Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Officer Moore's Service and the Catholic Mass

As I sat on the stage for 3.5 hours last Tuesday at Officer Moore's service, I had some time to think. Given the fact that 2 of the hours were spent watching police file in or out of Conseco, I guess I had a LOT of time to think.

One of the things that I started to think about was the fact that the very things that made the service so powerful and moving are the very same things that most people bemoan about the Catholic Mass.

The service for David was
1) precise
2) planned
3) full of rituals that not many people knew the origins of but were nonetheless impressed by
4) utterly lacking in spontaneity

The reason for all of these elements is simple - no one wanted attention on themselves and all of us participating at home and at Conseco knew that we were there NOT FOR OURSELVES but to honor David.

Don't all of these things that made the service beautiful also usually serve as ammo against the Catholic Mass?
1) It is too precise
2) It is too planned
3) It is too full of rituals that not many people know the origins of
4) The Mass is utterly lacking in spontaneity

I sometimes hear "gosh father you seem intense at Mass, you need to be more relaxed, you need to be more engaging, etc." Funny that I didn't hear those same remarks from those who saw my comments at David's service.

There were definitely young kids in attendance at David's service as well, and that also made me think. I wondered how many of those young kids and teenagers woke up and said something like, "I don't want to go, I'm not going to get anything out of it, it's cold, I'm tired." The parents of these children, while understanding what their kids were saying, would still have paid little to no attention to their children's complaints, yet how many parents let their teenagers opt out of going to Mass on Sunday for those very same things.

May we as Catholics continue to think about what it means to go to Mass - are we going to first of all get something out of it for ourselves or are we first of all going to Mass to offer something to God.


  1. Father, as a convert, I have a great love for the Catholic Mass. I think it's awesome to do the same thing every Sunday, knowing that it's what Christians have been doing for thousands of years. I love being able to go into a church in Alabama or Arizona and know that they'll do exactly what we do in Brownsburg, Indiana. As we celebrate, I get shivers thinking that Catholics all around the world are celebrating with the same readings, the same prayers, and the same rituals.

    When we have occassions that require our attendance at Protestant churches like the ones we grew up in, my husband and I are both disappointed by the lack of reverance and respect, and often the lack of Biblical content. We both feel anxious to leave so that we can go to Mass, where we find joy, comfort, and peace.

    No band, no dynamic preacher, no cute little boy reading a Gospel excerpt, no Powerpoint presentation. Nothing can compare to the beauty of joining together to receive Christ in his fullness.

  2. Just out of curiosity, if David was Catholic as is his family I'm assuming, why did he not have a Catholic Mass for his funeral? Being that he was a Roncalli student, I just assumed he was Catholic. But perhaps he wasn't a practicing Catholic. Regardless, it made me curious as to the Church's position on funeral arrangements and services for Catholics including where a practicing Catholic should be buried. I was always under the impression that a member of the Catholic church should have a Mass and be buried in a Catholic cemetery. But maybe this is not necessarily true? Our prayers go to David and his family regardless, but I did wonder if there was a Mass for him.

  3. David was Catholic but I don't think anyone really came forward and suggested a funeral Mass until plans were already locked in with regards to the Conseco service. I also think that at we continue to know less and less about our faith, Catholics are more frequently unaware of the importance of a Catholic Funeral Mass.

  4. This is second hand information, so take it with a grain of salt...but I don't believe the Moore's were practicing Catholics. I had been told that David's mother had been baptized, but has never been a practicing Catholic and that David was never baptized. Again, this is what I was told after inquiring why Roncalli didn't have a mass for him.

  5. David's father is not Catholic. David's Mom, per Msgr. Schwarzkopf at OLG when I asked was that "she went to Mass on the weekend, but not every weekend. She missed Mass occasionally like most of my parishioners."

    I can't imagine David wasn't baptized. Fr. Vince Lampert said he was scheduled to be a Godfather for a baptism at his Church the following Sunday after he was shot, and he served as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion at times - a function for which a person is to be a practicing baptized and confirmed Catholic in order to perform.

    Roncalli DID have a Mass for him the same day he died, as have many priests since his passing. You can have a Mass for anyone at anytime. I've prayed several Masses for the repose of David's soul these past few weeks. What you probably are referencing is a funeral Mass, which is obviously only done in the presence of the body and is a one time deal.