Wonder Bread for the soul

By Diogenes (articles - email) | Jun 23, 2007

At St. Agatha’s, the Rev. Peter Casey says families like the Welzes and Conways are keeping the faith for much the same reason: They found a parish with meaningful worship, where they can take an active part and are challenged to think about ‘‘why we do what we do.’’

Who is this Boston pastor, and how is he challenging the faithful to appreciate the mysteries of the Divine Liturgy? It's a long story, but here's just a taste:

As dozens of grinning youngsters watched from the foot of the low, open altar, the ensemble acted out a good-humored sketch of the story of Jesus’ miraculous feeding with a few loaves and fishes. When one of the puppet characters said, ‘‘Wow! That’s what I call Wonder Bread!’’ the adults in the pews chuckled, too.

This parish makes you think about what you're doing. What you're doing is watching a puppet show.

The subtitle to the newspaper report is "Relevance keeps the church pews filled today." Actually the pews aren't full-- Mass attendance is down sharply from 20 years ago-- but leave that aside for now, and let's focus on that word "relevance."

What is it about a puppet theater that makes the Gospel relevant to children? Familiar, yes. The kids have all seen the Muppets; puppet shows are nothing new. Amusing, maybe. Out of respect for my fellow adults, I'd like to think that there were as many rolling their eyes as there were chuckling in the pews. But leave that aside, too.

Let's assume that the pews would be full, except that the people are all rolling in the aisles. Let's assume that the show is a boffo success. Now tell me how that makes people think, and in particular how it prepares children for active participation in the Holy Sacrifice.

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.