Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good Shepherd Sunday: Cute Trumps All

While the rector of the Cathedral is away on vacation, a substitute priest - who is retired, and recently celebrated the 50th anniversary his priestly ordination - has been taking over the pastoral duties.

This Sunday, of course, is "Good Shepherd" Sunday in the new liturgical calendar. And Father decided to use a "prop" (his word) to illustrate something about Jesus the Good Shepherd.

So, he brought in a lamb named Curly-Jo to Mass. He had the lamb's owner bring the lamb forward when he began his homily.

He held the lamb and talked about the Passover story from the Old Testament. And he talked a little bit about Jesus being the good shepherd and all...

And then he carried the lamb down the center aisle so that the children could pet it. Adults could do the same, he said, since "we are all children at heart." And he noted that this was such a good thing to do for the children because "they'll always remember this". 


Was it cute? You betcha. And as we all know, cute trumps all in the Novus Ordo. Yep, cute trumps all.

But the church is not a stable. Mass is not a circus. The Cathedral does not shouldn't run a petting zoo.

Thanks be to God we did not have the children's choir at this Mass (Saturday evening); they surely would have sung "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and we'd have heard all about how that song is really about Jesus and His Mother, and so it's entirely appropriate to sing it at Mass.

Our daughter, who went to the Sunday morning Mass, reports that Father decided that he would "take a chance" and set the lamb down to see if it would follow him. It didn't. Apparently, it does not know his voice.

She also reports that another parishioner rolled his eyes and muttered, "We have three more weeks of this." Another parishioner I know has made arrangements to go to Mass elsewhere for the time Father will be subbing (he's been here before; people know what to expect).

And the clincher: our daughter was so irritated with the liturgical shenanigans that now she feels that she needs to go to confession. That's not how Mass should affect us.

Really, I think it's time for the NO Mass to be outgrown.


  1. Wow ~ I can't begin to top that one! That's almost funny if it weren't so outrageous, at Mass. Oh my. I thought it sad that at the Mass I went to today, Father used his Homily time to tell us all that WE are called to be the good shepherd, to one another. WE need to go out and get those lost sheep and bring them back to the fold. He made mention of Jesus at the very begining and maybe once or twice more, but overall the message for us to take away was all about us and what we are to be to one another, you know, in our "faith community". Eeek. Maybe it's just me; is that generally the way that Gospel passage is taught? It's only recently that I've been forced to attend a Novus Ordo Mass so my perception might be off.

    Before I read this post, I was sitting here imagining what it would be like if one or more of the priests at that parish had some kind of an awakening, and at Mass one Sunday, started preaching a sermon on sin, conversion, growing in faith, virtues, heaven, hell, death, purgatory, how to pray, etc., etc., let alone perhaps mentioning something on contraception, sterilization, IVF, abortion, homosexuality. Picturing that in my mind's eye, I realized how utterly shocking that would be to those church-goers. Usually, it's as if they're talking to the kids at their school, or adults at a pseudo-Catholic event outside of the Mass.

    I'm not saying they wouldn't like it, a REAL Catholic sermon; maybe they would and that I'm not the only one. It just made me realize how far we've gone to imagine that scenario being so strange. All we have been fed on, the Novus Ordo crowd that is, is baby food or worse, for so long now that for most of these parishioners, a sermon like the ones regularly given by a traditional priest from the FSSP, SSPX, Institute of Christ the King, would be utterly shocking.

  2. Elizabeth, I think you hit the nail on the head: "baby food or worse"! In the Cathedral parish, it's been going that way for awhile; the priest likes to do things that cater to or involve children, but in so doing, he waters down the Mass and makes it infantile, rather than raising children who will mature into faithful Catholics who are reverent and mindful of Jesus in the Eucharist.

  3. I have to ditto what Elizabeth said about what was said at her Mass. We have a deacon in training from Mt. Angel. He went on and on about how he was out walking among a flock of sheep in the hills of Nevada and was talking to the sheep herders. It was all about us going out and gathering up the sheep. That is all well and good but isn't the bishop the shepherd and we are the sheep? On another note our barefoot music director was away this week. We had her mother at the piano and the organ. She is from the Baptist church. But at least she had her shoes on. She tried hard but we had to read the Gloria. I guess she didn't know the music or maybe she didn't want to play that music.


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