I’m really learning to appreciate having a roommate who shares the same faith as I because I can come home and say, “I just spent a half hour sitting in front of a picture of Our Lady of Guatalupe and reciting the Jesus prayer.” And that’s normal. The fact that we can then embark on a discussion concerning church services and programming is also cathartic.
I just came home from Adoramus at St. Joseph’s Basilica; the schola was singing (if you don’t remember what ‘schola’ means, check out my last entry). I’d never been to an Adoramus before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. Seems it’s a sort of reconciliation service where people are invited to go to confession while readings, hymns (us), and a lot of silence ensue. The service was quite nice and I think I would consider going once when I’m not expected to sing.
The thing that surprised me, however, had nothing to do with the service, but with the congregation itself: it was made up of mostly young people ie. the average age seemed to be about 25! I was shocked, shocked, I say! Never had I seen so many young people gathered at church just to go to church. If that many young people were at one of our churches, there’s some other kind of incentive (well, I suppose there were free snacks after this service…but still).
I happened to mention my surprise at the service’s demographic to one of my priest friends at the Basilica and he replied, “I find it’s best to get back to the simple, core stuff. It’s just prayer and confession.”
Naturally this got me thinking. Does the Ukrainian Catholic Church have anything similar? The answer came almost as soon as I asked my roommate the question: the Reconciliation service we do at Unity every 2-3 years. Ask anyone who’s attended what one of the most memorable moments of Unity was and I’ll bet you they’d say the Reconcilation service. Why? Because it’s a simple way to get back to one of the core beliefs of Catholicism: Jesus always forgives. Seriously, once you go through that service, I challenge you not to feel at least a little better for sharing whatever’s been weighing on your mind. Or maybe you just want to chat with a priest or sister and ask some questions; that’s cool too. I’ve definitely done both.
My point is, why is something that is so powerful not available more often? Why do we allow ourselves to fall back on the usual Sunday liturgies with no more understanding than the previous week? Perhaps (and this is something my roommate and I concluded), perhaps if we had different services available people would become curious and attend. Maybe they’d ask questions. Maybe they’d then come to the Sunday liturgy with a thirst to know more. Maybe they’d actually stay within the church because then they’d know what it’s about instead of just thinking about faith as following a bunch of rules to ‘keep our noses clean.’
I think that’s the end of my thought train.
Good night! Sleep tight!