A really bad idea: a "flash mob" during Ash Wednesday mass

Really.

It happened in South Dakota:

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent . It a time for penance, reflection, fasting and apparently, dance for one group of catholic students. We attend one Ash Wednesday Service that was interrupted by an unexpected, but emotional flash mob.

Not long after receiving the ceremonial ashes and final blessing, a flash mob broke out during the Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church in Sioux Falls. The name of the song was “Where you go I’ll go” by Chris Tomlin. A timely tribute for the beginning of the Lenten season.

“We had done it for our talent show and it had such a powerful message behind it/we had a lot of people asking could we transform it into church or mass,” St. Mary Teacher Julie Kolbeck said.

You can see the results here.

Comments

  1. This is bad. At least it was after the final blessing, but still…

  2. Really tacky. The faces in the congregation didn’t look too happy either.

  3. Outside of the church would have been better, maybe. At the local Mall, for sure.

  4. what makes some people think that THEY can transform the litugy when it is an act of GOD that transform the liturgy ?

  5. PrayerPayerObeyer says:

    Another example of well-intentioned people wanting to do the right thing, not knowing it’s the wrong time. It’s like the brides who want a pop song included in their wedding Mass. They just haven’t been taught properly. I have made the comparison in the past, “You wouldn’t want to stop the dancing in the middle of your reception and sing ‘How Great Thou Art,’ would you?” It’s a question of timing and knowing what’s right and when. I don’t fault the kids or even the adults who helped set this up. I do think there are gaps in people’s understanding of the liturgy, and hopefully the process of bringing in the revised translation can be an opportunity to enlighten us all. As my wife, our parish organist, has said many times, “The Mass is already perfect.”

  6. From the expressions on the faces of the celebrant and the deacon, I don’t think that they had advanced knowledge.

    Joe, you have it exactly right.

  7. Kansas Dave says:

    There are many different kinds of spirituality and ways that people connect with God. King David danced before the Ark of the Lord and got criticised too (see 2 Samuel 6:14-23).

    As noted above it appears to have been done after the final blessing. You can see the priest and deacon going to the alter to vernerate it at the end. If you’re going to do something like this I think that would be the time to do it.

    It looks like a Catholic School service. Lent is about conversion and renewel as much as it is about penance. If this helps the kids feel a special closeness to God I’m all for it.

    In a differnent context it may have been inappropriate but I think this was a great idea.

  8. Having gone to a catholic school where something like this could have happened I am not surprised. The thing is whether or not it’s Lent we should always teach discipleship to our youth, and I don’t see why this song is particularly fitting to Ash Wednesday anyway (how about Hosea/Come back to me instead?).

    Don’t get me wrong; I like CCM (I hear it all the time as a youth minister). Chris Tomlin makes good Christian music. Youth Rallys are fine. Kids dancing to CCM is fine. But I agree with the deacon and others- this is really not appropriate given the context. These flash mobs have the power to transform the secular world however like Joe says, the Mass is about God transforming the liturgy. And I strongly disagree with Kansas Dave because this kind of thing teaches our youth the wrong message about the Mass- which is that it somehow needs to be changed, enlivened by new music and parts so that our youth get more out of it. If they knew everything that went on at Mass and we focused on teaching that to the youth I doubt they would want this sort of charade either.

    Believe me, as an adult who had to deal with this kind of stuff at catholic school, I wouldn’t (and I bet a good deal of my classmates wouldn’t either). What I really wanted back then was what had always been there since the days of the early Christian Church. Anything else actually had potential to distract and point us towards something that shouldn’t have been the focal point of the Mass.

    We have to be careful; these flash mobs could get out of control if not kept in there proper place/criticized when they are getting out of line.

  9. The Liturgy of the Mass is the most sacred sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Turning the Mass into a dance show was nothing more than total disrespect for the Mass. It only shows that some do not understand what the Mass is about.

  10. I think people are missing the point of how POWERFUL and POSITIVE flash mobs can be — and this was done by youth, showing their devotion! What can possibly be WRONG or bad about that???

