In my college years, I worked with a company that built and serviced pipe organs around the Washington, D.C. area. During those years I probably entered some 300 different churches both Catholic and Protestant.

Of course, as a Catholic, I particularly loved going to the Catholic churches. I especially loved visiting the older city parishes that were built back before the revolution. I had grown up in the suburbs, where almost every church was built after 1955, when church building took a decided turn for the worse. In vogue were ugly, bland, beige buildings with carpeted floors and potted plants. A plain wooden table and two candlesticks were the altar. There were almost no statues, and rather than a crucifix, that strange 70s invention known as the “resurrected Christ” was on the walls floating in midair with his hands extended. Maybe there was a cross behind him…maybe, but he certainly wasn’t nailed to the cross. “We are resurrection people,” was the inevitable response to those of us who wondered aloud what ever happened to the very Catholic crucifix.

So there I was, a young man in my early 20s, toolbox in hand, come to tune and service a pipe organ. I would walk into one of those beautiful, old, city parishes with their soaring ceilings. More often than not, it was ornately decorated with carved stations of the cross, stained-glass windows, high altars made of marble and carved wood, statues, and burning candles. I could even smell the candles and the incense.

Every now and again I’d walk into an old church and be gravely disappointed. Someone had “wreckovated” it: painted its beautiful walls beige, demolished its altars,  turned its pews sideways, and carpeted its terrazzo floors. “Such a tragedy,” I thought.

No one really taught me to think this way, to prefer old churches. My parents were not all that traditional in terms of Catholicism. Somehow I just “felt” the magnificence of beauty in my bones. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that the human person is wired for beauty. Somehow we innately appreciate symmetry, proportion, and order.

Once we’ve seen beauty, it’s hard to get it out of our system. Having grown up in the suburbs with their sterile churches, I was largely unaware of beautiful old churches. Yet in my early 20s, as I walked into many of them, some of them with a faded glory, so many of them wonderful to behold, I was struck by their beauty. And I’ve never gotten it out of my system. But of course, I’m not supposed to. Having seen beauty, I am meant to be drawn to it and to its beautiful message.

So in my mid 20s, my questions began to grow. What had happened? Why did we set aside such beauty? Why had we destroyed some of the beautiful things we already had?

One day I asked an older priest why so much had been discarded by the priests of his time. I thought I’d get a straight answer from him, because he had been one of those priests who reveled in all things new, yet later came to regret that many wonderful things had been discarded and lost.

I paraphrase the answer he gave in the first person. May he rest in peace (he died some years ago). I remember his words well, and he said something like this:

I think I need to say that we really thought we were doing the right thing. Many of us had grown greatly concerned that the Catholic Church was no longer able to speak to the modern age—an age that  was becoming increasingly sophisticated, scientific, etc. Increasing numbers of people had college degrees and demanded that faith speak to the intellectual and social issues of the day. But despite this need, we were still running churches that catered to a peasant and immigrant community. We were hunkered down in Catholic ghettos. The Catholic Church was increasingly identified with poor old immigrant women kneeling before statues, lighting candles, and fumbling with beads. Yes, our schools were full, but our children weren’t being “prepared for the future.”

It was thought to be a time that we had come of age in America. Science had reached new heights. There was talk of going to space; we had split the atom; computers and televisions were entering onto the scene.

Meanwhile, in our churches we were chanting in ancient languages and reciting old formulas. Many of us desperately thought this had to change if the church was ever to survive and be able to speak to the modern age. It’s funny that we didn’t turn to our own intellectual tradition. St. Thomas, St. Anselm, St. Augustine, and so many wonderful Church Fathers and Doctors had developed a rigorous intellectual tradition in the Church. Even still, all this seemed to us so “old-fashioned,” and the stuff of dusty old books.

A popular book from that time, “A Catholic Priest Looks At His Outdated Church,” articulated our many concerns for a Church that was out of touch with the modern world.

Regarding architecture, remember that Art Deco and other streamlined forms were very popular in the 50s. The phrase, “sleek and modern,” comes to mind. Straight lines and functional design were all the rage. But our churches pointed back to flourishes and excesses of what many people considered “myths” of a previous time. Why should we keep running to St. Blase to bless throats when modern medicine has more to offer? Did priests really have more to offer us by way of counsel than Sigmund Freud and other modern psychotherapists? Who needs exorcism when you have psychotherapy? Was not our time mumbling on beads better spent with social action?

