“Superhero Vigil” at parish in @DioceseOfScr

In the Diocese of Scranton, for the Easter Vigil at Corpus Christi parish in W. Pittson, PA.  Superhero Vigil Mass.  HERE

Does this this good to you?

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  1. Joy65 says:

    WHAT in the world is that about? God have mercy on us and on the whole world.

  2. Mat. Anna says:

    This hurts my heart. I’m not Catholic, but I was as a child, and it was nothing like this. ? Lord have mercy.

  3. cengime says:

    Reason #1 for the Tridentine Holy Week indult…

  4. maternalView says:

    What is it about people who think children are not capable of appreciating the majesty of the Catholic faith?

    The Fatima seers certainly could. As did many other young saints.

    The 18 alter boys at our vigil last night certainly could.

  5. Spinmamma says:

    Such a sad contrast to the beautiful and reverent Easter Vigil I was privileged to attend. Was this the actual Vigil or some special children’s program? I am asking because it appears to be daylight outside.

  6. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I just said “That’s outrageous” out loud to myself.

  7. billy15 says:

    Actually looks like this was from this morning’s Mass, going off of the time stamp and title of the post. But anyways, one of the comments on the Facebook page below the pictures was “The kids all loved this Mass.” Well of course they did. And if Mickey Mouse or Thomas the Tank Engine showed up at Mass, went up to the altar, talked for a bit, and then gave my two year old and my three year old candy while we sat in the pews, they would love it too. Does that mean this was a good idea? Clearly the answer is “no”.

    As a parent of young children, I’m appalled a Catholic parent, much less a parish, would be fine with this. Those involved with this should be ashamed with themselves. This comment isn’t meant to be hateful. I’m not name-calling anyone either. I simply want to make clear that our children deserve better than what happened at this Scranton parish for Easter Mass. I take my children to Mass to come to know Jesus. To come to see Him in the Eucharist, and in images of Him all around us. I don’t take our kids to church to see Superman or Batman. Such activities can be done outside of Mass, or outside of church. Maybe they were teaching kids a great lesson, I don’t know… but in the context of the Holy Mass? Appalling. Absolutely appalling.

    Again, my kids would love it if Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck were on the stage… I mean altar.

    Wow… I’m not even going to edit that sentence. That’s literally what came to mind and to my fingers as I typed: “stage”, instead of altar, and that should be telling. The Mass was turned into a theatrical play in that church this morning. But just because my kids would like to see their favorite TV characters in church doesn’t mean we should let that happen. If we can’t connect to them with the truths of our Catholic faith without resorting to bringing in their favorite superheroes, something is wrong.

    Below is a link to what my 2 and 3 year old kids experienced in church this Easter morning. Matins, with a procession around the church, and a beautiful Divine Liturgy with everyone joyfully shouting over and over again “Christ is risen!” “Indeed He is risen!” Seeing no pictures of our Lord in the Eucharist on the Facebook post for this particular Mass, but several pictures of Superman, I really do have to honestly wonder where the focus was at in the church. Apparently, this parish has been consolidated. Two parishes have become one, as has been happening throughout the United States. My guess is from low attendance and people leaving the parish, or the faith itself. One has to wonder if dressing up as comic book heroes was a normal thing at the original two parishes.

    In any case, I’ll take what my wife, children, and I experienced this morning any day. I hope that the children at this Scranton parish can experience something similar to it one day. My children come to church to know Christ, not the Easter Bunny or Batman:


  8. Emilio says:

    May Our Risen Lord forgive them and have mercy on them for their sacrilege. I hope the faithful of the Scranton Diocese bombard their Diocesan Chancery with respectful calls and emails requesting appropriate action, to ensure this never happens there again.

  9. APX says:

    Would this not be sacrilegious? And I thought the dramatic cantor with tambourine in hand singing the Canticle of the Free from the pulpit while accompanied by an accordion at my first Easter Vigil was over the top weird and inappropriate for Mass. I would have walked out of this.

  10. Rob83 says:

    I went into their bulletins to see if there was context behind this. It appears that at the “family” Mass held here, a bit before Lent, they had these 4 superheros come in as “guests” and the story is that they’d lost their powers and needed the kids to do “good deeds” during Lent to get them back. The kids were supposed to drop little papers of such deeds into containers in front of various altars to help each hero. I’m guessing the heroes appeared at the vigil was to announce that the kids were successful, though that’s just a guess since the bulletin was silent on this.

    Honestly, I think I felt less ill before I read what the intention of this was. It’s bad enough to conflate the very real risen Lord with fictitious superheros – which apparently no adult involved in this realizes implies, however subtly, that Jesus is also a fiction – but to apply such deception to get the kids to do good works…is there a triple face palm option?

  11. billy15 says:


    I think this’ll work perfectly for your triple face palm.


