Let your inner child come out to play…
For those newly arrived at Corpus Christi since last October
31st you may not be aware of our most wonderful
celebration of Halloween on the weekend PRIOR to
October 31st…which this year will be NEXT weekend,
October 28-29. In anticipation of All Hallows Eve
parishioners are invited to come to Mass in costume
(yep…that means adults AND kids). In addition,
families/individuals are invited to carve a family Fred-
O’Lantern (related to Jack but a lot more fun) for placement
around the altar. Special treats (and very few tricks) will be
available to the young and young at heart at all the Masses.
In addition, let the wondering and guessing begin as to who
or what FKB (Fred K. Bailey, the pastor) will become at the end of Mass; final clue: I
love you, you love me.
Liturgical life at Father Bailey's "community" was then discussed. "I encourage the parishioners to come in costume to the Halloween Mass. Why shouldn't the family" -- he gestured around to all of us -- "enjoy themselves when they gather together? And don't be afraid of Halloween! It's only a pumpkin! It can't hurt you! Anyway, last year, I wore a Superman costume under my vestments. When the Mass was over I took them off and showed the costume -- with its fake chest I looked far better than I ever really did. This year, I wore one of those inflatable costumes, a pumpkin. Just before I took off my vestments at the end of Mass, I started inflating, and got some really funny looks as the vestments expanded. Then I took them off and revealed the costume."
First off, as a parent of two young children we are constantly trying to get to behave in Mass (behave: sit still, be quiet and pay attention) by teaching them that this is, well, serious and important and special - I would regard a Halloween Party Mass as Not Helpful.
Secondly, do remember that this is the Diocese of Orange County, in which the bishop has expressed and put into practice his concerns about various old-fashioned quirks like kneeling. (And yes, we know the complexities of that situation - much discussed here. Always more to the story, problems on both sides, escalating of rhetoric, etc. But still. Just think. Just compare.)
And here's the thing that must be confronted and grappled with, seriously. Those advocating and hoping for a spirit of "the reform of the reform" will hopefully claim that there is a desire for more reverence and so on in Mass. I spoke to an official in a not-conservative diocese, who had just participated in a diocesan-wide listening process. He said the number one suggestion for liturgy was "more Latin" - and his take on it was not that people necessarily really wanted lots more Latin (although that could have been), but that they simply wanted more reverence, less fun and games.
However - I'm going to take a wild guess and say that these Masses at this parish were full, lots of children and adults came in costume, and lots of people thought it was awesome when Father became Barney at the end. They have no problem with this and will tell you that they find it spiritually helpful. I think that's a safe guess, knowing that it's been going on for several years.
How wide is this chasm? And I'm not talking about the chasm between this and the All Saints' Vigil at the Dominican House of Studies. I'm talking about the chasm between this and, you know, what's in the books - even the bare bones of the ritual. The chasm between this and any sense of what Eucharist has been in this "Catholic Christian community" for, I don't know - 2000 years.
Here's the thing. Where ever you find this kind of nonsense - and it is nonsense - you'll find a disdain for the "hierarchical" church, tradition, and rules. Chances are very good that you'll find a lot of talk simply about "Gospel values" and maybe, as they attempt to justify their liturgical stylings, a vague appeal to Early Christianity. You know, when it was all just a supper n' stuff.
Trouble is - not. Try, in your head, describing this to Paul.
I'm thinking a Letter to the Aliso Viejans would be coming pretty quick.