Yes, we were desperately afraid that the Church was frozen in time, while the modern age was moving forward at the speed of light.

So we thought we were doing the right thing. Updating was essential if the Church was to survive and be able to speak to the modern age. We started gutting and simplifying churches to make them look “sleek and modern.” We started demanding more vernacular in the Liturgy and  in the celebration of the Sacraments. English was common in the Sacraments long before Vatican II. Baptisms and weddings were conducted almost wholly in English as early as the 50s.

For most of us, changes like these couldn’t come fast enough. How could we appeal to the new, young college “jet set,” to those were going to school on the G.I. Bill? How could we ever appeal to a  young, intellectual crowd while running old-fashioned, peasant churches, reciting “old myths,” novenas, legends of the Saints, and catechetical formulas?

And so we ushered in our little revolution, convinced that we were doing the right thing, convinced that this would save the Church from irrelevance in the modern, scientific, intellectual, and supposedly-sophisticated age. 

Remember the times! We were building the interstate highway system; we had just introduced television; there were scientists in lab coats seen everywhere, and computers were entering on the scene. We were planning to go to the moon by the early 60s! Yes, we thought we had come of age. If it was old it was bad, but if it was new it was good.

So, when the cry for “aggiornamento” (modernization) went out, the foundation for this phrase had been laid more than a decade before. Whatever the Pope meant, most of us in the trenches heard, “out with the old, in with the new!”

That was Father’s answer to me. I appreciated it, first of all because I trusted him; he was no rebel. He had come to see many erroneous insights for what they were. But he did at least have this testimony: that many who undertook the revolutionary cry did not do so with malice. They thought they were doing the right thing.

Let me be clear, dear reader: I do not write these reflections as a complete repudiation of any updating or changes that occurred back in the 60s and 70s. Ecclesia semper reformanda (the Church is always to be reformed).  Yet most of us looking back on that time do not see just a few minor updates, but rather a great rupture in the hermeneutic of continuity. And the rupture was about far more than just art and architecture. It was about the shredding and scrapping of time-tested theological teachings in favor of trendy sociological and psychological substitutes, questionable moral philosophies, dubious Scriptural theories, and the like. It was about open disobedience to liturgical norms and the casting aside of our spiritual traditions in favor of far-Eastern and other non-Christian philosophies.

It is one thing to make necessary adjustments, for example as language changes and our terms need adjusting. Further, as new avenues emerge for evangelization (such as the Internet and social media), we ought to use them.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen, considered by most as a conservative, was actually quite cutting-edge as he exploited a new medium called television. But he combined age-old wisdom with modern forms of communication.

Too many of us in the Church have not gotten this balance right, and in favoring the new we discarded the old. We have not been like that wise man our Lord Jesus praised: Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old. (Matt 13:52)

I do not argue here for a wholesale return to the “old days” or to an exclusively Latin Liturgy. My first concern remains those who demand we change our doctrine to suit the times. We cannot. Liturgical debates and changes permit some leeway, but not the doctrines and solemn moral teachings of the Church.

Even today, there are far too many in the Church who want to go on making the mistakes described above by my older priest friend. How desperately they want the Church to adapt to the modern age by discarding the received doctrine, tradition, and wisdom of God. Too many would have us reflect the modern age, rather than Christ. In order for the Church to be “welcoming,” modern, and sophisticated, they believe we must succumb to worldly demands that we “cave” on many issues related to marriage, sexuality, respect for life, and Church authority and governance. The Church cannot survive, they say, unless we make these sorts of changes.

Never mind that denominations that have done just this (such as the Episcopalians and many branches of the Lutherans and Methodists) have suffered far worse declines than we have. Still, many insist that we must better reflect the modern “wisdom” of the modern age in order to appeal to it.

But really, have we not learned at this point that seeking a rapprochement with the world only ends in the further erosion of the Church and the ultimate impoverishment of the world? Our modern world is in a mess, in darkness, because we have failed to be what we are supposed to be—a light in the midst of darkness and a sign that is often contradicted.

