pondering it. It was a 17th century piece by Tomás Pasqual (+1635 ), done with a Mayan beat and instruments. The piece was called, if I got it correctly, “Esta çena de amor llena”. The composer seems to have been a native of Guatamala who was trained in music by the Spanish. I have been interested in that periods New World music for quite a some time. I have a few CD’s of composers who were born in Europe and went to the New World and wrote there or of native composers.
I had to smile at the statement of the incessantly interrupting commentator , “We are reminded by this music from Tomas Pasqual that the Church of the Americas pre-dates much of our memory.”
Yes, indeed, Mr. Commentator, the Church does have a past before 1965.
The above-mentioned piece by Pasqual drifted into a Parce Domine with cello. Less successful. But peace is soon shattered by people screaming into microphones, so they get back to their normal.
The offertory raised for me some thoughts about proper applications of inculturation.
The unfortunate way the Mass degenerated after Communion and before the final blessing into a kind of “late-night show” of gabble and blabbing was the real low point.
All in all, if this music had been for a concert of some kind, punctuated by spiritual talks, it would have been pretty good. I might have gone myself. But… for Mass… I can’t go there.
The sermon by Archbp. Gomez was pretty good. Be sure to listen (27:30). He used the occasion of the earthquake in Japan as the starting point for talking about conversion and discipleship and the need at times to leave everything in order to do God’s will.