Annual appeal videos during Mass. Fr. Z posts an example. POLL ALERT!

This morning, before celebration of Low Mass in the Usus Antiquior, it fell to me to introduce a video from the Diocese of Madison about the Annual Catholic Appeal.

Since last night I ran into the Bishop, His Excellency Most Reverend Robert Morlino, I put to him the suggestion that, for the Extraordinary Form, we have the video before Mass rather than at sermon time. I had in mind Universae Ecclesiae.  He, and the rector of the cathedral, agreed that that would be fine.  This way people could get their heads back into Mass.

In the older form of the Roman Rite we do weddings before the Mass begins, though I am not suggesting an equivalence.

So, after a few words from the pulpit, we started the video at the time Mass was to begin.  Afterward, still before Mass, I gave an explanation of how to participate in the appeal.

I also read the readings in English at the ambo, and I gave a short sermon in which I asked people to continue to pray for Benedict XVI, reminded people about the “company of bad friends”, and spoke about spiritual warfare, demonic influences, and warned about the use of anything “occult” at anytime in life (which should be confessed).

We all have to be patient with these appeals and, what I think is a trend, the videos and pledges on Sundays.  (Before Mass seems a better time – though there are always stragglers coming in.)

Having a Church where you live costs money.  Some dioceses have bloated bureaucracies. Some dioceses have had lots of court cases that required payouts, which makes it hard to get motivated to give. But, if we want a parish and a diocese, we have to pay for them. Given human nature, your priests and bishops have to ask for money. This is also why I ask for money here!

That said, the video we had this morning is on YouTube.  You might be interested in some of the images, especially of the liturgical moments.  You can see what Bp. Morlino is working on with the clergy and people of the diocese, especially about liturgical renewal.  There are also great points about the number of seminarians for the diocese. All in all, in my opinion and keeping in mind that it is to be shown in parishes that still have a way to go to rediscover greater “continuity”, the video is well done.

BTW… during the Year of Faith, Bp. Morlino has the diocese focusing on “Beauty”. And I think that is the Diocesan Choir.

Some of you might not know how to fulfill your obligation to support the Church materially.  Here is a link to a page on the site of the Diocese of Madison where you can contribute to help seminarians.

In the meantime, here is a poll.

Remember: BE PRACTICAL.   It might be your preference not to have any pitch made in church.  But we all know it has to be this way.  So, given that these pitches are made at Mass time and in church …

Assuming that, in the near future, we will have yearly fund raising videos at Sunday Mass, how would you prefer that they be presented?

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. mschu528 says:

    It seems that, if we are to follow the 1962 laws as Universae Ecclesiae indicates, there should not be a video in the church at any time, ever, under any circumstances. The law in effect in 1962 regarding video is found in the S.R.C. Instruction De Musica Sacra et Sacra Liturgia, § 73:

    Usus machinarum pro imaginibus proiciendis, praesertim vero earum quas « cinematographicas » vocant, sive proiectiones « mutae » sint sive « sonorae », in ecclesiis, quacumque de cause quamvis pia, religiosa aut benefica, strictissime vetatur.

    If it must be done, it should be entirely outside of the liturgy (i.e. before Mass). But it is a horrible shame to think that it must be done. Diocesan appeals are definitely important, but there surely is a better way to do it.

  2. majuscule says:

    We have no means of showing a video in our church. Ours is s mission, but I don’t think the parish church does either. Would this be done on one of those screens where they project the words to the hymns? We don’t do that either.

    Usually our pastor brings up the subject at announcement time (OF).

    Or the pastoral council has members volunteer to be at each Mass to make an announcement.

  3. Gail F says:

    Before Mass, so that the Mass proceeds uninterrupted.
    I have to ask… does Mass really look like that there? Because the lovely images of Mass in this video, which I find very heart-stirring, look nothing like Mass in my parish or most parishes around here. Mass in my parish seems to me like pretending we are in a barn. I have NO PROBLEM with having Mass in a gym, or in a basement, or in a barn, or in a warehouse… whatever. But when you are in a beautiful church built specifically for Mass, why pretend you aren’t???? It’s a false humility, a fake “folksy” feel, that I find incredibly grating and that prevents me from participating in Mass as I should. Perhaps this is a fault of mine. But I don’t see why my parish should set things up so that I have to struggle with it every weekend. I know there are some people — who are probably about to write replies — who really, truly are not influenced by their surroundings. But they are a minority of people. If they weren’t, we would have architects, designers, artists, and other people and industries whose main job is to help create surroundings that invite certain forms of participation in them. We’d just have big empty rooms.

  4. Gail F: Does Mass really look like that there?

    Yes, in quite a few places. That said, in many places some progress is still needed. But the general trend is, now, toward “continuity”. This will really pick up as these seminarians are ordained and get to work. Bp. Morlino has required them all to learn the Extraordinary Form before they are ordained. That will have a HUGE knock-on effect in everything they do in parishes.

    I will add, however, that the last image of a Mass in the video is at the parish which is now completely ad orientem. That video must have been shot before the final change. See HERE.

    Also, you see that the Bishop uses also Roman-style vestments, with the maniple. In other ceremonies, proper dress replete with ferraiuolo. These are small things, not of the essence in a promotion of the new evangelization. But, cumulatively, small signs add up and begin – in the sum – to teach.

  5. acardnal says:

    Fr. Z, you made the right choice – with the bishop’s permission – showing the Appeal video and giving the Appeal appeal before Mass.

  6. Sword40 says:

    I would prefer that IF videos were to be presented that they be done in the parish hall AFTER Mass.
    I go to the EF Mass exclusively so I don’t envision video presentations being done.

