Renewal and growth in the Church
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,087
    This is one case study:

    I am St. Luke Church in Palm Springs,Fla. My pastor came to this church 2 and half years ago. The parish was at 1500 families. The pastor set three goals:

    Renewal of the liturgy through singing the propers, dialogues and removing bad hymnody,music,etc.
    Re-intergration of the school to the parish in terms of liturgical life (parish and school masses had been separate)
    Re-introduction of Latin to the parish in the Ordinary across the board ( English and Spanish masses)

    After the introduction began, a loss of 200 families occurred.
    In the first year, the parish grew from 1500 families to 1900 families.
    This past year, the parish reported a growth to 2300 families and the school added 40 new students.

    I point this out as this is one of the fastest growing parishes in the Palm beach diocese. And to say that there are many gimmicky programs to renew parish life and growth.

    Simple renewal of the liturgy, "recovering" the tradition and teaching it to the young....renewal from the heart of the tradition.

    From the land of palm trees, retirees and great beaches,
    Kevin
  • Kevin,

    Your pastor is to be thanked for not taking his attention away from the end goal when 200 families left the parish. (No, the goal is not the increase in the number of families, but the increase of families' participation in the inner life of the Trinity).
  • I know at least 2 priests that would have called the whole thing off when those first 200 families left.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,079
    200 families is a huge amount! Thanks be to God they were replaced with 1,000! It warms my heart to no end that he had the courage of his convictions, stuck it out through the early strife, and now has seen tremendous growth. Such a wonderful success story, Kevin!
  • I wonder if any of the 200 who left later became part of the 1,000.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,079
    I'd be interested to know that, too, Stimson.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,087
    Yes he beleives that some of the 200 did come back. The parish keeps a rather detailed census so I am sure its the case.
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,067
    This is a wonderful story!!
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • It's paralleled in the Bread of Life Discourse. Jesus reveals the truth about himself and people walk away because the road is hard. The Bible doesn't tell us how many of those who left Him that day eventually returned.
  • How many of the 1000 who came, came from other parishes? How do the numbers stack up at regional / deanery level? Is it true growth, ie converting new hearts and minds to Jesus (or winning back lapsed ones), or just moving deck chairs?

  • There is a basically cynical mind-set on display here (and elsewhere from time to time on our forum). It is tiring and callously offensive, and patently (c)rude. It doesn't matter one whit where these people came from, whether they are from other parishes or are converts, whether they are returning, all the above, or whether anything at all else. They have chosen 'the better part', and moving furniture around has nothing to do with it, thank you.

    The glorious aspect of this is that a large number of people are attracted to what is going on liturgically and spiritually in this parish, and that is cause for a Te Deum. Tales such as this should bring forth naught but great rejoicing by us, for it is evident that the spiritual, cultural, and aesthetical needs of a large number of people (not to mention the Lord's due) are being met here - and aren't being met elsewhere. Heaven knows that there is no dirth of places that are technically Catholic which couldn't care less about these people and their needs. And, heaven knows that they do their share of siphoning off the grinches who don't like the sort of flower that is blossoming in this bed.

    DEO GRATIAS!

    (Meanwhile, Walsingham has almost doubled its membership in the very last few years.
    Let them who have ears..... )
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,087
    I posted this to say to those who are obsessive about looking for "new" ways to reform and encourage growth. The goals were simple and not necessarily intended to stimulate growth. In fact, my pastor was just as surprised as anyone else that the parish made such growth. He decided those goals because he simply wanted the parish to literally "remember" their Catholic identity.

    There are many tools and materials out there to develop and grow parishes. Some of them are patently bogus in their origination points and some do not even bother "being" Catholic. My point to all this was to remind and help those of us in this business of liturgical and musical reform that there are and continue to be success stories, despite the naysayers of PrayTell and other "progressive" depots of information. This work takes courage and patience and prayer and love of God and community. I am appreciative of my pastor's work and am grateful to participate in furthering this cause.

    For every success story there are many that are not inclined to lift a finger and some just don't care. We need the success stories to fuel our imagination and lift our spirits.

    Sitting under a palm tree today,
    Kevin
  • ...posted this to say...

    Magnificent!
    What integrity and faith!
    That makes it even better.

  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,437
    Keep an eye out for alligators, Kevin. : )
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,099
    Keep an eye out for alligators, Kevin. : )


    and displaced Yankees! ;-) Their bite is worse and they are soooo ill tempered.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,437
    I might say the same about Johnny Rebs, Charles W, but I'll refrain. If you only knew what happened to us last summer after we crossed the Mason-Dixon line. One son prophetically said as we passed the line, "Watch out, guys, things could get weird down here." And they did, indeed, (but mostly, we had a very good time).