    We who are older (and sometimes more set in our ways) need to be open-minded about alternatives ways to praise God…

  11. http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1100868.htm
    Vatican officials say bad Masses lead to weak faith/loss of faith.

  12. I agree with Kansas Dave. People are making too big of a deal. Isn’t the most important aspect here, that it is an act of faith and growing the interest of faith in the children? If it helps children stay interested in faith at a time where many young people are disinterested, I say go for it!

  13. Michael Donahue says:

    I think it would be fair to start by asking whether any of the respondents like liturgical dance / movement at all. Then the second question would be whether this example was good or bad. Don’t know the song can’t comment on the lyrics.
    To stage a “flash mob” at a mass is inappropriate; it hijacks the liturgy to ends / purposes / desires of those involved, leaving the rest alienated.

  14. Kansas Dave says:

    As a follow-up I do agree that it is VERY important to teach our children about the richness and meaning of the Mass. The worst thing is to have someone sitting in a pew going through the motions without having an encounter with Christ.

    It is an error to say that the Mass does not change. It does evolve and should to retain meaning for the times (without changing the fundamental nature or it). I love the current Post Vatican II Mass. It helped lead me to become a Catholic. Frankly, I think the old Latin Mass would have been too alien to me as a Methodist. My point is that we shouldn’t be so quick to fit everything into a never changing box. Especially liturgy.

    Before I get flamed let me also say that I do believe we should follow the GIRM and guidance of the Church and our Bishops in how we conduct and participate in the liturgy.

  15. John Indelicato says:

    This was a horrible idea, and has no business being put at any point of the Mass, and the forum. This is the residing place of our Lord in the Tabernacle. These are good meaning people I’m sure, thinking they are doing the extra for God, but it is not approapriate and all there is to blame is the teachers of the faith not instilling enough “aww” and “respect” for just what that Church actually is for, and whom actually is in it.

    Also, I went to a pretty liberal Catholic school growing up, and as a young man, I hated doing it, it made my faith feel very femininine and I couldn’t relate to it…that is probably a big reason why no one in my class is still in the Catholic church, except me, but I had a reversion back. Leave these liturgical dances and singing out of the Church…..the 1960′s experiment (and no Vatican II document gives permission to do it, no where in it’s text does it say this is alright) is over, it was a failure to make these liturgies more liberally like hippy meetings. It’s terrible…the young boys in that class are prob going to run right after they are forced to make their confirmation. Spend more time teaching them the truth than choragraphing this non-sense….and they will live their faith rather than just perform it.

  16. HCSKnight says:

    Re “Kansas Dave” & “There are many different kinds of spirituality and ways that people connect with God. King David danced before the Ark of the Lord and got criticised {sic} too (see 2 Samuel 6:14-23).”

    Yes there are many kinds of spirituality. But Mass’ and Rites are NOT spirituality.

    Also, re King David, what was the basis of the criticism and you are reaching into the OT and using a Jewish Rite/Celebration to define and argue something that is non-Jewish.

    Christ told of the parable of the women left wailing outside the wedding feast for a reason.

    Christ also noted a Centurion’s Faith that was deeply expressed upon on OBEDIENCE.

    Christ also made clear His giving the power to bind & loose….

    Christ NEVER taught or revealed a Faith that is measured, known, sought or valued upon EMOTIONALLY FEELING good…. i.e. today’s common refrain of “spirituality” that doesnt hurt others…

    Make no mistake “spirituality” that “doesnt hurt others” is a far more grave offense to Christ and God than “sex” that “doesnt hurt anyone”.

    These things are all manifestations of feminist based idolatry of human emotions… which is at root the EGO desiring to define what is good by how it feels.

    Such is the fruit of false interpretations of Vatican II.

    50% of Catholics do not believe they have a moral obligation to vote against a politician who supports abortion {murder}

    The rotten fruit of the Devil’s work in twisting Vatican II is found in the pedophile priests walking through and past the Sanctuary without genuflecting and in the people outside the Sanctuary whose “faith” is so shallow and selfish they dont even stand up for the murder of babies…. but storm State Capital Houses claiming rights which do not exist.