  7. L. says:

    Father, you needed to provide another option: “None of the above.” [NO. I really don’t have to have another option. I left that out on purpose. No one WANTS these pitches. But if they are going to happen, and they are, which is the better way to have them?] My diocese is the place where Christian principles go to die, and a greater engine for the wasting of money has never been imagined. I am glad to see from your comments that not all dioceses are like mine, and that I should have hope that things will improve.

  8. Well, in theory, I would prefer before Mass, but let’s face it: people show up late. This even happens at the EF Sunday Mass I celebrate regularly (e.g. today). So they will not get the “appeal.” My suggestion is this. Explain briefly to the congregation at the EF Mass that there will be an appeal collection but you don’t intend to show the video. Tell them if the per capita donation is higher than at the Masses where the video is show, great. If not, you will show the video, at sermon time, the next week. [I like it.]

  9. kap says:

    mschu528 I totally agree with you and wish that there was a entry for this action in/on the poll.
    We attended a parish outside of my diocese – in an archdiocese during Advent and during the Mass we were given an audio taped homily from the Archbishop…listening to it for the homily was strange, highly uncomfortable and awkward. I thought it was going to be an appeal of some sort but it was the entire homily….I will never forget that moment….sooo veryyyy strange! Has anyone else experienced this? I wondered if this was appropriate even more so because it was given by the Archbishop.

  10. acardnal says:

    L., perhaps you are doing this now, but I suggest prayer and sacrifice. Give your alms to religious orders and societies of apostolic life which are orthodox and traditional and celebrate Holy Mass the way it should be. The Canons of St. John Cantius, the FSSP, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest are just a few examples. [Or to support seminarians of Madison, who will all have to be trained up in the Extraordinary Form. These “specialist” groups are great, and we need them, but the real work of reform and continuity will take place with diocesan priests in parishes across whole dioceses.]

  11. rcg says:

    One of the reasons I have changed parishes, to an EF parish, is the constant distractions away from Mass that included videos and all sorts of other messages and entertainment that were interrupting the Prayer, but actually interfering with the lesson. I think you made a good call.

    This would be an excellent use of your influence and the influence of this blog: to have direction from the Bishops, if not the Vatican itself!, to ask that they direct us to restrict these sorts of messages to outside the Mass. Seems like it would support renewal.

  12. truthfinder says:

    In one parish I was at, the pastor would show the appeal video right after Mass, in the church. He would basically say, please stay and watch but if you must leave I can’t stop you. Many stayed, and it really wasn’t that disruptive because this parish really didn’t pray right after Mass. It seemed to work for us. [When you say “it worked”, does that mean that the parish accomplished its goals for the appeal?]

  13. kap says:

    I like Fr. Augustine Thompson’s suggestion the best…IF you have to ‘have’ it….I’m just sooo tired of being hit on at Mass-between the people coming in half naked, the music interrupting me in my prayer time and the priest doing his shenanigans…I sit and talk to Him and our Blessed Mother during these moments of trial. Offering it all up! Lord have mercy.

    [I, too, like his idea. BUT… if there is going to be a video… when should it be. THAT is the actual point we are dealing with here.]

  14. kap says:

    Fr. I do have an issue with the whole thing [I’ll stop you there. We all have issues with it. But the point of the poll is clear. Thanks for voting!]

  15. HyacinthClare says:

    I know the issue, but this is the fact in our location… our FSSP priest doesn’t play them at all. Every year, we pay the amount they ask for from our parish (or more), so I guess that’s why there’s no complaints yet.

  16. Joe in Canada says:

    I’ve never had the responsibility of a pastor, so it’s easy for me to deny the premise.
    What happened to silence in the church, silence before Mass? Penitents preparing for Confession?
    If there is going to be a video I suppose after Mass, giving people who want to leave time to leave, giving those who want to make their thanksgiving time to do that.
    I’m curious where it should be set up – in front of the Lady Altar? In front of St Joseph?

    If a video can be shown at sermon time, why not have the chairman of the finance committee give a talk? Why not the president of the women’s league explain how the money will help with their good works? Why not have Sister tell us how the gospel inspires her to her missionary work? Etc.

  17. Phil_NL says:

    If it absolutely must be done, then yes, before Mass.

    But I see no reason why such an appeal should be made in the form of a video. [Perhaps you also don’t see the point of the entry and the poll?] A church is not the place to show videos, not during Mass, but not before or after either (in fact, where would you project the video? A decent church doesnt have a large smooth plain surface, as those would be adorned to show it’s the Lord’s house. And rolling in TVs would make one wonder where the popcorn stand is…).
    [I’ll just cut the rest…]

  18. kap says:

    I have an idea…how about setting up a laptop outside in the vestibule with the appeal playing there? You could direct people there before and after Mass with someone to take questions too. Then that wouldn’t infringe on people’s prayer time…we did this when we were building our church. We also used other items on display- ie easels with info to support the effort. To me this would be more appropriate. [But the point here is explained in the top entry.]

  19. mamajen says:

    I really really really dislike videos during mass. Our diocese did it a couple years ago, but hasn’t since. It just reminds me of the multimedia extravaganzas that are services at (some) protestant churches. In any case, I voted for “After Communion”. My preference would be after mass is completely finished, but I can understand that few people would likely stick around for that. Today we had a guest priest making an appeal for a charity as part of his sermon, which worked fine. We also had a Dominican seminarian pitching a Lenten reflection event after communion. Both got their points across, but it didn’t seem like a huge departure from the mass as a video does.

  20. Charlotte Allen says:

    Fr. Thompson’s idea is great, but I think that in many dioceses, the video–or in the case of mine, audio from the archbishop complete with background music that sounds like the soundtrack from “The Robe”–is mandatory, no exceptions allowed. My diocese has an annual during Mass appeal that’s an excruciating experience for all involved, not least the celebrant. Then we all have to be walked through filling out our envelopes (“Now, write down your zip code on the line provided–and then on the next line your telephone number”). Is there market research that shows that this sort of thing is effective?

