The new Mass translations and the "Dad test"
While having the usual Sunday chat with the parental units, my dad mentioned that he and my mom went to the Sunday evening Mass at their parish--and left irritated. The homily was standard fare, but after it came the first of many long explanations about the Mass translations, which, I think it's safe to say, didn't quite hit home.
After about 10 minutes of it, so my dad reports, he started thinking, "Fine, OK, whatever. Just don't try to tell me that this is going to help my spirituality." The priest's explanation of the new response "And with your spirit" left my super-smart civil engineer of a dad completely befuddled. (As well it should, since the explanation is basically made up, IMHO.) And the thousands of dollars the parish spent on new laminated Mass cards wasn't lost on him either.
So why a "dad test"? Because my dad is the quintessential middle-of-the-road Catholic who goes to church out of a combination of duty (Catholics should go to church on Sunday, after all) and a hope that he might find something there that will feed him for the week. Unlike his wonky Catholic editor of a son, he doesn't care all that much--OK, not at all--about church politics, just about keeping his four grown sons on track, doing good work, and being a good partner to my mom after 41 years. And I think he'd like Sunday Mass to help him do that.
The conversation brought to mind Willam O'Malley's December essay about the need for a Mass that speaks to real people, including my dad and mom, and my brothers, and their families. Unfortunately, I don't think it was their needs that were in mind when the powers that be decided to upend our Sunday liturgy. Too bad, since I think those bishops could learn a lot from my dad about what matters to Catholics. While they're at it, I think my mom would also have some suggestions...