It’s that time again

I’ve been putting off saying Mass since the beginning of October primarily because I haven’t had time to practice chanting. I need to practice chanting! There comes a point, however, when ya just gotta do what ya gotta do.
So, tomorrow I chant a High Solemn Mass for the second time on the first day of Advent. More than likely, I will continue saying Mass from here on out – or until Fr. Cullen decides he wants to do a Sunday once again.
There is just way too much stuff to do. I would find things so much easier if I didn’t have to work a full-time job in addition to trying to be a priest, doing priestly things. I get home from work and am just too tired to be very productive. Particularly now when the sun goes down so early and I just want to sleep. Sleep. Now, there is a novel concept!
It would help if I could sleep. Getting three or four hours a sleep a night tends to make one want to fall asleep as soon as possible, when it gets dark, when I’m alone in my apartment… Oh, sleep!
It is taking me way too long to get things together to begin the discernment process for Rite 13/Journey to Adulthood. I’ve been talking about this for three years now, and “actively” trying to get it started over the past year. I did a lot of work today and hopefully things will begin falling into place, soon.
Then, there is the whole notion of a comprehensive method/system of Christian Formation, or as I would have once said – discipleship. We have decided that our proto-home group will become a place of invitation to new people who want to become more engaged in their own faith development. This may mean that there will be a stream of people coming in and out. We shall see how this works, but the idea was the groups and I think we have been together long enough now to survive additional people coming in and out. Now, what I want to do is begin a subtle if not underhanded way of getting the Guild heads into some form of Christian formation. A monthly “coordinating” meeting with a bit of spiritual stuff thrown in might be a way of at least beginning.
Two other things I want to work on – well, actually three. First, there has been a lot of press more recently in what seems to be a trend of “confession.” This is a bit different that what one traditionally thinks of as “confession” in a confessional with a priest behind a screen offering forgiveness. There have been a number of websites that provide a place for people to “get off their shoulders” stuff they have been keeping inside – things they know they should not have done. When we are instructed to confess our sins one to another, there is real benefit for our own wellbeing. So, is there a sort of groundswell particularly among the young for a new kind of “confession?” I think there might be.
So, we have a real confessional booth at St. Paul’s (since it is an Anglo-Catholic parish). More recently, it has been used to store things. Within The Episcopal Church, the “Rite of Reconciliation” has been more a face-to-face thing with the priest and penitent, but I’m wondering if presented to the wider community in the right way, and being anonymous, whether there might be an interest in the more traditional form of confession, with a twist, I suppose. I don’t know.
These kind of leads to the next thing: A new Sunday evening Mass. There are a lot of St. Paul’s parishioners who leave over the weekends. Many of them have homes upstate (or some other close by place). A Sunday evening Mass would allow them to be at church and still be away from Friday thru Sunday. I am thinking of the Mass being very contemplative/meditative and more “monastic” in feel. Cantors rather than a choir, lots of chanting rather than more complete Anglican hymns, perhaps periodically an interactive sermon or open time of questions, etc. Tricky, I know, but it could be good if handled rightly.
The third thing is to revive a real catechumenate process during Lent. There are a number of new parishioners who we have discovered are not baptized and who have not grown up in a faith community. Their understanding of the faith and particular of the more Catholic form of the faith is slight. There may be no interest, but I do believe we need to get back to truly instructing those who are interested in becoming a Christian.
I have been told a number of times that when a person first approaches a Rabbi about becoming a Jew, the Rabbi generally tells the person, “No!” Then, and only then, if the person returns and truly demonstrates to the Rabbi that s/he is serious does the process begin. I think we tend to be far too quick, perhaps too desperate, in bring people in and we expect things of them that they are not ready to undertake. We have developed into a “community” of ignorance of the Traditions of the Faith, of the expectations of God when we truly decide to follow Him, and the costs of being a Christian in a profoundly un-Christian culture, despite the freedom of religion and worship and the common notion that we are a “Christian nation”.
So, a revived catechumenate – and even perhaps having them leave after the Liturgy of the Word and before the Holy Communion. Who knows? Something like that may be completely unrealistic, although I think that there is something to consider in the whole prospect. There is nothing wrong with having high expectations. Potential Roman Catholic converts go through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), and the Orthodox Church in American teaches about “the period of catechesis, especially during the lenten season, as well as the celebration of Baptism, Confirmation [Chrismation], and the Eucharist at the time of reception is reminiscent of the preparation of the catechumens in the early Church.” Why not? The Evangelical side of the Church surely shows that there are people more than willing to devote themselves to their own spiritual inculcation.
Anyway, these are things I want to work on, aside from saying Mass once a week. Of course, this doesn’t even begin to touch on the other things clergy normally do. I have no clue how I’m even going to begin to accomplish any of it, especially when I’m having problems with my own devotional life.