    The worst appeal experience I had was in a church in California where my husband I were visiting. The appeal took place right after Communion, so we were a captive audience, since it would be a sin to leave before the final dismissal. There was a video. There was a speech by the pastor. There were testimonials by various parishioners about how much the parish meant to them. After 45 minutes of this, my non-Catholic husband was sighing audibly, and I decided to commit the sin (only a venial sin, I think). I like Fr. Z’s suggestion that the appeal take place before the Mass, although after the sermon is OK, I guess. I would put a 10-minute time limit on it, however, and have it consist of a single speech about the good works to be accomplished. Diocesan bureaucracies will never be persuaded otherwise, and I don’t expect to see any changes in the appeal format.

    My suggestion: Find out the date of Appeal Sunday in advance, and then go to Mass at a monastery that day.

  21. wmeyer says:

    In this diocese, not only are we compelled to watch the video (is it not functionally an abuse when the appeal for funds replaces the homily?), but after the video, we are walked through the process of filling in the name, address, etc., and the amount committed so that these may be picked up in another collection. It is offensive at many levels.

    Your article, Father, seems possibly to imply that this is more an issue for the Usus Antiquior than for the OF. I think it should apply in either case; it has no place in the Mass. And there should still be a homily.

  22. wmeyer says:

    …and I forgot to mention, as I had intended, that I am still struggling with whether to pledge, as the archdiocese does, as far as I can tell, give some funds to the CCHD. [Back to the point… before, during, or after Mass is better?]

  23. Can we consider showing the video AFTER mass?

  24. wmeyer says:

    Can we consider showing the video AFTER mass?

    Almost certainly not. Look at how many head straight for the exit after receiving. Presenting the video at Mass is based on the notion of a captive audience. Presenting during is, to my way of thinking, a liturgical abuse. Before, you still have a captive audience; after, you have almost none.

  25. acardnal says:

    wmeyer wrote “. . . but after the video, we are walked through the process of filling in the name, address, etc., . . . .)

    You bring up a good point about the imbecility of the script the diocese requires the priest to read verbatim. I have experienced this, too:

    “On the top left hand side of the form find the line where it is written ‘Name’. Please fill in your name. On the next line below you will find ‘Address’. Please put your numbered street address there.” And on and on it goes as though they are talking to first graders! Hilarious.

  26. wmeyer says:

    And on and on it goes as though they are talking to first graders! Hilarious.

    Exactly. And I think it provokes many of us to thoughts of reacting as a first grader might.

  27. mamajen says:


    Struggling with the same here. Our diocese has wasted money hosting dissident speakers, and who knows what else. However, if we do not donate to the appeal and our parish falls short, money is taken from the regular parish collection money to pay the balance. In our area, where mergers and closings have been happening, we have been threatened that not meeting the fundraising goal will earn our parishes extra scrutiny and might mean the difference between staying open or not.

    [And have we reviewed the point of the top entry?]

    Every time I write a check for our collection, I say a prayer that the money (which my family could really use) will not be wasted on something frivolous, or worse, actually harmful. I think if dioceses focused their attention on transparency and spending on things that are truly needed, they would be surprised at the increase in donations. There are a lot of people who just do not trust that the money will be used properly. I decided I need to give what I can, and leave it to God to deal with people who might misuse the money.

  28. PA mom says:

    It is almost ridiculous how different this video is from that of my diocese. And I didn’t think ours was “bad”, I thought it was repetitive and narrow in focus but the difference is outstanding.
    The appeal actually educates on catholic identity, educates on personal spirituality, and calls for more vocations all in the same 9 minutes.
    This is truly inspired work.
    I would rather something like this be shown at any acceptable place before, during or after Mass, than our video shown ever, anywhere.
    Wonder if I could talk my whole family into moving to Madison???

  29. lizaanne says:

    I’ve never seen a video in our Church as long as I’ve been going there (5yrs), and I suspect our pastor would choke before he put up a screen anywhere even close to where Mass is said. That being the case, we do have a much improved sound system, and I think that what others may experience as video, we hear as only audio at our parish, as I do recall a couple of pre-recorded messages over the years played at the time of the homily.

    I too also despise this – but as it is often said, it is what it is. :-(

    Based on the poll choices, I would prefer keeping these appeals entirely OUT of the Mass itself, and do it before if necessary. [Thank you for answering the question.]

    As a side note – I remember about 20 years ago going to a parish where it was routine for the priest to put up one of those portable screens – you know, the kind grandpa used to show the super8 movies on – right in front of the sanctuary. He would drag out a card table, and get his slide projector, and we would watch slides of his recent vacation, as he somehow weakly tried to turn it into some sort of relevant homily. Sadly, yet quite understandably, this parish is dying off, after being extremely vibrant and growing for generations, it’s now just dwindling away. Not much of a surprise. It’s a very beautiful church too. So sad. So you can see, I have a very bad taste in my mouth at the mention of videos during Mass. But again……it is what it is I do suppose.

  30. maryh says:

    There’s a problem with having the video before Mass – if people find out about it, they’ll just plan to get to Mass later. I know I’d be tempted to do that.

    As to having the videos in the first place, note that if it is well done, it might expose people to things they didn’t even know existed anymore – like the ad orientem. Also, there’s a reason that advertisers use videos – done properly, they work. A talk from the pulpit can also work, but it’s just as susceptible to the quality problem as a video. In concept, you can control the quality of the video more easily than you can control the quality of a speaker. And please, someone from the finance committee is almost never someone who can give a good appeal speech.

