I was having a discussion with my cousin recently. He says he is tired of the long masses. I know his distress. My children always complain that the mass is too long. I wonder if the mass was half an hour if I would still get that complaint. The reality is that there are some parishes that people stay for about two hours in the church.Now that is reduiculous. I have never really paid attention, but I have been told that the dominican masses go on for one hour.. and one hour only.
Well maybe so, but they don't have all the fru fru that our other masses have. We must celebrate our parishioners birthdays, and new people, and visitors, and those from abroad, and those who lost a love one, and those who have aniversaries (of any sort) and then we have the announcements and then on some days we have one parish group thanking some individuals and there are other reasons that keep us in after the offical mass has ended. Weather people like it or not, this fru fru is important. It helps build a sense of comunity.
The real issue is the time of the homily. Someone once told me that the homily must be of a certain length. Well, I don't know. I have heard some really great homilies that left me so enthused, and others that I really couldn't remember, even after just hearing it minutes before. In this day of entertainment, I don't want to be entertained, but I do want to be fed. I want to hear the word of God and feel compelled to follow it.
It is true that very few people are great orators. Father Mechelle DeVertueil homilies were epic for my children. They understood his homilies. They enjoyed them. His homilies were really just very short explainations of what the scripture told us in the reading and what we are being asked to do. ... very very short. The homilies took just a few minutes.
Some homilies leave an impression. The last nuncio to Port of Spain gave a homily on the Catholic church not being a tent revival. When I made that statement in the newsletter, one particular Charismatic Catholic was very upset. Another homily by an irish priest, Father Tiernan, moved me and my wife to be against the death penalty. Still another homily I heard got me upset with the priest as I interpretted his soliloquay as racist..... so homilies can leave you with some feeling... long or short.
Perhaps what can be said in twenty minutes, can also be said in ten minutes. There is such a thing as over explaining, and repeating yourself. It is a distastful thing to be put into a lecture hall and have the same thing said to you over and over. Similarly, in the over explaining process, you could loose the AUDIENCE. Loosing an audience is of course bad, because now they are no longer being spiritually fed, but also they are also loosing interest in going to church... and they become indifferent to the word of God.
Some might find that they are being fed in other parishes or denominations... and that is not good for catholic community.
So in closing I would like to say that I am in agreement with my cousin. The masses should be kept to one hour. I wonder what the Archbishop can do about this.