Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Reimagining The Catholic Mass (I Don't Think This Is What They Had In Mind)

Sorry its been awhile since my last post (pretty sure two people give a shit, but they're too busy finishing their homework and NEED TO CLEAN THEIR ROOMS AND STOP FIGHTING EHEMMMMMM). Anyway, an esteemed colleague and I were shooting the breeze today and he suggested, out of the blue, that Sunday Mass would be a lot more exciting if they had a concession stand in the back. We then expanded on some other suggestions. Figured this needed to be blogged about. So enjoy.

Disclaimer - Catholic bashers can pound sand. I don't want your synopsis about your views on the church, organized religion, how your life is over since the Hobby Lobby decision came down, and that you're thinking of leaving Christianity because there aren't enough women priests and 'people hate the gays' (not true). If that's your reason, good riddance. There's always Unitarianism and Buddhism, so have at it. This is a 100% serious attempt to bring people back to the Catholic Mass. I repeat - 100% serious. So have an open mind. Remember, it's easier to complain about the darkness than light a match.

The Procession

I am a huge pro wrestling fan. This is well known by those close to me. Last I checked, there's nothing in the Bible that forbids the incorporation of WWE theatrics into the Sunday Mass. Therefore, my first proposal is to have the clergy process down the aisle in the motorized little rings from WrestleMania III:

Priest and Deacon carry the Word in their own ring, while the lectors and eucharistic ministers cram into another ring (but ahead of the officiants). Altar boys walk to the side and are never allowed to ride in the ring. Part of the lawsuit settlement(s). These rings will go up to the altar, where the officiants depart, make a respectful bow, and begin ceremonies. Aforementioned rings will then automatically use their built-in Roomba technology to juxtapose themselves next to the choir section, where they will wait until the Mass concludes. and crew will take their positions and exit the aisle in reverse procession format. Entrance music changes based on calendar, but suggestions include 'King of Kings' by Motorhead, 'Welcome To The Jungle' by GNR, or 'Royalty' by Gang Starr.

Removal of Children, Mine Included

Before Mass even begins, local volunteers will call forward the children, who will then be spirited away to go play dodgeball in the church basement. Other games include: 'Pin The Tail On The Heathen', 'Chutes and Jacob's Ladders', 'Catechism-...gories', and Monopoly (JK - Jesus HATES that game, he was the original inspiration for flipping out and knocking tables/games over, just ask the money changers). There's also a religion Q&A section where kids can ask church elders popular questions, like 'Why was Mohamed so violent?' 'Was Martin Luther really a dick?' 'Can my iPhone go to Heaven too?' and 'Seriously, why was Mohamed so effing violent?' Kids will be kept in the basement until the Eucharist is put in the tabernacle. This will prevent the hellfire that awaits those who exit immediately after receiving Communion (more on this later).

Five Minute Sermons with 360 Degree Feedback

Ever sit through a sermon that feels like it's never going to end? Was the point lost in the translation? Not when you have a 'shot clock' in the background. Priests have no more than five minutes to get their point across. No rambling, no tangents, no corny jokes, no pandering to the crowd about the local sports team. There will be a clock that starts counting down the second the sermon starts. Five minutes, no more, no less. This ensures the crowd is attentive and hanging on their every word. Buzzer goes off when five minutes is up. Make it good, Pastor Courvoisier. When you are done, you will ask the crowd a simple question - "Fist or five?" Five fingers for a top rating, fist for a zero rating on the quality of your sermon. Priests get ranked nationally on 'Most Exciting Sermons' based on moving 52 week average. Those with the highest three year average are eligible for Archbishop status or Vatican appointment. Those who can't hack it will be given the GE treatment - bottom 10% in the rankings will be let go or will be set up with a falsified story as a pretext to boot them from the parish. But like a Benghazi witness, they can be relocated and start over on the other side of the country.

Groundbreaking Choir

In order to jazz things up, the lead cantor will be equipped with a T-Pain autotune straw/mic whatever the hell its called. DJ Skrillex would remix all of the popular hymns with a dubstep beat to get the crowd more involved. The kids choir would merge with the adult choir to create a Sister Act 'slow-begets-fast' song layout. Those who were caught falling asleep at last week's sermon were thrown into a windowless van by masked churchgoers the morning of and trained/forced to dance against their will at this week's Mass to the aforementioned dubstep music. This ensures dual participation/dual accountability to stay engaged in both sermon and sing-a-longs.