    So what to do? How about playing the appeal video after Mass in the narthex or wherever during donut Sunday (and have really good donuts, and lots of them, so you don’t run out of them). Yes, it’s blatant bribery, but it’s much better than during Mass. You could have it loop through the appeal, maybe with pauses between loops.

    Of course, that would really test whether the appeal video is well made. It would have to be beautiful enough that people would pay attention. Shoddy quality just wouldn’t work.

    So have a test case: in some parishes, or at some Masses, play the video in the narthex with donuts; at others, play the video during Mass; at others, no video at all. And do this every quarter, instead of once or twice a year. With a different video each time of course.

    You could even have a competition for Catholic high-schoolers, or make it part of a computer/video design class. Just some ideas.

  31. wmeyer says:

    @mamajen, our archdiocese is similar: if the parish falls short, it is the parish that suffers, not the archdiocese. I won’t comment on that.

    Neither of the parishes I have attended here have put up screens, they simply point a projector at the wall.

  32. OrthodoxChick says:

    I voted for before Mass. But like everyone else, I would prefer no video. My prayer was answered this year! We had the dreaded video shown during and in place of the homily last year. This year, Father mercifully bucked the system. First he gave a very nice homily about bearing fruit like the fig tree. Then he explained the various ways we might bear fruit and he saved giving to charity/almsgiving for last. He then used almsgiving to segue into the annual appeal. He detailed all of the various charities and agencies that receive funds from our donations and he explained some services that these agencies provided. In other words, he explained everything that is in the video without making us sit through it and without having a huge video screen hoisted up in front of the altar right in the middle of Mass – thank God!

  33. acardnal says:

    PA mom, you could always email the URL link of the Madison Appeal video to your bishop. It may give him some good ideas for next year’s video.

  34. Philangelus says:

    I hate to say this, but I think during sermon time is logistically the best option for families with small children. The sad situation is that if you have really little kids, you’re already budgeting the amount of time you have until one of them falls off the seat or pokes his brother in the ribs or someone needs to use the bathroom even though he went right before church.

    Delaying the start of Mass with a video (even if there’s no homily, and thus the time gets made up) would doubtless get every parent-of-lil’uns into a fretting state of mind. Moreover, anyone who has someplace to go after Mass is also going to get a little irritated by the video appeal at the start and that might influence their decision on how much to give.

    Today I saw a mom alone, wrangling two kids under age three, and when that video came out, she looked extra-frazzled. Some people are struggling just to get to Mass at all, and if they’re going to feel further stressed or marginalized, that’s no good. (And may be an argument against having a video at all.)

    Liturgically I agree it’s better to separate the two. But for logistical reasons, I suspect “during the homily” or “in place of the homily” is here to stay.

  35. Dr. K says:

    Wow, I’m speechless at the beauty in this video. There’s no orans by the laity, no holding hands during the Our Father, no lay blessings, no waving colorful flags or gospel choirs in the sanctuary ( ).

    The churches and the Masses in the Madison video look… Catholic!

    Are you sure we can’t borrow Bp. Morlino for a couple years?

  36. In the poll, I voted before Mass, as I do not believe that Mass needs to be interrupted for any reason. (The same goes for any greetings of dignitaries and various other issues)….If there had been an option to vote for after Mass, I would have voted for then. What better time to play the video then during the coffee and donut social hour? Even if the video is well made it should never be during the Mass or Liturgy of any kind.

  37. acardnal says:

    Well, Dr. K, as Fr. Z intimated above, there is still work to do in a number of parishes in the diocese of which I am a member. ;-)

    With Bp. Morlino’s outstanding leadership and example, and the fruit of our seminarians becomes evident in the years to come after their ordination and assumption as a pastor, Truth, Goodness and Beauty will appear more and more in our parishes.

  38. phlogiston says:

    @wmeyer, I agree completely. Not only is CCHD a problem but then there’s the whole issue of Catholic Relief Services giving grants to pro-abortion organizations. The appeal for CRS is next weekend in my diocese. As long as the bishops’ response to these reports is to try to tell us that money is not fungible when we all know it is, followed by an attempt to shoot the messengers, my contribution to CRS will be exactly zero. Its a pity that I need to donate to lay organizations to make sure my contributions aren’t used to advance evil.

  39. acardnal says:

    Dr. K, I just watched the video you posted. Nuts!

    Rest in the fact that Bp. Matthew Clark is now retired. Pray that the new Pope will give Rochester a new bishop who is holy, faithful and pure.

  40. Matt R says:

    Father, I think that you idea was a good one, and this video would be a good way to frame the readings and sermon. If all appeals videos were like this, I would not only give more and feel comfortable with donating it to the Church, but would not mind the video being played.

  41. Lepidus says:

    Unless the person doing the speaking in the video (or recording as we have had) is qualified to give the sermon (i.e., ordained), it should not be at sermon time. Also, unless he is very skilled at making the appeal with respect to what a sermon should be, it still should not be at sermon time. [And how did you answer the question… the one from the top entry… which is the point?]

    One of the (few) good things they do at my parish is the option that they have chosen for the weekly announcements. I believe that the proper choices according to the Church are either after Communion (strange rule there) or before Mass. They have chosen the “before Mass” option. For example, according to the bulletin, Mass starts at 7:30, so the before-Mass-announcement start at 7:25. That is my vote if it has to be done. (We get enough junk mail about it anyway).

    As an aside, I have been doing acardnal’s suggestion for a while and giving to other worthy organizations rather than the parish. The reason is that if the parish gets the money that they want they will start a remodeling effort in the sanctuary and with our current pastor, that is not a good thing. The altar will be lowered and moved out (such that there are seats on the side as well as in the front. A mosaic of the Blessed Trinity will be partially covered so that only the Crucifix remains, since it is apparently not “right” to have an image of the Father (Sistine Chapel notwithstanding). Also, a movie screen for reasons mentioned here.