    “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their sign posts.” – St. John Chrysostom

    AMDG
    HCSKnight

  17. Kansas Dave says:

    Whoops…I forgot to add that the fact that the celebrant and deacon are sitting in their chairs, rather than standing there in stunned silence, is a strong indicator that they knew this was going to happen. Flash Mobs are a surprise to those who see them but rarely a surprise to the owners of the venue. They are almost always done with prior approval. I would be stunned to find out that the Pastor didn’t know in advance and approve of this before the fact.

  18. eneubauer says:

    @ least they tried something albeit wrong place, wrong time :)

  19. Mother of two small children and currently converting. I take both of my children to Mass every Sunday and occasionally during the week when the opportunity presents itself. My oldest is 4 and I’m trying to teach him, in terms he can understand of course, the meaning of the different parts of the Mass, what we’re seeing/experiencing while we’re there, and how important it is to be respectful of others during the Mass. It is difficult enough as it is trying to help a pre-schooler master himself- to the best of his ability- so that he can be as prayerful and respectful as he can for Jesus. I think if we had a flash mob jump up and start dancing it would be extremely counter-productive to my efforts, as it is a HUGE distraction.

    Flash mobs are performance. Mass, for me, is not about me at all. It’s about Jesus, and focusing on Him with everything I have- and teaching my children, mostly by example, to do so as well. And it’s the one time a week that I can expect as few distractions to worship as possible. So, in my opinion, this was a very bad idea. It was just not the place or time to have a performance. Furthermore, it strikes me as not being very mindful of others.

  20. Leo Ladenson says:

    Terrible–for so many reasons. Dance is not part of the Christian liturgical tradition. Pop music is not appropriate at sacral events. Were the parents informed before their children were co-opted into this non-Christian performance? All this trendiness is soul killing. How many were lost to the faith in the 1970s with the felt banners and guitar masses? I thought the silly season was over in the American church.

    The Latin church is the custodian of the greatest treasury of music, art, and architecture in human history–most of it directed towards the celebration of the liturgy. And we get this? As Shakespeare put it, “O mighty Caesar, dost thou lie so low? Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils, shrunk to this little measure?”

  21. Glory to Jesus Christ!

    I’m not going to water this down; this is not a time for feebleness. I mean no disrespect to some of the previous commenters and I do mean all respect to Our Lord and His Church.

    Playing loud music with secular rhythms, instruments, and chord progressions in a Sanctuary that houses the Blessed Sacrament is certainly not reverent. And this sort of choreographed dance is something not customary. I felt very uncomfortable watching the banner waving, pseudo-interpretative arm signals, and cued entrances.

    There is really no need for these children to showboat in this manner especially in a church and regardless of it being within the context of the liturgy, the lenten season, or what have you. What happened to disciplining our children for unnecessarily drawing attention to themselves? We should treat this kind of behavior no differently than if a group of adults did it. This idea of adults supporting a separate youth culture (that really wants nothing to do with adults) is utterly ridiculous and backwards. This is not strengthening children in the true Faith, it’s leading them towards a sensation-based faith that is unsatisfied with the humble, reflective, and self-sacrificing nature of Catholic worship. We continue to be duped by outward appearances. It’s time to stop being so superficial; our Church has been there and done that and we’ve seen the bad fruits of such an approach.

  22. rosaryfixer says:

    This illustrates precisely what has gone wrong since Vatican II and its wrong interpretation by “liturgists” and laity alike. The Mass has become a feel-good experience in which individuals must experience what THEY like. It’s “all about me” and my needs. This is NOT the Catholic Mass, pre-or post-Vatican II. The liturgy is not someone’s private experience. It is “received” by the Church from the Lord God Almighty and is for the purpose of adoration, thanksgiving, petition and reparation for sin. Not to imply that some liturgies (Masses) are obviously for those purposes; the celebrant makes that very clear from his adherence to the GIRM, his reverence, and homilies. Now that we have a new translation of the Roman Missal on the horizon, some are already having heart palpitations over the supposed “rigidity” of it, and its closeness to the translation of the Latin Mass. As for some converts from other Christian faiths, and their reluctance to see any change, we have friends who are converts from Protestant religions, and they eschew the folk music and irreverent songs; they thought they left all that behind when they converted. They love the Latin Mass-that is one thing that attracted them to the fullness of the Catholic Church.