    Doo-dee-doo-dee-doo- (Twilight Zone music).
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,099
    You will have to share that one, Julie.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • and displaced Yankees carpetbaggers! ;-)


    Corrected that for you.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,816
    That's must be the hospitality for which the South is, um, well known.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,099
    In East Tennessee, we are not really in "the South," but are in the Appalachians. My relatives in Savannah remind me of that regularly. LOL.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,437
    Let me just say it had to do, in retrospect, with the natives perhaps drinking too much corn whiskey, and one son not realizing until too late (after a vicious slap across the face in a room full of people) that otherwise charming Southern girls consider the name "Yahweh" to be a swear word. If nothing else, it was a chance to admire my son's graceful response to a really shocking assault and to wonder at the indifference of all the onlookers.

    That wasn't the only bizarre behavior we observed below the Mason-Dixon line, but that made us all vow to stay in Yankee country for a long time to come.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,099
    How odd. I have never seen that before.
  • Julie,

    I call incidents like this much more the fruit of the self-appointed protocol police. I would, therefore, be hard-pressed to tar and feather all Southern folk with the same brush.

    On the other hand, it should be noted that the fact that one is quickly on first-name basis with everyone (unless one insists otherwise or is of an age to be treated as a visiting dignitary) does not indicate inclusion.
    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,437
    I really don't mean to make generalizations and stereotypes, CGZ, and apologize heartily for any offense. I lived in Virginia for some time and made many friends there, but you're definitely onto something about overly "nice" people and back slappers, (and face slappers) regardless of where they live.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,902
    What a puzzling story: there are enough Southern hymns that call God "Jehovah" to provide for constant slapping, if that's one's idea of a good time.
    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • When I was small uttering the Sacred Name was seen as a nasty Protestant habit*. It gradually crept into the repertoire of songs used in Catholic worship after VII, and was banned (in worship) explicitly in 2008.
    *That's how we thought then, my ecumenical views have changed, somewhat.
    Thanked by 2JulieColl hilluminar
  • Julie,

    I'm not a Southerner, so I don't take personal offence at your characterization, and I'm sorry if my casting the issue the way I did suggested otherwise. I did live in the "buckle of the Bible belt" for 13 years. My fonder memories of Southerners, however, are from my high school, where two teachers (one in Literature and one in History) presented the South in a good light by example.
    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,437
    It was quite a shock, and we're still reeling from the experience a little bit. My lawyer son wanted to press charges since there were welts on his brother's face, but we decided to leave quietly and never come back. The conversation went something like this:

    Older Man: (slightly drunk, singing) 'Yahweh, I know you are near . . ."

    Pretty Catholic Southern Girl: You're disrespecting God's name. I find that highly offensive.

    My Smart-Aleck Son (laughing): What? You think it's a sin if I say, "Yahweh, Yahweh, Yahweh?" (He actually didn't know what "Yahweh" meant.)

    Pretty Catholic Southern Girl: (SMACKS him in the face. Older man toddles away, unharmed.)

    I don't really understand what that was all about, esp. since afterwards all the sympathy in the room was for the girl, but we think it's best if we don't visit those folks again since they're also very fond of hard liquor and open carry laws. It was all just a bit much for us northeastern city slickers, I guess. : )
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,099
    What I find interesting, is that most Protestants I have known have no idea "Yahweh" is even God's name. They think his name is, "God." But even the Church says we are not to use that name in conversation, prayer, or song.
  • Interesting, I had no idea! Is there any Church document for further reading?
  • CONGREGATIO DE CULTU DIVINO ET DISCIPLINA SACRAMENTORUM
    Prot. no. 213/08/L Rome
    Rome, June 29, 2008
    Copy here.
    Thanked by 1winglet
  • What I find interesting, is that most Protestants I have known have no idea "Yahweh" is even God's name. They think his name is, "God." But even the Church says we are not to use that name in conversation, prayer, or song.