It is not the job of the Church to be popular, to reflect the thoughts of the times, or to parrot worldly “wisdom.” It is the job of the Church to reflect the views of her founder and head, Jesus Christ, who speaks  in the Scriptures and through the sacred Tradition he handed down to us. It is not our  job to be appealing, or even numerous. It is our work to proclaim that which has been received, whether in season or out-of-season.

In the Sunday readings of the past two weeks, St. Paul has also hammered away at this theme. He calls us to remember that we live in a world that is arrayed against God’s wisdom, that mocks and ridicules it. If we are configured to Christ and his Cross, we will often be called fools. But as St. Paul writes, the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God.

Those who come to God’s house do not need another voice to parrot the same thing they hear from the news anchors, the talking heads, or the University intellectuals. What the world needs, and what every Catholic needs when he comes into the Catholic Church, is someone who speaks God’s wisdom. The world will often called this foolishness, call it out of touch, backward, intolerant, bigoted, or homophobic. But we speak the wisdom of God.

To conclude, here are some reminders of what Paul has been teaching us in the sacred Liturgy these last three weeks:

  1. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (1 Cor 1:18-25)
  2. Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” ; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So then, no more boasting about human leaders! (1 Cor 3:18-21)
  3. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (1 Cor 3:27-29)

117 Responses

  1. J.D. Leavitt says:

    I enjoyed reading this, but I wish that you had written in traditional English. Proof-reading can work wonders.

    • Yes, I often have to do these posts late at night and I don’t have all the time to proof read. Plus its hard to proof read one’s own stuff since I read the errors right out of the text. I have a parish to run, I am not a full time author. Briefly one person offered to proof my texts, but that ended when they got busy.

      For purists such as you I might encourage more reading in traditional journals and newspapers which have line editors, style editors, and any number of other staff to review a text before it goes to print. The blogosphere is a low budget operation which focuses more on getting stuff out fast.

  2. Frank says:

    This is a fascinating post. The paraphrasing you provide from your priest friend is most illuminating. I am someone who grew up in the US after Vatican II and experienced many of the damaging liturgical influences you cite. However, your posting offered an insight that drew from me greater sympathy toward those responsible for spurring the changes. I believe that much of what was done was wrong, but what your priest friend offered explains well why things happened as they did.

    I can only guess why the impact of such changes was not predicted. No one could have imagined the profound cultural ruptures that were to happen in Western Civilization. For example, the thought of same-sex “marriage” would have been incomprehensible in the 1950s and 1960s. There was probably an unshakeable faith that family life would be zealously protected and that religious faith would be a bedrock of the American experience. Those of us picking up the pieces have to be willing to forgive people of that time for not seeing the full social consequences of their actions. We must, however, not forget this good and humbling lesson for our own times.

    Thank you for this thought-provoking post.

  3. Liliana Bittencourt says:

    Il Domani -Terribile o Radioso – del Dogma, by Enrico Maria Radaelli. Great book on the subject.

  4. David says:

    Msgr. those two pictures of the churches are worth a thousand words.

  5. Gail Finke says:

    Msgr: Excellent piece. Sometimes I think that what happened in the 60s was necessary to save the Church. It was the times, as you wrote — and the Church leaped into them. Having endured the consequences, we are retrenching: slowly recovering what good was lost, but also retaining what good was found (and yes, I do think there was some good). But we are NOT doing what the Anglicans and others are doing. Many American denominations are only now making changes they think will make them modern and will attract young people. I don’t think they have a future. I think we do, and it’s because we’ve already “been there, done that” and we’re not going any further along that road. The cost was high, but perhaps the cost of trying to make those changes/experiments NOW would be even higher.

  6. Katherine McMillan says:

    “He has scattered the proud in their conceit.”

    The evil we do is us, the good we do is God and therefore we do not take credit for it. It’s never us. We have to restore Reverence for Christ in the Eucharist, our churches in the U.S. are in ruins.

    We have to form Catholic consciences because at our particular judgement we will have a perfectly formed conscience and we will see all our evil acts. That is why it is an act of mercy to not give pro-abortion politicians the Eucharist. pax

  7. Branch says:

    Dear Msgr.,

    It is a point I see debated that reforms were even necessary at all, yet you mention that the trouble was brewing for a long time (before the Council).