  23. Two sad things: the priest just sat there and nobody walked out.

  24. Kansas Dave says:

    In response to HCSKnight.

    Christ didn’t come into the world to give us a liturgical rite. His message was one that placed incredible importance on our personal relationship with God. It is about emotion and spirituality. Christ had some pretty harsh words for those who placed an emphasis on religious laws of the time over showing love and compassion for others. Where in New Testament do you find an outline of how to conduct the Mass? Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer and the institution of the Eucharist. That’s about it.

    There are 27 different Rites in the Catholic Church that are in union with the Pope. These churches use seven different rites of the Mass (Latin, Byzantine, Alexandrian, Syriac, Armenian, Maronite, and Chaldean). These rites are the descendants of the liturgical practices that originated in Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria. We are in the process of adding the Anglican Rite to the Catholic Church. Within the Latin Rite we have the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form.

    Which one is the true Mass that we should all be using in obedience to God? Doesn’t quite work does it?

    All these differences in forms of worship of the Mass reflect unique forms of spirituality. A spirituality that hopefully engages the participant in a personal encounter with Christ. If you don’t feel an emotional closeness, a greater spirituality, at Mass then I suggest you are not experiencing that personal encounter.

    Liturgical Dance is not for me. I don’t like it in the Mass. But I’m open to the idea that letting the kids do something like this at the end of a Mass is a good thing if it helps them feel closer to God.

  25. RE: Kansas Dave

    “Liturgical Dance is not for me. I don’t like it in the Mass. But I’m open to the idea that letting the kids do something like this at the end of a Mass is a good thing if it helps them feel closer to God.”

    Wouldn’t you agree then that it would be more appropriate to do such a thing outside of the Mass? That way they respect the Mass and they can enjoy the dance and music?

  26. Kansas Dave says:

    From what I could tell looking at the video the Mass was technically over. The Priest and Deacon went to venerate the alter after the dance (really more swaying in place) was done. Hence the final blessing and dismissal had already occured.

    I am in complete agreement that it should not be done within the context of the Mass itself.

  27. This should not be done in a Catholic Church at any time. A church is a sacred place set apart for sacred actions. What of folks making a proper thanksgiving? A very bad idea indeed.

  28. RE: Kansas Dave

    “Where in New Testament do you find an outline of how to conduct the Mass?”
    The book of Revelation

    “Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer and the institution of the Eucharist. That’s about it.”
    This is heresy.

  29. Shades of the 70s!
    I still remember the nun dancing in the aisles
    of St Leanders Church in San Leandro, Ca the
    Oakland Diocese put her on the front page of the diocesan newspaper as her
    expression of love to God during the OFFERTORY!
    This was right after Vatican II when people were doing
    the oddest things in the name of the Council.
    Since I was in Catholic high school at the time we were
    required to read the documents and we learned there was
    no mention of dancing at Mass(before, during or after).
    The Oakland diocese has since spread their errors to neighboring parshes that wave their arms during the Our Father and chat before Mass with no reverence to the Blessed Sacrament. A dear Irish chaplain taught me this prayer in times of distress: ‘Lord, save us from dumbass people. Amen” Thank you Father Mennis whereever you are!

  30. Donuts and pop during communion would also keep the kids interested in Mass, but it’s completely sacrilegious. Kids aren’t dummies who need to be patronized. When they have a bad idea it’s nothing more than a bad idea. We can encourage them to understand the actual meaning of the Mass (and Lent!) and they will be able to handle it, and grow to love it. Enough with the love affair with psuedo-protestant additions to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass! (and I’m not old and just set in my ways, only 30)

  31. *Cough* Liturgical abuse!

