I’ve been wondering about this for a while, but since yesterday was another reminder I figured I’d finally ask.
I’ve not been much of a church-goer as an adult (which is half my life now). Ever since my parents moved out to Long Island to live with my sister’s family, though, I’m usually around on holiday weekends at Christmas and Easter, and so wind up trekking to Mass with everyone else. I’ve noticed some changes since I was a regular attendee (through the 70s and early 80s), and I have mixed feelings about them. I was just wondering if your local churches do similar things, and about how long they’ve been doing it.
First of all, altar girls - I’d always heard as a kid that there had been altar girls in other churches/before my time, as one of the outcomes of Vatican II, but my parish church never had them (nor were the girls ever even told that they could serve). My sister’s parish does have them now, and I think that’s great - equal opportunity and all that.
Next is this “raising of the hands” thing (sometimes turned into joined hands held shoulder-height) that I see members of the congregation doing during the recitation of the Our Father. I had never seen this anywhere but my sister’s church; we never did this when I was younger. To be honest, it rubs me the wrong way - it’s something IMHO that only the priest should do. Everyone else just looks like they’re trying to show off somehow. What was wrong with bowing your head and folding your hands?
Lastly, because my nephews are young (9 and 5), we end up at the children’s Masses a lot, and they try to make the service kid-friendly. I’m fine with that (although I wish they would hire someone to actually teach the children’s choir how to sing! ). But the Christmas service the last couple of years has included a guest appearance by Santa Claus (one of the parish priests dressed up), who gives a little speech about Jesus and the spirit of giving. I don’t know… personally, I think that having a little Christmas pageant as part of the Mass should be enough to get kids engaged, and leave the non-religious stuff out of it. Or maybe I’m just turning into an old fogey.
So how about the rest of you - are there things done differently now in your churches than say, 10 or 15 years ago? Do you like the changes?