  42. pmullane says:

    Practically speaking, I can see the logic behind playing the video before mass, however I find it difficult to make a decent preparation for Holy Mass as it is, as our parish suffers from a lot of ‘chatter’ before and after Mass, so I’d prefer if videos didn’t happen then. Perhaps the point between the final blessing and the last Hymn, in the ordinary form, and the point between the Final Blessing and the Leonine prayers in the extraordinary form? At least at this point the Mass is ended, but the body of Christ is still together and it’s worship is not ended. I’d find this a fitting point for notices etc also.

  43. Hidden One says:

    Were it not the great Bishop Morlino of Madison’s own video (ad multos annos), I would have assumed that replacing the homily (or adding to the homily) with a video is a liturgical abuse in both Forms. I stand (sit) corrected.

    In any case, I voted for “before”, although at least in some parishes after might work too. I have no problem with here being an appeal, and this particular video does, with its visuals, add things that sound alone (e.g., a read-by-priest speech) cannot contain.

  44. tilden says:

    If it’s on youtube, why not direct the parishioners over there, giving the link in a leaflet or on the parish homepage.

  45. wmeyer says:

    I see that I failed to clearly speak to the question at hand. My strong preference would be to place the video before the Mass. Regardless whether we’re talking about OF or EF.

  46. Lepidus says:

    I answered the poll as “Before the Mass begins….” since I’ve never seen a good appeal worked properly into the homily. However, my recommendation is before the Mass begins…as at the time my current parish does it’s announcements, not instead of starting on time.

  47. jameeka says:

    Father Z, you did something to make this video more palatable–you actually also gave a brief sermon after the readings.
    It is extremely annoying to have a wonderful trio of readings, [Not in the Extraordinary Form!]and then have to watch a ( usually much less inspiring) video, in place of the sermon.
    Therefore, prior to Mass was a good choice in this instance.

  48. catholicmidwest says:

    The reason most parishes do it after the Gospel, instead of a homily, is that that is the time when the most ears are likely to be tuned in. If it’s done before mass, people walk in late and miss it, particularly if they’ve heard it’s coming; if it’s done after the Gospel with a homily, people complain that mass is too long; if it’s done after the reception of Holy Communion, people are likely to walk out.

    I see someone said it should be done in the hall after mass. In the parishes around here, people can’t even be bribed to the parish hall after mass with free food. They simply aren’t interested. You’d be showing the video to probably 10 people who already donate anyway, and totally missing the intended target audience.

  49. Will D. says:

    Nobody at my parish is thrilled when they see the video projector set up prior to Mass, but I don’t see more than the usual number of stragglers when the appeal video is shown, nor is the congregation more restive than usual. It’s ten minutes for a pretty worthy cause, if you ask me. Not a particular hardship.

  50. mamajen says:

    Sorry for veering off topic, Father. I did get the point of your post (I think), but didn’t successfully resist the urge to “vent” later. [Thanks. I think some discussion is fine about the merits of having anything at all, but I am really looking for the best place to do these given that in many places they have to be done.]

  51. JKnott says:

    We had the video appeal today after Mass was over. Father asked everyone to please remain to hear it and most everyone did. I actually preferred that because it was less of a distraction.

  52. teomatteo says:

    my appeal would be: video/audio before mass.
    After mass isnt great because of the large # of people who leave at communion. (10% maybe)
    During the homily seems akward and disruptive.
    The ‘extra time’ that it would take up could be gained if our priest didnt have us sing ‘happy birthday’ to people before dimissal. yeeeeee

  53. Joe in Canada says:

    If they HAVE to be done, by order of the bishop, then he, as chief liturgist in the diocese (not of the Church) should mandate when it has to be done. That would take the load of “fiddling” with the liturgy from the priest’s shoulders and place it on the one who mandated it in the first place.

  54. Ben Yanke says:

    I am quite glad that we are able to have this video. While it would be best before mass, I think this an excellent way for Bishop Morlino to reach out to the people of the diocese. While, as Fr. Zuhlsdorf said, the donations are needed, this video is also an excellent way to show the people of the diocese true beauty in a liturgical sense. While there may be some from around the diocese that attend masses with the bishop such as ordinations, this is a way to ensure everyone in the diocese sees it.

    I’m not sure if anyone noticed it or say it this way, but it almost seemed that the donation appeal is secondary , and speaking about and showing the various forms of beauty (in serving the poor, children learning about Christ, and chiefly the liturgy) is the primary focus of the video. Anyone else notice this?

  55. avecrux says:

    I voted to have it after the Gospel, at sermon time – with a sermon before or after.
    Yes, I know that is not a popular choice.
    I worked as a Coordinator of Religious Education at a parish and it has helped me to understand the *practicalities* of these situations. I am 100% devoted to the “save the liturgy – save the world” concept – but I am aware of the fact that – by and large – people need parishes to attend the liturgy. (Unless they go to a monastery, etc…) In my experience, if people are not made aware of something during that 1 hour per week, they are unlikely to find out about it.
    The reason I included the sermon before or after is because it really gives the priest an opportunity to tie the message if the video/support for the Church/parish into whatever Gospel is read that week. The prodigal son? Well – how are we going to have enough priests to hear confessions? By supporting the appeal. The temptations in the desert? Man does not live by bread alone – how will he hear the Word of God? By supporting the appeal. Peter sinking when he tries to walk on water? Do you still have faith that God works through His Church or are you sinking in the quagmire of doubt and despair? Put your money where your faith is – support the appeal.
    You get the picture.

  56. Arele says:

    I voted for after mass when we regularly have announcements at the church where I attend Sunday mass.