    Can you explain what was wrong, what the problems were that ultimately gave rise to the Council? Why was reform necessary?

    • I think the fundamental reform that was necessary was to reinvigorate the understanding of the faith as a life changing and transformative encounter with Jesus Christ. TO a large degree we had settled in over the centuries to a kind of externalism which reduced the faith to perfunctory observances for most Catholics. There was also a kind of intellectualism which reduced the faith to knowing facts in a intellectual way (good in itself) but which did not account for a personal encounter with God or a personalization of the truths of faith. Too many had consigned deeper prayer and faith to Priests and Religious and it was thought by the lay faithful they could not reasonably attain to higher prayer etc. Liturgically there were attempts and hops as well to bring the Liturgy to a bit more of an interactive experience wherein the faithful were addressed seriously and included more explicitly in their rightful roles. Hence encouraging the use of a hand missal, proclaiming the readings in English, etc were initiatives. Just a quick answer here. More could be said.

      • Buckeye Pastor says:

        Another important thing that happened in the 1940s and 1950s was an increased consciousness of the connection between liturgy and what we called “social action.” This was fostered by Msgr. Ligutti and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, and by Fr. Gregory Diekmann OSB and confreres of his at Collegeville.

        By the way, where did you get those pictures? Included in them are pictures of priests from “the days of the giants” in the Diocese of Toledo, as well as our first four bishops (Joseph Schrembs, Samuel Stritch, Karl J. Alter, and George Rehring.)

      • Matt says:

        Msgr Pope, I’d love to see a post on this topic!

  8. Dee Cervi says:

    Msgr: I group into adulthood during this movement in the Church. i was devastated by it. Everything I had been taught, everything I knew was thrown aside for the new Modern life of the Catholic Church.

    Out with the old, in with the new. But even to this day, I receive communion on the tongue. I could never convince myself that it was ok to receive in the hand. I still go to Mass, and I travel a great deal, but if I find the old “Rite” I attend, also, I always try to find an old church. Years of Holiness took place in that Church before the desecration. I Thank you for the “blog” Msgr. Pope.

  9. Maria L says:

    Thank you for this insight into these times. I too lived through them. It is important to realize that many of the changes were made by church leaders (priests and nuns) who were most interested in “catching souls” and would jettison architecture, music, anything to get them. And that is the right thing to do. Each soul, any soul, is more precious than all the sensual beauty of the Church. I suspect your friend was similarly motivated. There were also likely some who wanted the admiration, popularity, etc. of the world, and like Judas would sell to get it. I think it is essential to remember that God allowed these changes. Jean-Pierre de Caussade said that we must accept what God allows just as we accept what he wills. So enough hang-wringing, back-ward glancing, and finger-pointing (by some, not you). Let’s dig in and do the work that is here, in our times, right in front of us.

    • Ben Dunlap says:

      Catching souls is the right motivation, but jettisoning the concrete treasure of our tradition cannot possibly be the right way to go about it. Souls are embodied in this life.

  10. Dan says:

    Works, and by this I mean not sacraments but what we do in leading a good life, do not necessarily lead to faith. Anti-religious people can do altruistic acts for what they perceive as social good. Engagement with the dominant culture can, in fact, put tremendous pressure on faith to compromise and adapt to what is popular or pragmatic. Engagement with the world, unless it springs from and is driven by faith, is a dangerous thing. After all, the world, along with the flesh and the devil, is one of the main obstacles to salvation.

    Faith, however, should lead to works. If it does not lead to works, that is, if it does not inform the attitude, form the conscience, and reform the behavior of the believer, it is no more than an adjunct to the secular life and, as faith, it is dead. ‘Cultural Catholicism,’ however strongly a person may adhere to it, does not in itself constitute living faith. Living faith leaves nothing in life untouched. It forms and reforms the believer.

    In the aftermath of Vatican II, there seems to have been a widespread opinion that all of our pious devotions, our sacred language, our ancient liturgy, and our lavishly decorated churches were cultural manifestations of a Catholicism that had missed the enlightenment and failed to engage the world. Far from being regarded as expressions of faith, as reminders that we are in the world but not of it, and as points of contact with the divine providing inspiration for dealing with life, these things were somehow seen as obstacles to engagement with the world.

