Recently, my wife and I got in the car to drive to church for Sunday Mass. We typically make this half-hour journey each week even though we have a half-dozen parishes within 10 minutes of our home! Why? Because we’re liturgical snobs! Seriously though, our experience of the local parishes has been mediocre at best, with liturgy celebrated (I hesitate to even use that word) in a very perfunctory manner. We typically seek 3 things: good music, good presiding and preaching, and a reverent/participating assembly.
On this particular Sunday, we had a very busy day planned. As we were driving by one of the local churches on our way to our usual parish, we saw people heading to the door for the start of Mass. At the last second, we decided to just stay local and gain an extra hour of time for the rest of the day’s activities by not having to drive so far.
Within minutes, we were reminded of why we drive a half hour each Sunday!
No one other than the cantor sang any of the songs and the cantor’s mic didn’t work very well so she could barely be heard (strike one). The organist played as if in a roller rink (strike two). For the homily, the priest did something that drives me crazy: he basically re-told the story that was just proclaimed in the Gospel moments before, as if he thought we weren’t listening (strike three).
Rest assured, this past week, we drove 30 minutes to go to our usual parish!