we prayed

A common complaint, voiced by many, is that the Mass is boring, rooted in ritual that never varies and that this unwavering sameness is the principle reason many choose not to attend. After all, if you attended one Mass you have experienced everything that you possibly could through a lifetime of Masses, therefore, why waste your time and energy on such a repetitive exercise?

Last weekend, along with over 45,000 of my closest friends from around the world, I had the opportunity to experience the Mass — rooted in ritual — through new found and profound differences. Three Masses, attended over three days, while the same, were completely unique. And yet all were wonderful opportunities to praise and glorify God in the greatest possible way.

Now I must admit that some of those experiences were not my ‘cup of tea’ but they were to many thousands of others in attendance. You could see it in their faces and hear it in their voices. It was a gathering of joy and thanksgiving to God that one seldom has the opportunity to experience.

Praying the Lord’s Prayer with 20,000 or more is an overwhelming and awe inspiring experience. With one voice we prayed; what a sound! That most perfect of prayers, given to us by Jesus, prayed as it was intended in communion and unison with so many souls, left me humbled by our petition. It is a moment I will never forget.

The beauty of the Mass performed and prayed in Hawaiian was quite simply, wonderful. Respect and honor to their elders is a central tenet of their culture and they incorporate that into their Mass by seating a representative of their elders at a place of honor at the table. The song and dance incorporated within the Mass were steeped in their culture and provided a wonderful and new experience to all who were in attendance.

A “gospel” Mass is, if nothing else, a moment of sheer joy. Actually, it was nearly 270 minutes of joyous celebration that felt as though it went short. Every moment of the celebration — and it was a celebration — was expressed with unbounded enthusiasm and joy. It was contagious and uplifting, it was a sanctifying expression of our love of God and our thanks for all that He has done for us. Almost two and one-half hours and it was not nearly enough, far from it. Think about it. Over 20,000 Catholics from around the world at Mass, en mass, enjoying a celebration that inspired them, enthralled them, kept them praying as one body, giving praise and glory to God for that length of time, leaving us wanting more. Mass…boring? Not in that church.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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