  32. If the kids had done this outside church: on the church steps, in a procession back to school or over from school, or in the parking lot, it would have been appropriate and devout. Doing it in church, like church is a gymnasium or a concert hall, isn’t appropriate, even if the kids had good devout intentions.

    In medieval France in some cathedrals, the young clerics played a soccer-type game while singing an Easter hymn and doing some kind of choreography. I’m sure they put a lot of effort into it (singing while bouncing a ball without dropping it while dancing around and round?), but it was condemned good and hard by the church authorities in France and Rome. Out in the church courtyard, dancing and ballplaying was good. Inside church, not good. Pretty simple principle.

  33. 27Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Matthew 23:27

    I see the church Holier-than-Thou’s haven’t changed in all these years.

    WAKE UP
    BE JOYFUL

    Do you not know that giving something up is about following Him not about looking somber with little back marks on your empty heads? And do you not know that following Him is emotional and full of love and serving?

  34. deaconnecessary says:

    My only objection to this is that it has no place at an Ash Wednesday Liturgy, since music on this day is to be somber and simple.

  35. There is a time and a place for everything. It seems that this was intended as a Ash Wednesday Mass for the children of the parish school not primarily the adults. The children were obviously trained to perform the dance. I think the teachers would have also spent explaining the words of the song and the actions of the dance with its relation to Ash Wednesday. A lot of planning and thought went into this. Also, I don’t think such an activity would have happened without the pastor’s previous OK. Heads would have rolled otherwise.

    Liturgical action is worship! All liturgical action includes not only words, but bodily action as well! Kneeling, Rising, Signing ourselves with the Cross … Singing and yes even dancing. Anybody who has studied liturgy knows that when the priest incenses the altar (going around the entire altar) with deacon or altar server … is actually a liturgical dance!!! The basis of our liturgy even in its most ritualistic forms comes from the east where dance and incense which stir the senses and is considered as prayer. Remember King David danced in the temple!!

    What makes dance less a form of prayer in your minds? Why is it any less a powerful form of prayer and worship than signing? Why is the organ more sacred than the guitar or other stringed instruments?

    Let the children come to me and woe to those who try to stop them! After all … look and the faces and expressions on the face of the children! You’ll see many of them, so naturally, lifting their eyes in prayer. Wonderful and amazing!

    Let the children come unto me and Woe to you who try to stop them!

  36. This is just another form of child abuse causing the loss of the faith.
    http://protectthepope.com/?p=2701

  37. SoCalAngel says:

    This is one of the main reasons that I took my daughter out of Catholic school and homeschooled her. The fact that the teachers and even the principal don’t understand the problem with it, shows an ignorance (of the Mass) on so many levels it is astounding. But, I saw the same depth of ignorance among the faculty and administration at my daughter’s school. Even if you were to have this performance after a childrens’ Mass conducted in the school auditorium, to do this at an Ash Wednesday service, or during the Lenten season is entirely inappropriate. At Protestant and other non-denonimational Christian churches it is all the rage to turn services into a concert performance for the entertainment of the congregation. I pray that the Catholic parishes across the U.S. do not follow this trend. So much of what is sacred is lost by following this impulse.
    BTW, this is not technically a flash mob since it was obviously rehearsed, planned in advance and sanctioned by those in authority.

  38. If it occurred after the final blessing/dismissal, it was less of an affront, at least, than the reporter and camera crew before the Blessed Sacrament getting their “scenery” right.

  39. First of all:

    Exuberance and joy are so important! We need that interiorly if we are to be effective apostles in the world. We cannot transmit the faith unless we not only believe it, but radiate it – and lets face it, a smile goes a long, long way. (For example: when we say, “how are you”, do we really mean it? Many, many non-US visitors, including Europeans, rip on us as being hypocritical for using such a social convention when in their context, they expect that if you ask, you really mean to care).

    HOWEVER, we are also a RITUAL church, and our experiences of corporate worship mirrors the other great religions of the world. I am thinking of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Shintoism, Buddhism. All the great religions have worship traditions which celebrate corporate adoration formally and with ritual.

