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Give Them The Mass!!!!!

This is so wrong!

Can the Catholic Church learn anything from the growth of evangelical Christian megachurches?

A Xavier University class on evangelization and marketing of churches hopes to answer that question.

In its second year, the class is taking it further with a Catholic "seeker-friendly" service at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Cintas Center.

The service - not a Mass - is called Road Trip and will feature contemporary Catholic music by several local artists and the Rev. Eric Knapp, a Jesuit priest in his 30s. It's aimed not only at the college campus but young adults throughout Greater Cincinnati.

Seeker-friendly services are designed for people who don't regularly attend such services, and some of the formal sections of the service are not included.

"We understand the Mass is central to the Catholic Church, and we're not looking to replace it. But it's not exactly seeker-friendly. It can be difficult for a visitor to step in and know everything that's going on," said Ted Bergh, who teaches the class. "So we're experimenting with this Catholic seeker service."

Of course there is so much more to the Catholic Church than Mass and the Sacraments and Tradition…right?

"The class really opened my eyes to see that you can market and brand anything, even churches," he said. "It was interesting to see that branding and marketing tools can be relevant to maintaining and growing a congregation."

Loretta said he hopes the service shows young people that the Catholic Church isn't only about the traditional. "I feel like the service will definitely work and draw in crowds and raise awareness of what the Catholic Church has to offer," he said.

Reading this makes me even more leery of the term Evangelical Catholic that I discussed in the post below. Don’t invite folks in and tell them, “Oh, we are all about fellowship, and contemporary music, and uplifting happy-clappy Jesus-loves-me worship.” When are you going to tell them about the Cross? Maybe you were just going to skip over that little unpleasant detail? It is very hard to have the Resurrection without the Cross. We don’t need bait-and-switch evangelization. Give them real Catholicism. Give them the Mass.


phbrown said…
The amusing thing here—if it weren't so sad—is that this is an attempt to play to Catholicism's weaknesses. Contemporary music just isn't something Catholics do very well; Protestants commonly do it quite a bit better. The Mass, on the other hand, is without parallel in Protestant churches. (I'm speaking as a recent convert to Catholicism, so I do know a bit about Protestant worship.)

Trying to woo non-Catholics to the Church with praise music is reminiscent of those regrettable small cars American automakers came out with in the '70's. (AMC Gremlin, anyone?) When you're branding yourself, at least focus on your strengths, not on stuff you do badly.

And it's not like God has exactly left the Church without strengths to focus on. You almost want to ask the folks responsible whether they understand—or believe—what happens in the Mass. I mean, we could be telling people, “Come to Mass. The only-begotten Son of God Almighty, the living Word through whom the stars were made, Mercy Incarnate who died to save you and me—that is who is coming to be present there, body, blood, soul, and divinity. Salvation Himself will be there tonight. Come and see!” Or we could say, “Come hear some fairly mediocre music and mostly feel-good preaching, which the megachurch across town would probably do better because they take it more seriously.” Why isn't this decision a no-brainer?

Bill said…
I am not convinced that the intent of anyone involved in this evangelistic outreach is to diminish the significance of the Mass. Nor do I believe that you have fairly portrayed the worship of evangelical Protestants as primarily feel-good, bereft of the cross and the presence of the crucified one. Great Catholic missionaries have always made use of popular music and great preaching to bring people to Christ and then to the sacraments. I say blessings on anyone who is working to bring people to Christ.

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