Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to judge a church

I recently found myself in the position of describing (or rather, comparing) two different Catholic churches, to help someone who is traditionally minded decide which to attend. As I thought about it later, the kinds of things that I chose to mention were interesting, and certainly say something about a church. But most people wouldn't consider most of these things significant at all! I hardly even had to mention the devotion to orthodox Catholicism, since the interesting thing is that these things all point to that!

-Of course, the quality of the music. How much chant? Anything in latin? The quality of the choirs and of course what styles of music they sing in.
-The demeanor of the priest while celebrating Mass; including, how much he "ad libs," or brings his personality into the ritual.
-The content of the homilies.
-Whether there are female altar servers.
-Whether the church "looks" like a church inside.
-The demeanor (lack or presence of chatter or respectfulness) before and after Mass from the congregation.
-What kind of vestments the priest wears, and what the altar servers wear.

1 comment:

Xristoforos McAvoy said...

I would also add coffee hours and sense of community that is offered. Fish frys during lent, etc. And for that matter is the food served made with care or use organic ingredients.

That is for me one of the huge areas. Mt. Calvary in Baltimore has really good social activies afterwards. In the Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches almost every parish has cofee and appatizers/food after the divine liturgy is over, even at Saturday vespers often times.

It's this sense of community that is important in this day and age. The importance of the relationships formed during this time can be meaningful and rewarding for the rest of your life. it certainly has been for myself! the fact that most Latin churches have 4 masses a Sunday and dont have a sense of community speaks volumes about their problems as a whole.