    And yea, hearing the context makes it even work. How about having the kids light a candle and say some prayers for a sick person or a deceased relative? Seems more efficacious then dropping messages of good deeds into containers for superheroes.

  12. Matt C. Abbott says:

    Oh my… (SMH)

  13. ServusChristi says:

    Along with ‘Turn towards the Lord again”, we should add “Make mass reverent again”. I think it starts at the very top where we see things such as the ‘Tango mass’.

  14. CatholicNerdGirl says:

    I looked at some of the photos on their website. The “Haunted Rectory” was horrible for a Catholic institution to put on. What are thes people thinking? Is the pastor not Catholic? Very sad!!

  15. Facta Non Verba says:

    April Fool’s Day prank post Father Z?

  16. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Not to mention there really ARE Holy Souls in Purgatory who would benefit from the offering of the kids “good deeds” and prayers.

    Instead the cartoon superhero idols were given an “offering”. And these adults actualized the graven images of the cartoon idols. Literally, these children were told to offer up their “good deeds” for fictitious superheroes instead of offering them up for deceased relatives.

    What an appalling lack of supernatural Faith at best, if not frank idolatry at worst. I would love for someone to explain to me how teaching children to offer “good works” to graven images of fictitious super human characters is not at least bordering on idolatry. If one of the parents was dressed as the superhero Thor would it have been? What about Zeus or Apollo?

    Whatever this is, it is not Catholic.

  17. rtjl says:

    Rob 83,
    You make me think that what’s going on here is a case of what our friend, Fr. Longenecker, often refers to as Moral Therapeutic Deism run amok. It doesn’t really matter what you believe in or how you worship as long as you’re a nice person and it makes you feel good. Do good deeds and feel good. That’s all that matters.

    Of course doing good deeds and feeling good (if you can) is OK – but is it really enough? Is that really all we are about?

    In 15 to 30 years. these kids will be saying “What’s all this ritual stuff about. I don’t get anything out of the Mass. I don’t get it.” Those who have any religious impulses left will be heading to the nearest evangelical mega church where the entertainment is much better. Those who don’t have any religious impulses left will be heading to the golf course or the beach on Sunday morning. Where they won’t be is in a Catholic church.

  18. Suburbanbanshee says:

    On the bright side, it would seem that Diana, formerly a pagan Amazon princess, has decided to convert to Catholicism as well as to the American Way.t

    Shrug. It is stupid and should be deprecated, and roleplaying is best done outside Mass. But the idea of secular heroes being co-opted is not new, as witness the mosaics in Romanesque cathedrals of pagan heroes like Theseus and Jason. (As types of Jesus entering the labyrinth-like human existence on Earth to defeat Satan, or the Harrowing of Hell; and of “stealing” humanity from the serpent.) Nor is the Church against drama and role-playing games of virtue, in their places; the medieval Church often used such things for Lent preparation or Easter visual aids.

    Dressing up as saints, and doing it at CCD class instead of Mass, would have made more sense. But it would have been more humble for the adults to honestly present the activity as a spiritual bouquet, to ask honestly for the kid’s help and prayers, and for them to join the effort themselves.

  19. LarryW2LJ says:

    I agree with Rob83. This was a very bad idea. Sooner or later these kids are going to grow up and find out their “super heroes” were never real. Are they going to group Jesus in with that bunch? And don’t say “That could never happen.” because the Domestic Church is nowhere as it should be. I am involved in a Whole Community Catechesis program in our Parish as an adult mentor/instructor and it’s shocking to me what many parents don’t know. Sigh. Kids having kids.

    If the parents/adults in this parish had a firm grip on their faith, “Masses” (if you could even call it that) like this would never happen.

  20. Henry Edwards says:

    Corpus Christi Episcopal (or Lutheran) Parish? Nothing about the service looks “Catholic”, and (thankfully) don’t see the word anywhere on their home page.

  21. Simon_GNR says:

    Unbelievable. Absurd. Irreverent. Let’s hope the local bishop gets to hear about this sacrilege and disciplines the parish priest accordingly.

  22. ThePapalCount says:

    Out of order. Plain and simple. This would have been OK as a performance in the church hall…part of a pageant perhaps but this is not the Liturgy of the Easter Vigil by a stretch. Garbage.
    And the bishop of this diocese, once he learns of this, needs to call the priest in. We can only pray. But this speaks loudly about the spiritual/pastoral leadership at Corpus Chrisiti.

  23. Michael Haz says:

    I am reminded again that I love the Latin Mass. Truly, I do.

  24. frjim4321 says:

    I have a friend who, as presider, adopts some kind of character/costume for Christmas, but I’m not sure about Easter. What I don’t get is, in other respects, he seems pretty balanced.

    I avoid references to popular culture because in a sense the Church has it’s own culture, and we need to begin developing literacy in that regard from a rather early age.

    For example, dressing up as saints is a good way for costumery while staying within the culture of the Church. I daresay stories of real saints rival fictional characters.