    My confessor told me this a couple of years ago. What's nice about it though is that it precludes the singing of Dan Schutte's oh-so-popular "Sing A New Song" or at least the verse that includes God's name.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,816
    SANS's lyrics were revised in 2008. The revised first verse:

    Shout with gladness! Dance in joy!
    O come before the Lord.
    And play for God on glad tambourines,
    and let your trumpet sound.
  • Yeah, we had the old "Ritual Song" hymnals, so the updated verse wasn't there.
  • Notice: "God" replaces "Him".
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,299
    Yes, they don't want to offend "it."
  • God loves God's people, God loves God's people so much that God sent God's Son, Jesus the Redeemer Person, to redeem them so that they might become God's heirs, God's chosen people, so that they might live with God in God's kingdom heavenly place for ever.

    Yes, Chris! These are the same people who shrieked 'we don't talk that way' when the new translation came out.

    [Corrected according to Chris' penetrating observation just below...]
  • Jackson,

    How clumsy of you:
    God loves them so much that he sent God's Son
    must be corrected to read "God loves them so much that God sent God's ..... God sent Jesus, to redeem them so that they might become........"
  • so that they might live with God in God's kingdom heavenly place for ever.


    But just make sure it's not in "...some heaven light years away."
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • @Julie: How did you know the girl was Catholic?

    And... were there any banjos playing???
    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,437
    She was an otherwise nice Irish Catholic girl, and we were having an otherwise very good time singing silly songs with a piano and flute and mandolin until the Y-word came up.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,099
    OK, I see the problem. You said "IRISH." Who will rid us of these troublesome people?
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,437
    Speaking of the I-word, have you seen the video of President Kennedy's Requiem Mass which has been in circulation?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6frnUl7X0A

    I think it's safe to say that liturgical reform and renewal were much in need if that is what the ancient rite had been reduced to by '63. It is called 'Low Mass of a Bishop' with music. At the Confiteor, for example, one can hear the Cardinal reciting the words, and a tenor simultaneously singing an operatic Ave Maria with organ.
    Thanked by 1KyleM18
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,099
    Those who think all things liturgical were wonderful before Vatican II were obviously not there.
  • KyleM18
    Posts: 150
    Those who think all things liturgical were wonderful before Vatican II were obviously not there.

    Or were fortunate enough to go to a parish without liturgical abuse, but I digress. I suppose since it was a Mass for a president, they tried to make it as friendly as possible, but I have a feeling Pres. Kennedy would have liked a proper Requiem Mass instead of a half-hearted but more welcoming one. Probably Scalia as well, for that matter, but at least he got less abuse than the presidential Requiem.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,816
    The Boston Irish long had a decided preference for the Low Mass with few frills and done with dispatch, as it were; a subculture in which a solemn high Mass would more typically be considered punishment on those sloths who partied late on Saturdays and slept in on Sundays. JFK's Requiem at St Matthew's Cathedral was about as frilly as could be tolerated by many. (The memorial requiem that followed at Holy Cross Cathedral in 1964 with the BSO was quite quite the rara avis.)
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen JulieColl
  • Kevin,
    It's very encouraging to hear of your situation. I'm down in Miami, FL, at the Cathedral, and the road of growth and renewal will be long for us, but we are making progress. Our rector gradually instituted some of the reforms your pastor did. We sing the introit and communio in English, the dialogues, we use good music, incense is always used, a growing percentage of our students participate at Sunday mass, the Latin Ordinary is used during Advent and Lent. But an impressive change our rector made was the restoration of the chapel altar to its original location against the wall of the chapel. This way all weekday and vigil masses are celebrated ad orientem. The reactions of visitors from other parishes to this style of liturgy are not always complimentary, but our rector has read much of the same material that we who contribute to this forum have, and he firmly defends true sacred music and ars celebrandi. The development I describe has been primarily for our English masses. Our Spanish and Kreyol masses are still just scratching the surface, musically speaking, but at least they know the Jubilate Deo mass and the reading Acclamations in Latin. Anyway, I must praise and thank God because our Archbishop has been supportive of true sacred music and especially Gregorian chant. I have worked with a few bishops and this is not always the case.
    If you are ever down in Miami feel free to stop by.
    Gustavo
  • Godspeed -
    Kevin and Gustavo!
  • Let us not forget that in Ireland under English rule, being Catholic was illegal for centuries. Their cultural tradition has probably handed down that Low Mass with no frills was the safest way to have Mass, or risk imprisonment or execution.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,816
    Yes (my grandmother was from County Leitrim) BUT...the Irish are a very musical people, by millennia of culture, and the penal codes vanished almost two centuries ago, longer than they existed. There was a lot more pragmatism involved in the hearty survival of this peculiarity.
  • Clerget,

    while it was illegal to be Catholic, Tallis and Byrd wrote such sublime music.