Starting Praise and Worship at Your Catholic Church

Adoration is powerful, but getting people to come is hard.  Many parishes have found great success in introducing people to adoration through praise and worship music.  This approach draws people of all ages in, helps them pray by singing, and is very enjoyable.

However, we know it’s not for everyone.  We really respect those how would rather spend an hour in silence, with the rosary, or with sacred scripture.  At the same time, we have seen the fruits of Praise and Worship at Franciscan University of Steubenville and many other parishes across the country.

Recently we were asked this question:

I’m looking to start a praise and worship adoration at my Catholic church about once a month. Is there any specific way or order I should do it? Or any prayers that are recommended or required? Thanks. :)

Great Question!  We have two previous posts, that answer the question, but we will add a few more.

Previous Resources:

In addition to leading Praise and Worship, here are a few guides on Exposition and Benediction.

Just because this type of adoration involves youthful music, it still needs to follow the guidelines for correct worship.  That is, what governs exposition and benediction is still necessary.  We have seen this done in many different ways, but the best way is what incorporates great music and correct liturgical actions.

Poster for Praise and Worship

This is probably our best resources.  A word document poster you can edit and make your own.

Praise and Worship Adoration Poster

Praise and Worship Adoration

When the Homily at Church Stinks

homiliesHow often does your family get back in the car and say, “What was Father talking about?”  Maybe you’re at a parish with fantastic preachers who explain Sacred Scripture with holy eloquence.  Or maybe your parish is about an 8 minute comedy show and everyone goes home laughing.  Or maybe you just keep going to Church because you believe in the Real Presences of the Eucharist, despite any heretical teachings that come from the pulpit.

 

Maybe your none of the above and just want more from the Sunday homily.

 

Preaching is definitely an art form that requires practice, preparation, and prayer.  After asking a number of clergy, we have found this little axiom true.  At the same time some priests and deacons are just better preachers, than others.

If the priest or deacon has to practice, prepare, and pray, maybe those who listen might benefit from the same equation of success.

Preparing to Listen to a Sunday Homily

Practice

  1. Practice going to Mass Sunday to stay in touch with the liturgical season.
  2. Practice monthly confessions to keep your soul free from mortal sin and detached from venial sin.
  3. Practice reading the Sunday readings a few days before Sunday, so the words are in your mind.

Preparation

  1. Read a commentary on the readings for Mass (http://thedivinelamp.wordpress.com/
  2. Read the Pope’s Wednesday Angelus message because it often interprets the Sunday readings.
  3. Read the Salt & Light blog because they give great sermons on the Sunday Readings

Pray

  1. Pray individually or as a family for your parish priests.
  2. In your daily prayer, ask the Lord to open your ears so you can hear Him speak through the priest.
  3. Ask the Lord to send more priests to your parish to preach and be heralds of the Gospel.

We hope these little insights might help you get the most out of the homily on Sundays.

The Importance of Praying for Each Other

cultureWe are still recovering from the shocking behavior of Miley Cyrus at the 2013 video music awards. Along with the public demonstration on live television, Miley has published a hit music video with her wearing nothing. Is this the fruit of her years working for Disney?

Miley isn’t the only modern day performer to build a multi-million dollar legacy through publicity about her body.   Lady Gaga performs in a similar manner.  Even more shocking, Japan now sells a life-size doll of Lady Gaga for men.  It’s better that we don’t explain.

Both performers are raking in millions of dollars. This industry knows what they are doing, but do they know what they’re doing to our families, children, souls?

What has our culture come to? What are our teens experiencing?

Parents face a daunting task raising children today.

There is a current addictive substance added to a large majority of entertainment.  Movies, like the recent Hunger Games, mix scenes of violence and lust, planting graphic images into the minds of children.  Pop icons sell records by blurring the line between the bedroom and the stage.  Even best selling books keep the reader engaged by adding little sprinklings of regular adultery.  (I am trying my best to watch my language).

It would be cliche to say our current culture is filled with sin.  We are beyond that and almost immune to sin.  Instead, we could say that our culture is satisfied with illusions to the true good.

Theology of the BodyBlessed John Paul II, in Theology of the Body, speaks volumes on the beauty of marital intimacy and the human body.  However, today beautiful bodies are used to make money, rather than making themselves truly happy.