  25. majuscule says:

    Since the superheroes are fictional characters, it seems like this would be encouraging young people to believe the same about God.

    And I don’t think Wonder Woman’s attire is a good example for anyone to wear to church.

    Our priests are the real superheroes when they are in persona Christi.

  26. Benedict Joseph says:


  27. MamaKid says:

    God help us. And then they wonder why the young people think God is a fairy tale. UGH! Bring back the glory and majesty of TRUE Catholicism. When I was a little kid, I understood SOMETHING was very SPECIAL when I was in a building that was lit with Candles instead of can lights, the music was CHANTED instead of American Idolized, scented with INCENSE and not Carpet Fresh and the Priests and MEN and BOYS serving Mass in clothing not seen elsewhere….with GENUFLECTION and Kneeling at the ALTAR – AT 4 years old I KNEW WORSHIPPING GOD IS SOMETHING SPECIAL and not CORNY like Saturday morning cartoons!

  28. JustaSinner says:

    Paraphrasing Robert Downey Jr from Tropic Thunder: They went full retard. Never go full retard!

  29. comedyeye says:

    The parish has taken down the photos from their FaceBook page.

  30. QuietContemplative says:

    Father, I think you may have shamed them into taking most of them down! All I can find are a couple with superhero themed boxes in front of the altar… which just goes to show how little they understand about what was wrong with what they did. Something so crass up with the altar itself is just as bad as someone in a costume up there. And people wonder why I get twitchy when folks propose any sort of “modernizing” or “making things relevant.”

    *shudders in horror*

    Their faith should teach them fear of God. I’m sorry that it seems to have instead fallen on your shoulders to do so.

  31. Amerikaner says:

    What, no villains? Where is the mercy?

  32. defenderofTruth says:

    Please pray for our Diocese. It is in the midst of a vocational crisis in which most of the younger priests know what needs to be done, but get drastic pushback from the laity, and ultimately, the bishop’s office.

    While the bishop is very generous to the FSSP, he is less generous to parishioners who crave Tradition. Then again, he has his hanss full in Scranton and its surrounding areas…

  33. This is an example of what I call the “two good things” fallacy. To wit: just because each of two things are good, doesn’t mean they are good together. Barbeque is good. Ice cream is good. But it does not follow that barbeque with ice cream on top is good.

  34. e.e. says:

    What were they even trying to do with this? The LifeTeen skit you posted I can sort of see what they were trying to do (although I don’t think the skit belongs in Mass). But this? I just don’t get it.

    Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman are all fictional characters. Like a prior poster said, my 3-year-old would be thrilled if Thomas the Tank Engine or other fictional characters “showed up” at Mass — but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea by any means. I’m trying to teach my 3 year old that superheroes and cartoon characters are fictional, but Jesus and the saints are real. Mixing things up like this parish did, with superhero costumes at Mass, is only likely to mix things up in kids’ minds and confuse them about the distinction between fictional and real. The banner “superheroes don’t always wear capes” also sends a confusing message. It’s true, of course — the heroes of the faith don’t wear capes. But why not simply spend a short homily directed at children talking about how Jesus is so much better than all the fictional “superhero” characters? Or the saints are so much better than those characters? Having the costumed characters show up undermines any message you’re trying to get across about how Jesus and the saints are real but the characters are fictional. All the kids will remember is, Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman are real because they came to Mass.

  35. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    Oh, Hell, no!

  36. e.e. says:

    Father, after looking at the parish’s Facebook page, I think that the “superhero” theme perhaps was part of all of Lent. There are photos from February 4 about kids helping superheroes through their Lenten journey. So… maybe the superhero thing wasn’t a random one-time thing, but 6 weeks of focused messages and activities for kids. It’s really hard to tell from their Facebook page.

    Not that this makes it appropriate for costumed superheroes to show up at Mass, of course — but it does make it a little more understandable as to the “why” of that one Mass (as part of an ongoing, albeit misguided, theme).

    I wonder if this theme wasn’t a Vacation Bible School curriculum that a DRE repurposed to be for Lent?

  37. Jenson71 says:

    Malta, your use of the word “unreal” is on point. I didn’t think anyone outside of underground klan groups still passed on those infamous stories of MLK‘s escapades. I highly recommend you consider some of the intent behind the production of those memos.

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  39. William says:

    Whenever traditional Catholics bring up the liturgy, eventually the “clown mass” comes up and others, especially the I-vote-Republican-but-I-hate-Catholic-traditionalists types, roll their eyes and say, “That is an extreme example that happened a long time ago, somewhere, no one even knows! That doesn’t happen any more!”

    Well, now we can MARVEL at the “Superhero Mass”

  40. Hb says:

    When a friend of mine who is Chancellor of another diocese texted these pictures to me before they were posted here, I was beyond words. Now as the Octave comes to a close all I can say is
    sacrilege, sacrilege, sacrilege. God have mercy on them.

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