    As to liturgical dance, here are some things to look over:

    1) Francis Card. Arinze on liturgical dance (around 3:11): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHWsmHG80vo

    2) And responding to questions on the liturgy: http://www.adoremus.org/1003Arinze.html

    As the Prefect for Divine Worship, he issued clarifications about the issue of liturgical dance especially in the context of North America and European liturgy.

    He made some very forceful points:

    - Just because Africans have joy and exuberance at liturgy, that does not automatically translate into the type of ‘dance’ and behaviour appropriate to liturgy. He mentions that in the video.

    - In the context of Africa, what we call ‘dance’ is “graceful movement to show joy and offering” for the procession bringing up the gifts;

    - Believe it or not, Africans are not always dancing! (He says this in the Adoremus article, btw…);

    - In the context of some Asian cultures, what we repeatedly call ‘dance’ is really “refined movement showing respect, adoration and joy”;

    - Whether African or Asian, liturgy for them is a unique moment of full, active, conscious participation, oftentimes lasting several hours, with full-throated singing, and, as some African priests, religious sisters I study with say, the congregation AS ONE expresses their joy and exuberance, and can sway, clap and sing in their places (they do not get up and have a free-for-all);

    - What we North Americans call dance is usually for entertainment, socialization and can at times be a form of eroticism;

    Now, as to the ‘flash mob’, whether its before Mass, during Mass or after Mass, what is troubling is that

    1) it is imposed on others – not everyone wants that kind of behaviour: since it’s not a normal part of Catholic worship, we don’t expect it to happen, so as a result some people may be held hostage to something they don’t particularly want or need;

    2) people who encourage such things are projecting their feelings, their need for exuberance and joy on others, it comes across as very aggressive and elitist;

    3) it reminds me so much of seminary days: “You WILL have fun, whether you like it or not”….ah yes, forced fun;

    Here’s a story:

    At my last parish assignment, our core staff were very determined that everyone who comes to mass must be greeted and ‘welcomed’ – they encouraged full, active, conscious participation.

    Well, I noticed one young lady hiding in one of our corner seats for ‘overflow’ and thus partially hidden away from the congregation.

    She was crying.

    I stopped by to ask her if she was ok, may I offer her any help. She thanked me but really just needed to be alone at the moment. (She eventually came by my office to visit with me a few weeks later, and you’ll find out why in a few lines).

    A rather active, visible and prominent parishioner saw the whole thing and asked what that was about, why was she hiding and not joining in the congregation. When I explained she just needed space and alone time, the response was classic:

    “We’re a welcoming, participatory and inclusive parish. If she can’t fully, actively and consciously participate at liturgy then perhaps she needs to find another place to go cry.”

    I found out later: the young lady had had an abortion, and was in deep, deep grief and anger. She needed to be at Mass, to be with the community and with God but was not in a good space to handle the smiles, and handshaking: she needed people and God, but needed them in a way appropriate for her grieving heart.

    ******************
    Folks, here’s my point: the Roman Catholic Church has a ritual that provides structure, instruction and Grace. True diversity and expression is always possible, certainly taking into account the cultures, languages and ethnicities.

    But it will always essentially be the same, wherever we go, around the world.

    I’m all for exuberance and joy. I try to be joyful, and cheerful always as a priest. But as I said to my African brothers and sisters here at school, I don’t celebrate my exuberance and joy in the same way as they do: and that’s ok. I’m North American, and I rather like the ritualistic, hieratic, mystical, disciplined expression of the other world religions (let alone the Orthodox Christians and, until Vatican II, the Roman Church). In that sense, I guess I’m much more ‘inter-religious’ and have commonalities when it comes to the non-Christian brothers and sisters..but I digress.

    The whole flash mob phenomenon is – by its nature – sneaky, attention-demanding, a performance and a forceful imposition upon others who may not desire to be unwilling participants, to be held hostage at a specific moment. It would be a presumption to impose your expressions on others.

    Please:

    1) don’t ‘project’ on others your need to perform and demonstrate exuberance and joy,

    2) don’t use such a tactic to hold people hostage.

    3) have respect and compassion on people who find that kind of expression difficult, inappropriate or silly.