    Where I go to mass, we had our Annual Catholic Appeal video played in lieu of the homily/sermon the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, and then we too were walked through the name, address, etc. routine. It was like a splash of cold water as I was trying to pray and enter into the mass, and as a relatively new Catholic, I was instantly suspicious of where money I donated to was going if it was promoted by something that had to interrupt mass with a video.

    Since I live in a (currently) very liberal archdiocese, I was very suspicious and gave nothing. After church, I asked my RCIA sponsor what she thought of it all and if she had given any money that day. She said she didn’t approve at all of the interruption at mass, and was going to wait to find out what areas the money would be donated to and give directly to the causes she felt were worthy.

    I think that’s really good advice and so I’m going to do that too.

    I know that it takes money to run things, and I have no problem donating money for worthy causes, even in these hard economic times. But if someone has so little sense of the sacredness of the mass, how can they know how to use the money I donate well? That was my take-away.

  57. truthfinder says:

    Fr. Z – I mean it worked on a two-fold level. The goals were met and the reverential atmosphere was generally maintained.

    A concern with showing an appeal video before Mass is that something would bother me or I might just constantly be thinking about it, and then I couldn’t concentrate on the Mass itself.

  58. Katylamb says:

    I chose after communion if we must have a video. We have announcements just before the blessing and dismissal, and that time would be my choice. I don’t think it would be useful to do it after Mass, because people would probably not stay, and before Mass I like to pray and meditate. We have never been shown a video as far as I remember, although our last bishop used to speak to us about the DSA in some kind of audio recording during the homily time. I really hated that. :)
    Our current bishop doesn’t do that. Father talks a little about it during the homily and they mention it a few more times at announcements. It must work, because always exceed our goal.

  59. disco says:

    Before mass is definitely the way to go. Our parish plays the audio before mass because I don’t think the church is capable of video. Or the projector is “broken”. In any event we usually get the smooth voice of our Cardinal Archbishop as if from on high. He does them periodically not just for the catholic appeal but for other special collections and once for the assisted suicide bill. It’s definitely meant to replace the sermon and there is often reference made to the readings for the OF which don’t apply to us.

    It’s a part of life. Things aren’t free. I don’t like a lot of what passes for evangelization at the pastoral center, but I need it to stay open.

  60. Shonkin says:

    I voted for “before Mass” — not that it matters, of course, for several reasons.
    (1) They always start Mass 5 minutes late in my parish. It NEVER starts on time.
    (2) If you’re registered in a parish, our Diocese sends out a slick, expensive brochure out a week or two before the multimedia presentation. We fill ours out, write a check, mail it in, and ignore all the other fol de rol. Maybe I’ll go out and take a walk during the cash pitch next year.
    (3) The Diocese is trying to put the arm on people who arrive late (later than the priest, I mean) and who leave during Communion. Showing the video before or after the Mass defeats the Diocese’s money-grubbing purpose.
    By the way, we had Bishop Morlino here in Helena (MT) before they sent him to Madison. Whenever we get a really good bishop, Rome takes him away and sends him to a bigger diocese, and Bp. Morlino was no exception to that rule.

  61. To answer the question first: The appeal should be done at the beginning of Mass, regardless of whether it is ordinary form or extraordinary form. Yes, it has to be done– I don’t know of any parishes or dioceses that are able to print money. If they don’t ask, everyone assumes that some billionaire is making giant donations to the Church and that money is not needed. I also think that making a public appeal highlights that when people sue the Church– for whatever reason– the money to pay for the settlements comes from ordinary folks in the pews.

    Where I disagree is the notion that it has to be a video. That is definitely not a given. I think that videos of any sort, for whatever reason, are highly inappropriate in church. The whole notion strikes me as a violation of the boundary between the sacred and the profane. Yes, they have to make an appeal, and the time at Mass may be the only time to reach most Catholics– but not with a video. When the video starts, I feel like saying, “no, not like that– stop that– you’re not going into a video while I’m here.” Have the pastor do it, have the appeal committee leaders do it, have an imported speaker if necessary, but no videos in church, ever, and do not use the ambo for an appeal; the cantor’s lectern or music stand is more appropriate. If anyone wants to watch the video, print the Internet link in the bulletin and people can go home and watch it there. They could even have some sort of contest where you’d have to watch the video (or at least skip through it) to find the “secret” information that would gain entry into a raffle of some sort with a modest prize– but no videos in church. What next, cellular phones ringing during Mass?

    [When it comes to parish life, when Andrew Saucci writes, I read carefully. He has been at this since… heck… since when?… Andrew? How long has it been?]

  62. Sorry– one more point I almost forgot. An appeal should never, ever replace the homily. Things are too badly messed up today to skip the homily, even for a badly needed appeal. So: before, Mass, with homily, no videos is my vote.

  63. PA mom says:

    Acardnal- great idea!
    More seriously on the topic, I voted for before Mass, but we are already trained to hav it during the homily with a short accompanying homily (thank you, Fathers), so most likely, they should keep it there.

  64. Gus Barbarigo says:

    For the same reasons that eulogies are sometimes allowed *before* a Mass of Christian Burial (if they are permitted at all), the video should be shown *before* the mass: People are attentive, not yet ready to bolt for the door (I guess!), and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will not be interrupted.

    Now that I have hopefully answered the question, is there any way please to get a transcript/podcast of the sermon, in which the Good Father “reminded people about the ‘company of bad friends’, and spoke about spiritual warfare, demonic influences, and warned about the use of anything ‘occult’ at anytime in life (which should be confessed).” This sounds fascinating and informative!

  65. Evovae says:

    I voted post-Communion since that’s when we’re beginning to focus back on going out into the world and dealing with all that entails (e.g., filthy, filthy lucre).

