by ROWENA OREJANA
Around 260 mostly young people “walked through the Mass” with Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn at the Christ the King Church in Owairaka on March 6.
Young adult and youth ministry coordinator Teresa McNamara said the event, called Walk Through the Mass, was held to explain to young people what the Mass is all about.
“The idea behind that is often when we go to Sunday Mass, a certain amount of what we do while we’re at Mass is automated. We don’t really think about why we do it, what the significance is and what the Church teaching is behind our actions and our words,” explained Ms McNamara.
“We really wanted Bishop Pat just to break open the Mass so young people could understand what they were doing.”
Ms McNamara said the problem was when they offer a regular course, the young people weren’t interested in coming. So they had to present the teaching and catechesis in a creative way.
Bishop Dunn explained each step of the Mass, speaking about the front of the church or the sanctuary area, through the Communion up to the dismissal when the parishioners are told to go and spread the Word and serve the Lord.
After Mass, Bishop Dunn answered questions from young people. At one point, he was asked why people hold out their hands while praying Our Father.
“I was going to suggest that you do it. We certainly encourage young children to pray in this way. We are physical beings. [We can] stand and hold open hands or join hands,” he said.
Ms McNamara said Bishop Dunn had the young people thinking about what certain gestures made during the Mass mean, rather than spoon feeding them the information.
“He didn’t speak lecture style. A lot of his teaching was interactive and so he would give a little bit of explanation but then he would ask for contribution from the congregation,” she said. “That works really well with
young people, because it encouraged them to think.”
Ms McNamara said the surprise of the afternoon was that there were a number of older people at the Mass as well. While the event was really aimed at young people aged 13-35, it was advertised in the parish newsletters as open to everyone.
“I was talking to one man during the break and he said he had young people at home that were asking him these things and he didn’t feel qualified himself to give them the answers they were looking for,” she said.
When the man left, Ms McNamara related, he had the answers to take home.
Ms McNamara said they will be holding events in a similar style throughout the year.
“The liturgy centre has Paul Taylor coming. He is a music liturgy specialist. We’re working in collaboration with the liturgy centre [for] an afternoon session that will be targeted towards young people involved and leading in selecting music in the parishes and communities,” she said.
She said this event to be held in July will also be open to everyone who feels comfortable in this format of teaching.
by ROWENA OREJANA