    The Mass has a structure, and the opportunities to fine-tune it to our unique North American context.

  40. @Fr. REF – Thank you so much.

    @Those who say “young people” like or need this. I am a young priest by any definition of the term – just under 4 years ordained, at the minimum age. Please, as a “young person” (if you insist on separating us) I’m answering you (old people?) clearly: WE DO NOT LIKE THIS. Look on youtube, look on twitter, look on reddit, look on facebook or any other “young” manner of communications – you will not see this referred to as “neat/cool” or any other word you think we use for attractive. Please don’t patronize us – we are the John Paul II generation. We are the World Youth Day generation.

    Flash mob or performance art or guerilla art is all the same: it FORCES others to participate or watch. I don’t walk into my school’s classrooms and just start celebrating mass, nor do I do so in the parent-teacher conferences. If someone wanted to showcase the children’s wonderful art – I am certainly a supporter, it should be announced at the end of mass, and done in an appropriate place. It is beautiful, but there is a time and place. As an analogy: Marriage is a sacred thing, but certain acts must be kept within a context, and are not acceptable in others (passionate kissing in a church). it is the same with everything else.

    Lastly, with all due respect to the person who came up with this idea: that is a terrible combination! Look at flash mobs online – they are about zombies and pillow fights and silent dancing and pretending to be statues. To make a religious flash mob is as alien to the idea of flash mobs as it is to the idea of religion! It shows a serious misunderstanding of both ideas! Religion is to be a part of a spiritual heritage and practice, flash mobs is to appear to be as spontaneous as possible.

    Please understand: the problem was not the children’s performance and hard work. The problem was that this incident did not take into account the fact that Ash Wednesday Mass had just finished. That it is most properly called The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should tell us something about how we act in AND around it.

  41. Carmelaine says:

    Peace!

    I watched the video over and over again and I see nothing wrong with it. The dance was AFTER the Mass, the priest already gave the final blessing because he left after the dance.

    On the contrary, I feel blessed and inspired watching this video with the kids expressing their faith creatively. Seeing the kids kneeling at the end of the dance sends a powerful message of repentance and returning to God in preparation for the Lenten Season. How can you not appreciate that one?

    If you listened to the teacher being interviewed, the dance was originally performed at a talent show and had a powerful message behind it, thus a lot of people were asking if they can transform it for the church. We haven’t seen what they did at the talent show but if there were requests for it, it must have created such an impact to many. The dance was an answer to that need which the community find effective. Thus, there’s a story behind that performance which we can’t readily pass our judgement on. It’s a community thing and the congregation are aware about it for sure, nope they were not “held hostage”. Even the priest watched it before leaving. I’m sure he knew about it beforehand.

    Personally, if they did this in a different parish or community, without permission, it would be intrusive and irreverent. But this was in THEIR parish, in THEIR community, and they had prior permission for it. It was even requested by many in the community, possibly the parents of the kids. And to those who said that it should have been outside the church, I don’t think it would be that appropriate because if you look at their choreographed actions, there were parts where they were kneeling and praying facing the altar, they would look weird doing it outside.

    Please don’t be so judgmental and biased just because the word “flash mob” itself is misleading as it relates to entertainment. I see it as a dance-prayer, just like one of those special community prayers after the Mass, only with meaningful actions and a call to worship. In this video, you can see on the kids’ faces that they are expressing their faith in Jesus. Who are we to judge what is in their hearts?

    Remember when the Charismatic Movement started many years ago in the Catholic Church? So many bishops, priests and religious leaders were very much against it. They didn’t understand how clapping, lifting hands high, dancing, praying in tongues and healing rallies can be an expression of worship. Nowadays, the Charismatic Movement is recognized by the Catholic Church as being used by God for spiritual revival, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    If we could be less biased and judgmental about how our fellow Catholic brothers and sisters practice their faith, maybe we will have more people coming in instead of leaving the church.

    Just my two cents. Have blessed Sunday everyone.

  42. Donald Morgan says:

    Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent. A time for Reflection, Penance and Alms giving along with other charitable works. I fail to see how a “flash mob” performance by children adds to or leads to a sense of Penance amongst the Faithful.
    Are we striving for Grace or entertainment? Salvation or a show???