    In terms of pure practicality, though, I think avecrux above is right about having the appeal/video at the homily, and I’d like to extend his/her suggestions :

    The main problem I have is that the appeal-for-homily has always seemed to trivialize Liturgy of the Word and break up the continuity of the Mass. We’ve just heard the readings: And Now For Something Completely Different, Fr. or Sr. SoAndSo is going to ask you for money and in doing so is going to take several minutes more than a normal homily in telling you details about his/her personal ministry that you’d probably love to hear at some other time. And after all that, then you get back to the Mass. It can be well done, but it is more often jarring. A video would only exacerbate this.

    This might help: If the video could somehow be planned to explicitly tie into the week’s readings (or at least the Gospel), that would mitigate the disruption. All it would take is a few lines like, “In this week’s 1st/2nd reading/Gospel, you heard…”; or if such specificity is too difficult for the video, then develop a brief intro/closing script for the celebrant that ties in the readings. The purpose of all this is “humanize” the experience and make it pertinent to the present Mass, so it doesn’t feel like something impersonal was just air-dropped in by people from somewhere else.

    On videos in Mass in general, while I don’t like the idea, I confess that it’s a somewhat nebulous distrust. I think it has more to do with (quite justified!) slippery slope fear about how videos would be abused than with the video/technology per se. “Spirit of Vatican II” and all that. Still, I’ve been at several Masses where I’m certain that instead of the delivered homily, it would have been more pertinent and edifying to hear a recording of one of the homilies of the Fathers on the day’s Gospel (or perhaps a recording of a homily delivered by one of the current bishops, or even the Pope). One might analogize this with the ancient practice of reading aloud epistles from one church to another. If this were to be done, perhaps cinematographic manipulation should be kept to a minimum, since we want to maintain the sense of live and direct communication rather than propaganda.

    Anyway, all of that seems like a conversation for another day.

  66. chantgirl says:

    Children tend to get crankier the longer they have to sit still- so before Mass, sans video, if possible. Married couples should really speak together about an amount they can give, so alerting people several weeks in advance of the appeal is a good idea. I would prefer a letter from the Pastor or Bishop inside the bulletin as opposed to a speech or video. A video on the parish or diocesan website would be okay too.

    On another note, many faithful Catholics have good reason to question where the money goes for some of the appeals, so cleaning up and becoming more transparent would probably increase donations from some that are holding back. Also, people tend to donate for a couple of reasons: they are trying to live a life of virtue in the hope of reaching Heaven, or they feel guilty about some aspect of their lives and are trying to assuage their consciences. When priests preach about Heaven and Hell, virtue and vice, eternal reward etc., and offer plenty of options for people to get to confession, it softens the ground and prepares people to give more generously.

    Finally, churches tend to pay more than the average lay household for the same services (contractors know there is more to squeeze from churches than households), so while the Church needs to raise money, it could probably keep more of the money it already has by judicious oversight.

  67. Imrahil says:

    I voted “after Communion”, because “before Mass, which does start at the scheduled time” was not an option.

    And I would consider myself free to leave and count the Sunday obligation as fulfilled. “After Communion” is the only possiblity where you can somewhat do this, so that’s the reason for my choice.

    We are commanded to attend Holy Mass, not to see fundraising videos and get bad consciences.

  68. boko fittleworth says:

    We had an audiotape. With gregorian chant in the background as the cardinal talked. Multi-culti “let’s celebrate ourselves, provided our selves are not European selves” music for the papal Mass, sure, but for something really important, like raising money, the cardinal knows to step up his game.

  69. Ben Yanke says:

    By the way, I don’t think the opening section is the diocesan choir. They have sung that piece on multiple occasions, but I don’t think that recording is them.

  70. An American Mother says:

    As it happens, our parish has just switched all recordings, announcements, and other non-Mass items from before Mass begins to after the post-communion prayer (even when there’s a video, we don’t do video in the church).
    Several people (including myself) had observed that the blaring loudspeakers seemed to give tacit permission to the congregation to get very loud before Mass, to the point of tramping all over the organ or choral prelude and disrupting people who were trying to pray before Mass. Our organist actually had to tell people to stop shouting across the choir loft to each other.
    Once all the announcements were moved to the end, there was a perceptible quieting down to the point that there’s a veritable hush as Mass begins, instead of a mob scene.
    Just fwiw.

  71. Magash says:

    I voted before Mass. I understand that some people would rather not sit through a video, however if Catholics (myself included) diligently tithed, as do the pagan Mormons, the Church would never have to do donation videos, so we in some sense bring it on ourselves.
    As for the CCHD I agree that it is a problem and even a cause for some diocese not receiving the levels of donation they do. Had a long talk once with our Diocesan head of charitable services trying to get teh bishop to stop giving to CCHD. He attested that he and the bishop are very careful about how money donated to the diocese for local use is managed. I agreed with him, since I keep an eye on what the diocese does. Then told him that if I thought the USCCB was as careful I’d gladly give to CCHD, but that facts had proven that they aren’t. I was unsuccessful in my appeal unfortunately.

  72. BillVW says:

    I’m not sure I fully understand the distaste for monetary appeals from the Church. I know that no one likes getting asked for money — or asking for it, for that matter. However, as the video beautifully displays, giving to this appeal is part of living the Catholic faith through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Don’t most homilies exhort the faithful to more deeply integrate the practice of the faith into their daily lives? What is so wrong with the clergy exhorting the faithful to do so in this particular way?

  73. LaudemGloriae says:

    After Communion because nothing should delay or preempt Holy Communion. It should not replace the homily. I always worry for those souls who are wandering into a Catholic church for the first time, spouses who waited and prayed years to get a family member to attend Mass just once, etc, only to get the Bishop’s Appeal video and the “filling out the form” sermon.

