America Media wanted to know and came up with interesting answers:
When asked to rate the quality of their parish liturgy, the majority of respondents told America that it was either high (29 percent) or very high (27 percent). Juanita, of Florida, rated the quality of liturgy at her parish as very high, writing, “We have a priest who makes everyone feel welcome, says Mass with great reverence and gives meaningful homilies.” Readers who judged their parish liturgy to be of high quality were more likely than others to call for better lay engagement at their parish. Sheila, of Minnesota, explained, “We are a welcoming parish, with well-done liturgies, but we want all present to be actively involved and feel they belong.” Other respondents told us that liturgy was of neither low nor high quality in their parish (22 percent). Only 21 percent of readers rated their parish liturgy as low (16 percent) or very low (5 percent). Kelly, also of Minnesota, told America: “I always have high hopes. The congregation seems responsive, but a sense of togetherness is missing. Our parish has been suffering for a number of years. I appreciate our pastor; his homilies just usually lose me.” Readers who were dissatisfied with the quality of liturgy at their parish repeatedly cited preaching as most in need of improvement. Daniel, of Arkansas, described the preaching at his parish. “We have a very small parish and do the best we can. If enthusiasm were the criterion, we’d have great homilies,” he said. “But lack of preparation, disorganization, questionable (when not simply incorrect). theology, and verbosity don’t equal good preaching.”
Read the rest.
The church pictured above, by the way, is one where I’m giving the parish mission this week: Christ the King, in Mashpee, MA. The liturgies are excellent, with singable, faithful and varied music that is well sung by everyone, altar servers who are attentive and not too fussy, and priests who are never, um, overly creative.
The preaching? Well, based on last weekend, it could be better. The evidence is here.
But the guy was a visitor from out of town, so the parish cut him some slack.
Below, a shot of the church sanctuary. The place was built just over 30 years ago, but fits in beautifully with the local character and culture. It looks like Cape Cod.