Emily Guillemette 0

High Mass Opportunity at St. Francis of Assisi Parish

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St. Francis of Assisi is the largest parish in the Green Bay Diocese and yet our young people are not filling the pews. Why is that? The younger generation (i.e., the millennials - those born in the early 80’s until the late 90’s), have found themselves disenchanted with the current affairs of the Church and the reverence shown in parishes around the world.

Young people, and many Catholics today, are interested in encountering the Divine through the Church's seldom used beautiful and traditional symbolisms. People frequently leave the Church in the pursuit of beauty, which is often misunderstood as human entertainment. It is clear that young people today crave Tradition, they crave the Sacred; they crave something that takes them outside of themselves, something that is other-worldly and transcendent. What could possible be more transcendent than the celebration of the Holy Mass? The answer, simply, is nothing.

However, when that experience is not magnified in its reverence, beauty, richness, and transcendence, the faithful are left feeling hollow, empty, and in many cases, apathetic. Having a High (solemn) Mass (i.e., a Mass with chanting, incense, bells, and additional candles) offered at this parish would not only serve the needs of these young people and families who crave tradition, truth, beauty, and goodness, but it would also serve as catalyst for deeper catechesis and conversion within the wider parish community.

If we truly believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is made present - full Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity - during the celebration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, then shouldn’t the celebration reflect that belief? We are not diminishing or shaming the way the Holy Mass is currently being celebrated, but we believe that the experience of prayer and worship can be heightened. Truly, beauty is what will renew the Church. She has always been the greatest example and benefactor of beauty. Why do we shy away from it now? It is fitting to elevate and heighten the beauty of the Mass, if only to enhance the Sacred reality of Heaven meeting earth.

People should walk into the celebration of the Source and Summit of our faith and immediately recognize that what they are experiencing is not of this world. They should be struck with awe at the beauty and magnificence of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. A solemn High Mass would accomplish this feat.

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