    Placing the video after Communion may miss those who leave Mass early, but perhaps those folks are less likely to be well-formed in the faith and contributing financially. Also, I beg, please do not insist on prompting the congregation to fill out the form on the spot. If you put me on the spot, I will pledge less. Let me go home and consult my budget, my previous giving, and my (non-Catholic, but cheerful to support the Catholic church) husband and we will give more.

  74. ndmom says:

    “If anyone wants to watch the video, print the Internet link in the bulletin and people can go home and watch it there.”

    Yes. This is what the pastors at our parish in northern Virginia would do. They would thank us for our past generosity, make a brief pitch, and refer us to the bishop’s letter in the bulletin. Don’t know whether we were supposed to conclude that if we did NOT continue in our generosity, we would be punished with the video, but the low-key approach seemed to work. During the decade we were privileged to attend that parish, we heard about money maybe 5-10 minutes every year. It therefore came as a complete shock when we attended Masses elsewhere and were subjected to the “stewardship” talks and the appeal videos. There are some things we don’t like about attending Mass at the Basilica at Notre Dame, our new home, but one blessing is that we NEVER hear about money. (And I continue to send automatic contributions to the local parish in which we duly registered but do not attend.)

  75. AnnAsher says:

    Before Mass begins. Also I’d be more responsive if my parishes pastor returned phone calls; if the Bishop answered letters.

  76. MikeM says:

    I voted for the “before Mass” option. Having it after communion would be fine with me, too, though. Having helped organize a couple of activities that received diocesan funding, and having been a beneficiary of some, too, I’m not at all bothered by a diocese making a financial appeal. Whatever gripes I might have about this or that, over the years, I’ve received great benefit in a number of ways from the activities of the Archdioceses of Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington (and I owe some debt of gratitude to a couple of other dioceses, too). I’ve also seen them do a lot of good for the poor, the sick, etc. The Church’s activities need funding… it needs to carry out fundraising appeals. I wish I had more money so that I could contribute more to their financing… sitting through the occasional fundraising pitch seems like the least I can do.

    It DOES, however, irritate me a little when those appeals are made at the expense of a part of Mass. Ultimately, I want the Church to have money so that it can preach and carry out the Sacraments, leading souls closer to Christ… When those are the priority, I feel particularly inclined to give what little I can. When they start taking a back seat to asking for money, the appeals don’t resonate as much.

  77. He has been at this since… heck… since when?… Andrew? How long has it been?

    The earliest known samples of my writing on topics Catholic probably date back to the middle 1990’s, when I discovered the Catholic Online Forum on CompuServe and I was only marginally self-employed with lots of spare time on my hands. In the fall of 1998, I first started wandering around the parishes of my diocese for Sunday Mass, and it was around that time that I also undertook the task of creating a directory of parish Mass schedules in my diocese, before Mass Times, and when Internet was more like the Old West. Part of that project involved me driving around the diocese to collect printed bulletins, which I did on a regular basis for a few years. Naturally, I read those for more than just the Mass schedule. Since then, after I obtained gainful employment, I have cultivated a habit of attending daily Mass at a different parish every day (rarely the same one twice in one week), and I can’t walk past a Church without collecting a bulletin; I brought home seven in the last two days. So for fourteen years now, I have developed what I consider to be a well-rounded view of the Church by “getting around.” Hopefully, that helps make my writing worth reading.

    I want to take a moment to elaborate on two reasons why I just detest appeal videos, since our moderator has expressed some measure of interest. (I actually was practicing the virtue of self-editing in my earlier remarks and tried to stay as close to the original question as I could.) First, video screens and projectors are simply not sacred objects. They just don’t belong in the nave of a church (and definitely not in the sanctuary!). That is a lesser objection than my second reason; I suppose that this first objection could be cleared simply by blessing the projector and/or screen, but even if you bless a barbeque lighter, it is still a barbeque lighter and really is inappropriate for lighting candles at Mass. A video screen or monitor is… well, it is what it is, even if you bless it, and perhaps for that reason some things should not be blessed.

    The second objection pertains to what I think in my own mind when someone says “video.” I have been at Mass in the Archdiocese of New York (and perhaps elsewhere; I don’t recall specifically) on appeal day in some or another parish. If we were talking about a ten-minute talk given by the bishop and just the bishop as he stands in front of a blank wall with a crucifix, that would perhaps not be too irritating and would not compromise the sacred character of a church any more than if the bishop personally appeared to make his appeal. The videos I’ve seen, however, are slick, Madison Avenue- style productions, and that’s where they start to lose me. That is simply inappropriate for presentation in a church, particularly just before and especially during Mass, and it doesn’t really matter why it’s being done.

    I will close by adding something really important here. When I say that something a bishop has authorized is inappropriate, I am not questioning his authority to do it. What is importatnt to remember, however, is that the authority of bishops is not limited to doing smart, wise, constructive, or wonderful things. Bishops have the authority to do stupid things, too. Unfortunately, in many cases, they get bad advice. They’re human. They make bad judgments. But they still have the authority and we do have to respect that even as we swallow hard, and when they really do ill-advised things, we need to pray for them and give thanks when they make a smart decision. Then we need to pray for ourselves, that we are truly seeing things as they ought to be seen and are not being confused in pride. If a bishop wanted to explain to me why I’m wrong, I will always be happy to listen and learn. We’re all in this together.

  78. Ben Yanke says:

    First, video screens and projectors are simply not sacred objects.

    The same could be said for microphones.

  79. mschu528 says:

    The same could be said for microphones.

    Indeed, but the Holy See has explicitly forbidden the use of video projectors in churches (see the first comment on this post above); microphones, on the other hand, have been permitted (§ 72 of the same Instruction).

    That said, there is really no need for a microphone except perhaps for the homily.

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