Instead of blaming the Pop icons and entertainers who feel it is necessary to reveal their bodies for money, why not criticize the bankers, producers, managers, and directors who encourage this behavior.  Behind every celebrity, pop singer, or movie star, is very large supporting cast.

Where were the virtuous men and women around Miley at the VMA awards encouraging her to act with prudence, rather than act vulgarly?

Often when one person falls into sin or acts in a way contrary to the common good, you find that person surrounded by strong influencers.  If multiple people can lead a person into sin, then maybe it takes multiple people to help that person return.

Do we influence those around us to to good and avoid evil, or sink away from truth and into evil?  Secondly, when those around us are wallowing in the filth of evil, do we stay silent and let them sink or reach down and help them up?

Through Baptism, our Lord shares with all of us the incredible power of the Holy Spirit.  This powerful advocate is always with us.  Do not be afraid to influence those around you to do good, walk away from sin, and return to Jesus.  Likewise, when someone is in serious sin, pray, pray, pray, because your prayer might be what helps them return from the grasp of the devil.

Deliverance Prayer against the Devil

Using Pinterest to Promote the Catholic Faith

Pinterest for CatholicsVisually appealing evangelization materials can be hard to find, yet they are so important to transmitting the faith.  For two thousand years, much of the Catholic Faith has been taught through images, sounds, and smells.  Consider stained glass windows, sacred artwork, or statues of the saints.  Today, the visual appeal of the Faith is extremely important.   Archbishop Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization,  explains:

Within the Church, we are accustomed to the use of texts as a normal mode of communication.  Many of the websites that have been developed by different Church institutions continue to use that language.  One can find on the web many wonderful homilies, speeches and articles but it is not clear if they speak to a young audience that is fluent in a different language; a language rooted in the convergence of text, sound and images.  We need to rediscover the capacity of art, music and literature to express the mysteries of our faith and to touch minds and hearts.  Just as the stain glass images of the medieval cathedrals spoke to an illiterate audience, we must find digital forms of expression that are appropriate to a generation that has been described as ‘post literate’.[1]

Pinterest may be your answer to finding digital forms to evangelize to a post literate generation.  (Pinterest is a social media network used to curate images.)

5 Creative Catholic Pinterest Boards to Follow

 

 

How do you use Pinterest to evangelize in the New Evangelization?


[1]. Archbishop Fisichella, 2012 Address to Our Sunday Visitor.

Catholic High School Retreat Ideas

Catholic High School Retreat Ideas is Eucharistic AdorationEvery parish we encounter wants a better youth group filled with inspiring Catholic youth devoted to the Lord.

Unfortunately, most of the time, both the pastor and volunteers do not know where to start.  After a few years of watching, asking, and learning, we have discovered (maybe you already know), that the fastest way to a large, vibrant, Catholic youth group is starting immediately after a retreat.

High school retreats offer an opportunity to disconnect from the busy world and connect in the intimacy of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Read A Better Way to Run Catholic Retreats for a starter game plan.

Like all our practical tips over the years, we think the Eucharistic is the core of a Roman Catholic retreat.  High School students respond to Jesus.  However, games, food, and activities must prepare the students and leaders for this encounter.  The work of youth ministry is a thankless task.  There are no short cuts.

7 Catholic High School Retreat Ideas

These are simple starter ideas anyone can do.  Be warned – these still require work.

  1. Find an already established Catholic Parish High School Retreat and Join Them.
  2. Organize a Franciscan University Summer High School Conference.
  3. Connect with your Catholic High School and join their Kairos retreat.
  4. Call your neighboring parishes and ask what retreat experience they use.
  5. Contact the high school minister at your Catholic High School or a neighboring diocese and ask them for advice.
  6. Start with a small, one day retreat at your parish.
  7. Find a service project, participate with it, add opportunities for the Sacraments.

5 Time Savers for Retreats

There is always time to fill in a retreat and that’s why large blocks of great content can help any priest, sister, or youth minister, in planning a retreat.  Consider putting these 5 times savers together to form a great retreat.

  1. Show the Movie Bella or For Greater Glory – These great Catholic movies lend themselves to discussion.
  2. Play a Sport – Remember John Paul II and sports?
  3. Find a Fantastic Local Public Speaker – They can even be your parish priest.
  4. Praise and Worship Music
  5. Make food for the homeless

 

What do you do for creative high school retreats?

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