    Pax Christi

    D. Morgan

  43. Paul-Joseph says:

    You can see from the comments above, the fruits of the poor catechesis and its influence on the last couple of generations of Catholics. They don’t understand the most basic concepts of liturgy; they think it’s simple choreography. For people who don’t understand liturgy, it’s impossible to understand the Mass or its context. The Mass is, for them, just an amateur show to be choreographed as fits the whims of the individual. Without the proper understanding of liturgy, one cannot understand the need for rubrics and adhering to those rubrics.

    Therefore, such “Catholics” always resort to name calling. Catholics who would adhere to the rubrics are, “judgmental and biased,” “intolerant,” “fundamentalists,” Well, they are right about one thing; I am a fundamentalist. I still believe and stand for the fundamentals of the Catholic faith they have abandoned.

  44. christine jones says:

    ok here’s the point. i would like to start a flash mob, but im calling a father of a nearby towns preist to learn how it should be done that will not hurt the church and will not be a stubbling block for its people not just to get the people involved. secondly what is the point of doing this at mass? the point of a flash mob is a public scene of something random yet planned done on public property and to reach a goal. what do you have to prove to other christians at mass? so yes they did this in bad taste. but flash mob can be done in good taste. here are some things i have learned do not do it on a holiday, do not do it indors, have a time limit and be respectful of rules and YES IT CAN BE ABOUT FAITH AND GOD but then if your not daring enough to do it in the streets of a city, then you shouldnt be doing it at all. secondly you dont need to have disorder to create the sponaeteous apperance. you can have small groups with team leaders and you can have you priest help you pick what you’ll perform, shout, sing, or dance. also you need to have rules such as if the goal is accomplished in time and the people want to keep doing it they have to listen to thier group leaders as to whether they can or not. another thing no one needs to know who came up with the idea and if you keep moving in groups small enough to not be considered assembling and you have lots of groups that take places on a map put them not at the coffee shops or places people rest and eat, but with in ear range of, then if the groups move and have a parttern that can not be quickly understood they are all together, eight plus three team leaders two in front teens in middle, if they do a course and the other “cells” do a course, like a walking path determined ahead of time, rules like no pushing running or shoving, do stop for disabled and elderly, then those small cells can shout to the Lord praise and response back and forth, and you can have the whole downtown of a city echoing from all streets the word of God when its done go home or back to church, you wont get arrested, you only said one or two verses, its better than getting drunk its free social and public Obama said yes we can, so i think God would say yes you can but do your homework and dont go preachin to the choir and disturbing mass, you need to learn to do this safely and loud and public and with joy and get it done and get out. so that you arent assembling or rienging terror your kindling the love of jesus in the hearts of believers who just got a suprise from you. another bad taste example, student doing this inside a school. you need leaders if your gonna do this, and you can get other catholic kids from other youth groups to show up, just have the “rules for particapation be set” and if you wouldnt do it in heaven dont do it at all, so Glory to God and praise to his people who are trying this fun thing out for his sake, if i get mine done new england will be warmer! ask GOD to help me get mine done. i have one friend and she’s athiest. and i dont have facebook. keep in mind when chosing the performance, keep the father involved in the gospel part of it, keep the words simple easy to shout or sing, keep it loving and truthful, keep in under twenty mins or less. otherwise if you dont listen to your group leader you might get arrested for disturbing the peace, but your not disturbing it you awaking it in others, so find a way to do it where God needs it. you gotta get out of mass and bring it to the people. mass has its purpose flash mob its, dont get in the way of what God already is sucessful at, learn how he can miraculously make faith and love show up loud on the streets and if the police tell you to disperse go home, separate meet back at your cars, it will get done, it should be a miracle no matter how much effort you put into it, cause the spirit of this world doesnt want you giving God attention in ways as never before in the presence of sinners with no knowledge or little. God Bless. Good luck next time, next time give God his mass, and go tellin on the moutnatins that the catholics have faith!

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