Concession Stands In The Narthex

Mass can be long. As an Armenian-American who happens to be Roman Catholic, I've been in Armenian Masses that last as long as two hours. I clocked a 15-second 'Amen' in 2003 at my grand-aunts funeral. Now, in case you didn't know, Armenian Apostolic is the closest textbook branch of Christianity to Catholicism. In a two hour ceremony, folks get tired. Folks zone out. Folks fall asleep. If a concession stand is set up in the narthex of the church (ie - 'the back' or the 'front lobby'), then people can come and go during the ceremony and drop a dollar in the bucket for candy, pretzels, or coffee. Those that are adventurous can get a hot dog for $2.50 or even a microwaveable pizza for $4. All money goes back to the church. Think of it as a kind of 'Church Boosters Club'. This supplements the two collection plate offerings during the actual ceremony. Additional funds can come from lotto tickets (old people love that shit to supplement their income). Convenience stores sell them to the church at an agreed 10% discount because they feel guilty and then the church turns around and marks them up 25%. Rules are rules. Beer will be sold (strictly Guinness and Merry Monks ale), but with a significant markup. Doesn't float your boat? Be a eucharistic minister and help the priest down the port wine after communion/post-Mass.

Electronic Padded Benches

There's that part of the Mass where the priest has a seven-minute schpiel that re-enacts the Last Supper. "Take this all of you, and drink from it - for this is my body, which will be given up for you." Usually the lame, the lazy, and the young will use this as an opportunity to lean their ass cheeks on the bench while still keeping their knees on the pews. We don't do both. Jesus died on a cross for your salvation. The least you can do is sweat it out for seven minutes. I get it - it's hard. I am clenching my butt-cheeks together so hard to keep from farting and singeing the eyebrows of the poor slob behind me. So I compromise here - the benches will be padded and a lot more comfortable when you come to church, but during specific times when you should be kneeling, electric currents will be shot through them so that anyone (other than designated rows) will have their asses shocked with electricity if they lean against them. This ensures that we are all leaning forward for the Eucharistic Prayer. The electric shock dulls the haunches and loosens the glutes to the point where the perpetrator will literally shit their pants if they lean back. Bet you'll think twice about being lazy next time you go to Church.

Hellfire and Brimstone to Early Leavers

One facet of church-going that gets my goat is the early leavers. Those that leave after communion to beat traffic because it's more convenient to them. Kinda like an abortion. When you leave Mass early, you take a dump on the previous 45 minutes of the service. You want to get home and watch football or go food shopping or rake leaves. You are a jerk for doing such activities. This process improvement involves shooting EMP sensors and/or food dye water balloons at your car so A) your car doesn't start or B) it gets multi-colored dye spilt all over it so you drive home in shame, and people say to themselves, "That color combo implies that they left Mass early. What a bunch of assholes." Each of the well-placed 'ushers' have a remote in their pockets that instantly EMP's the parking lot so that any scoundrel leaving early sits in a dead car. Almost as dead as their black souls.

Strict Dress Code

As I get older, I become more disgusted with humanity. Sunday Mass is no different. What used to get me excited 17 years ago now makes me shake my head in disgust. Teenagers and other young adults dress for Mass like they're going clubbing. Yoga pants, mini-skirts, super tight low-rise leggings, form-fitting tops, and the boys wear meathead gear - Ed Hardy shirts, designer jeans, curb-stomping steel-toe boots. I should never see a thong or a human labia poking out, and yet I do. Routinely. Why do people dress disrespectfully to enter the Lord's house? I want standard attire for folks when they attend Mass - men wear slacks and a blazer, women wear dresses to the knees and a bonnet or if not a bonnet, then they need to braid their hair in thin strands and then tuck behind their ears cause that's kinda hot. This is not negotiable. We need to bring respect and reverence back to the service, and this is one of the last vestiges of yesterday that can be preserved.

Kiss of Peace Fist Bump

No longer a handshake. Too many viruses going around. This has been downgraded (or is it upgraded?) to a fist-bump. Less germs change hands, sweaty palms do not come into play, and you can bump without having to say 'Peace be with you' cause the fist bump is universal and implied. I also don't want your AIDS or Ebola to get on me. Nothing personal.

End-Cap Communion Holders

In order to limit the lines and shuffling of human freight, each row will have the Host(s) in a container that sits in a cupholder pre-positioned before Mass. At the proper time, the first person in each row will take a communion, and pass to the person to their right. Once complete, the container will have moved from left to right across the row and then fastened to the cupholder on the right hand side of the aisle. Everyone will have gotten their communion, taken a knee, and prayed to the Lord for guidance and blessings for the upcoming week.


The Mass in its new format should be no more than 30 minutes due to the shortened sermon and the self-serve communion process. The message has been more enriching and the assembly have gotten more out of it, since their kids are in the basement and not spilling Cheese-Its and fruit snacks all over the pews and screaming 'butthole' every five minutes. Now the priest will say a quick word in summary, and hop in his WWE mini-ring and ride up the aisle. People are free to depart henceforth, which is standard protocol. Anyone displaying road rage in the parking lot will have to get out of their car and wait for everyone else to leave (since the ushers will have their EMP remote control devices to monitor behavior). You've learned nothing if you exit Mass and become an asshole again. You have to stay and make small-talk with some old women about their grandkids until the traffic dissipates.

Hope this provides enhanced enjoyment for your church-going experience. As always, ideas are welcomed (to be ignored/discarded).

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