    Faith must precede work and the Catholic faithful who do the work need a Catholic identity. Although they should not be “Cultural Catholics” they most certainly need a Catholic culture to know who they are and what they want the world to be. Restoration of our Catholic Culture is integral to recovery from the aftermath of Vatican II.

    How much of a restoration there should be, or can be, is complicated and difficult to say. Certainly, the Church will never be exactly as it was before the Council. The Holy Spirit had something in mind for the Council. Whether He had much to do with the aftermath of the Council is open to debate. But the question remains, what should we restore?

    If I were deliberately going to destroy a culture, I would certainly go after its language first. Once a language is gone, the culture may not be completely defunct but it will certainly be far off its moorings. Verbum sapienti satis.

  11. Rory O'Donnell says:

    Your second church is the Biotto Rome 2000 one (hardly a wreckover). Wonderful video included Pugin’s St George’s Cathedral Southwark (1840-8) destroyed 1941.

  12. Jerome Schauf says:

    Great insights Msgr. and very much appreciated. As a youngster I learned the Latin and served mass, fingers pointing straight to heaven, in deep reverence. Suddenly things changed, a different priest and pretty soon we were dispensing communion in baskets placed on the communion rail. For some reason I’ve always needed the mass. No one ever had to say to me,”you have to go to mass”. I’ve never gone anywhere. In the last couple years it’s been placed on my heart to get to daily mass and since my work load will now permit I took that step. In order to do this I’ve needed to drive to a neighboring parish once or twice a week to attend the extraordinary form, in Latin.
    Now couple this with a decision I made to incorporate Steven Rays dvd ;” Moses Signs Sacraments and Salvation”,into the Bible TimelineSeries I’m teaching in religious ed . Needless to say the exposure I received in the biblical prefigurement and biblical references to everything that is the mass in the old rite made the prayers (English Translation) come fully alive. My thought is the Holy Spirit is at work. We as a church don’t need to react but listen. We as a church need to fully catechize both forms and see where God takes us.

  13. Hank Rutland says:

    My home parish was built in 1966 and is post-revolution. The parish just north of us was built in the 1930’s. When I go to mass there, I am reminded of great saints and their contribution to Christ’s church and the world. There are statues there to bring them to mind. Not so in my parish. We have icons of Jesus as the Lamb of God, and Mary and Joseph but the large crucifix hangs in the back of the church so you don’t see it during mass. Most interesting. I saw the testimony of Bella Dodd, and active member and recruiter of the communist party, converted by Bishop Sheen to Catholicism, who told a congressional committee that she had recruited 1100 or so young men to infiltrate the ranks of the clergy by becoming priests. This was done in the late 40’s through the 60’s if my facts are close to reality. There is an interesting coincidence of time frame there, with the revolution of Liturgy, change in thinking within the church as presented by the Father’s reply in the article. Also, the appearance of the disgrace of the sexual abuse by some clergy in the church. Seems diabolical doesn’t it? subtle, yet seemingly innocent. Just the way I see satan working in my life. Makes me think these bad ideas I have are my own, and ok.

  14. Matt says:

    Thank you for helping me to be more understanding of, and merciful toward, the previous generation.

  15. Donna Steichen says:

    Your column is interesting, and I think your priest friend’s charitable explanation of the upheaval have merit.
    But they do not explain why the change agents so brusquely rejected the questions, objections, even anguished protests, of the laity affected by those wholesale changes.

    I was there, and I know of what I speak. Parents who sought to explain to DREs. pastors, even bishops, why their children needed doctrinal instruction were dismissed as rigid nuerotics incapable of change. Those who loved the Church’s traditional music and art were brushed aside in the same way. Those who dared to beg for liturgical reverence were threatened with suspension and even with virtual interdiction. I could cite names and dates, if space were available.

    The process was a tragic and insensitive blunder, and the subsequent flight of so many faithful was no surprise.

  16. Donna Steichen says:

    May I correct two typos in my preceding remarks?

    In line one, ‘explanation’ should be ‘explanations’.

    In line five, ‘nuerotics’ should be ‘neurotics’.

    Thank you.

  17. Bill B. says:

    The sheep lost their way in the ways of the world.
    One of pride’s first casualties is the Truth. May His mercy
    allow a humility to cling to the Cross as we face the future.
    Time tells; it always does.

