Cool mass?


Internet users recommend themselves cool movies, cool restaurants, cool places to go and ... cool Masses. What are the criteria for such "being cool"? What must happen in the Liturgy that it deserves such a name? And above all - where do such searches come from?

It is widely known that only the Masses at which "something is happening" or those at which "something is different" are quite popular. Such an attraction can be a music band with drums or an electric guitar, playing in a way that is liked by young people. Also a place can be significant: how much delight can be aroused by the Eucharist celebrated in a beautiful natural setting on, the altar arranged on a boulder. Or various special additions. Holy Masses with the participation of children adorned with a set of games and activities. With my own eyes I saw the Eucharist, during which you could win plastic spoons for mixing salads - all you had to do was ... give the correct result of the match played the day before by the local basketball team. And one might ask: what's wrong with that? Isn't it about attracting people? And since they were attracted, it would be good to keep them from getting bored. - This is not about it - explains Fr. Tomasz Sałatka from the liturgical commission of the Zielona Góra-Gorzów diocese. - The basic principle we must remember is that the Liturgy is not owned by a single person: neither a priest nor a lay person.

Duty and desire

All right, but the need for a "varied" Mass must be from somewhere. If we were to announce a plebiscite for the best liturgy, would such an ordinary parish have a real chance to take the lead? - Let's try to reverse our thinking about Mass a little. We know that we should participate in it consciously, fully and actively. But what does this really mean to us? I have the impression that we usually understand it as our duty, a rule to follow and that's it. Meanwhile, here the Church shows not only the duty but also the desire of man. A believer wants to be aware of what he participates in, does not want to be a passive viewer, he wants to experience the Liturgy fully ,to the best of his abilities Fr. Sałatka- emphasizes.

However, if this is human desire, why is not the ordinary Eucharist enough for him? Without additions, extraordinarity, constant stoking of interest. If we look objectively at our Sunday gatherings, what comes to the fore? Well: collective gloominess (not to be confused with seriousness). No wonder that later, when we watch American series in which from time to time there will be a scene from a singing Protestant religious service, we think with envy: they have fun. And let's be honest - many of us would not mind Mass with the priest as an animator of the audience. - We forget that our humanity is also important. And this attention to our humanity is really missing - says Fr. Sałatka. - Organizing competitions or games for children during the Liturgy is just such an attempt to meet human needs. This does not mean that I support bringing the Liturgy to social gatherings. No way. The Eucharist is not a place for such activities. However, you need to look for ways to enhance your humanity. If this is missing, people will fill this gap by choosing Mass with music that they like, with a cool priest who will give children sweets or carry out some kind of activation.

Solution in ... regulations

I admit that every time I felt embarrassed seeing mommies pushing their children to these unfortunate competitions; in the air you felt the need for rivalry and victory (interestingly, no one was bothered by the fact that the Mass lasted for over an hour ...). But I am also not impressed with the Liturgy, during which no one even slightly smiles - after all, if someone suddenly came inside and saw these gloomy faces, they would have the full right to ask what terrible harm is happening to us. - I assure you that the liturgy prepared in accordance with the regulations is what we need. In the Eucharist one can see a man's search, one can see development, dynamism and commitment. The liturgy gives such opportunities.

This should start before Mass. If a priest approaches people, greets them, asks them what's how they are, if the faithful stop for a moment in front of the church, they talk to one another, then suddenly a community will begin to form. Some needs will be met and you will not need to add any "fun" elements to the Liturgy - explains Fr. Tomasz.

So, being so welcome, we enter the church with a smile and freeze in the attitude of the viewer for 45 minutes ... No, it doesn't work. It is certain, that we will begin to miss a show soon. - That is why our active participation is so important. Active participation means joining in singing, in response, but also preparing the prayers of the faithful, comments or processions with gifts. Let us note that there is a lot of space here for our spontaneity and creativity, for expressing what we live in, and at the same time it can be done based on liturgical regulations. We forget that the active participation of lay people in the Liturgy should be something normal and not an event on a holy day - adds Fr. Sałatka.

Viewer and consumer

And this is probably where our problem lies. It's easier to come to church, sit back and wait for someone to take care of us. Preparing reading, singing a psalm or bringing gifts to the altar is a completely different commitment. In addition, although we live in one parish, we usually don't feel much like a community. And this makes us ashamed to get involved more, as we are afraid of someone’s opinion.

Let's face it - you quickly enter the role of consumer and viewer who comes and requires. But what will happen when the proposed attractions become common? Are we going to look for new ones? What if no one provides them to us? - Let's be clear: even if people feel the need to bring extraordinarity to Mass, they must not do it. Something that is not a Liturgy must not be introduced into the Liturgy. And of course, you can end with this statement, but we can see that this is not enough. Catechesis, including adults, is essential. People should know why there is such a recipe, what it entails, that these are not just some meaningless bans, invented only to make life a little difficult - explains Fr. Sałatka.

It is also true that the Liturgy will be well participated in if we prepare for it earlier. For this you need mute, reflection, time. If someone always comes to Mass off-the-cuff he cannot expect too much. Do we feel changed when we leave the liturgy? Who even asks this question? And the Liturgy is there to change us. Not us to change it, but it is to change us. Realizing it can be the first step towards discovering the true beauty of the Eucharist. And finally - the Liturgy is a gift from God Himself, His invitation. If we are looking for attractiveness in the Mass, it is hidden here.


„Niedziela” 37/2019

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: