Our parish is led by a priest who was educated in a notoriously liberal theology school in Manila. And those who were members of the Worship Committee were sent to this school for liturgical training. So you probably have a picture of where this is leading.
I used to be an organist and choir member of our parish.
I will never forget this Christmas Eve Mass where we sang.
The Mass started at 9PM. There were flaglets being waved by the people during the Entrance Hymn.
The Gospel was acted out. Real live actors. While the commentator played the part of story teller. Our parish priest just said "A reading from the Holy Gospel..." Joseph and Mary was asking for a place to stay. And they were asking the people in the church, one by one, tugging our shirts. Literally. No really. Literally.
When it came for the time for Mary to give birth. She did.
The pillow on the actress playing Mary was thrown away by a quick moving altar server and out came...
a one year old baby. No joking. No, literally. A one year old baby.
After the Gospel, no homily! We were surprised. Wondered why.
The Mass went on. More dancing and flag waving during the Offertory.
During the consecration, we were surprised to see a huge...bread, lifted up by our dear parish priest. No literally. A brown thing. Almost like a huge burger bun that would make the biggest quarter pounder of McDonald's squirm in fear.
After the consecration of the wine, which I am, at this point, not sure if it is the prescribed pure grape wine, our parish priest stopped. The commentator asked all of us who were kneeling for the consecration to take their seats. Our charismatic parish priest, who would give Bob Barker a run for his money for his dynamic hosting job, took a wireless microphone and...delivered his homily. No joking. Really. He just did.
And so on he talked for...30 minutes. Of a homily of why we should...
Give love on Christmas day! No joking. No, literally. He just did.
And after the homily, he continued with the Eucharistic Prayer. By the way it was Eucharistic Prayer 2, the almost staple Canon for the Mass. He said it for under 5 minutes. Guess his homily was better than the Canon of the Mass. And during the entire time, the actors (Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus) was still up in the sanctuary, on the left side. By that time, the baby playing Baby Jesus, was hungry. The poor kid was crying. So his real mom went up the sanctuary to...give him a feeding bottle full of milk. That made the people laugh...in the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer. No joking. We all did, including me. We imagined the Baby Jesus feeding on a feeding bottle.
Then, it was quite normal from then on. The usual hand grabbing during the Our Father. The hugging and kissing during the Sign of Peace. Or so I thought.
For after greeting each other "Peace." Our dear parish priest asked those in attendance to bring out the gifts they have brought and instead of just saying peace, to give the gift to the one seating near them. We had a grand exchange of gifts. No joking. Literally, we did.
But surprisingly, the Communion was orderly.
After Communion, our dear parish priest ran a list of those who made this event "successful". Each of the members of the parish's worship committee was acknowledged and applauded.
Remember the actors up on stage?
They were still there, up to the very end of the Mass, baby crying and all.
The Mass started at 9PM and ended at 11:30PM. The poor baby was already asleep.
Traditionally, an image of the baby Jesus is carried by the priest so that the faithful may kiss and venerate the image.
Traditionally...bad word I think. Maybe because it was traditional so...that part was omitted. After the Mass, no image kissing or veneration.
The people were startled. They must be thinking "What do we do? Who do we kiss?" They found their answer.
The people approached the sleeping baby, touched him...and made the sign of the cross.
No joking. They did.
The poor baby was startled and cried.
I wish Dan Brown helped me write this but he didn't. This is all true. I am a witness to all of this.
Is this the liturgy you want to go to? Is this how we worship God? Is this God's work or the work of some frustrated stage actor or director?
Now people are asking me to be more charitable towards those who love bastardizing the Mass as if this were their own little repertory.
Honestly, this was probably one of the reasons why I love the Traditional Latin Mass. Don't get me wrong. I attend the Novus Ordo Mass celebrated in a parish where I do not have Bozo the Clown celebrating it.
But things aren't supposed to be that way. My college graduation was more solemn. The silent drills of cadets in the Philippine Military Academy is more precise and awe-inspiring.
But this is the Mass! Calvary once again. With Christ as the victim and offerer!
We came to worship, not to be entertained.
A reason why I am a survivor of liturgical abuse in parish (SLAP)
1. Close that damn theology school.
2. Reorient parish liturgical committees. Make them attend a talk by an FSSP priest or by Father Z!
3. Send our parish priest to Rome. Maybe have him financially audited. Make him sign a profession of faith and make him serve the Mass of Pope Benedict or of Father Z or those in EWTN.
That'll steer them back to the right course.