  18. Helena Scott says:

    Could you tell us the title of the piece of chant accompanying the “pictures from before the revolution”? Thank you!

  19. Rosemary says:

    Thank you, Msgr. Pope for this analysis that rapprochement is not the way to go. Whenever the Church has tried to accomodate the prevailing secular powers, it lost its credibility.

    Clearly the “fruits” of Vatican Council II have appeared questionable but I would prefer the state we are in, bad as it is, to that of the Church beforehand. We seem to be in a state of soul-searching and self-examination that, I think, has never occurred in our history. It’s long overdue on our part but is a special grace from God.

  20. Peggy says:

    Excellent description and explanation of what I have observed in 58 years. I am a product of the immigrant. I have a college degree, education, married late in life, made up for lost time had 6 kids by age 40, and held my father has he died of cancer after he received last rights. Turning point at age 42, retired from ny engineer job, became a full time wife and mother, and began a journey to get to know my faith, and my Church. I encountered beauty, too! Not just the visual majesty of our churches, I found the writings of our early fathers Ambrose comes to mind, I found the Saints, the Rosary, I found the teaching on Purgatory! I became a volunteer religious Ed teacher, studied the lessons and brought out things that were missing from the curriculum. With my engineer background it was difficult for the DRE to bring be back to the bland teaching I was to provide. My students, my husband, my children got and are still getting the full meal deal. I am now involved in assisting with confirmation program, and I make sure the gaps are filled. I do this gently, with understanding and love (charity))authentic love. I have had encounters of resistance but I approach that with charity, too, and am still teaching and successful. Our awesome Triune God waited for me, and WOW what a comeback he prepared! My prayers for your ministry, and for all of us who are on the journey, at he beginning, in the middle (me) or near the end, isn’t it simply incredible and exciting to be a Catholic, in these desperate times! Love to you all Peggy

  21. Ethan says:

    Thanks for mentioning the Venerable Fulton Sheen.

    Venerable Fulton Sheen, pray for us!

  22. Mac Cicak I I says:

    Amen.

  23. John Toncinich says:

    Msgr Pope, i found this trying to find out what happen to us (i was born in 1971). I mean by that that is this. I was a ‘faithful’ catholic, which is to say nothing could convert me, and i was in church for the three important day (yes faithful as i one up the two a year catholics). but after my mother died, and I grieved mostly alone, i did my second confession in my entire life. You see i was so well catechized that i did not know the relationship of receiving the eucharist and confession. but after the confession, and a mysterious weight lifted, not only what i confessed to, but an additional weight i did not know about. Then a crazy thing happened. i heard about this green book, and after i read it, boy did i think i missed out on a lot. fast forward time a bit, I became a catechist. For those who really want to catch up (my brothers and sisters reading this) i can make 5 recommendations and one optional one.

    First go to church on all days of obligation, and if you can, one no obligatory, like the first saturday, for the madonna.
    Second take a few minutes to read the bible, even just open randomly and read one chapter. before long, you will start reading the footnotes, and an few minutes will be an hour.
    Third, if and when you can, visit our brother and sisters of the other rites. Some prefer to stick with what they know. I can tell you that hearing the divine liturgy of St Chrysostom and St Basil will give you a point of view that enhances our own understanding of our own liturgy. Its different, but beautiful.
    Fourth is start praying the rosary. maybe start with the divine mercy chaplet, its easy to learn. then maybe start a week to do one decade, the second week the first and second decade, and so on. maybe in the beginning it may seem boring or you may not fell nothing. but for wat happened to me, once i was less focused on what day is what prayer, after the learning phase was over, you start feeling its power in your life. Stay with it, it worth it.
    Fifth, what ever small the task try to do something with the church, get to know the pastor outside of a handshake after mass.They are good men, sacrifice a lot, and I not sure we thank them for what they have to do, and want to do for us.
    Lastly, and is optional because they are expensive, bet a copy of the Liturgy of the Hours, and feel free to ask a priest how to work the ribbons, and what prayers to do. The psalms will have a richer meaning to you, and some of the reading are from letters and quotes from saints and holy people that you will feel like ‘wow, why don’t they teach this at church’

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