What is it about school Masses? I just celebrated a ‘Mass of Achievement’ for a year group at one of our local schools (at which we also remembered the victims of the 7/7 bombings). I only found out about it at the last minute and so I could only check the Order of Service a few minutes before the beginning of Mass.
I’m willing to be flexible as far as possible at such a late stage – thus I tolerated the opening hymn, a version of the Gloria. Far from ideal, but the Gloria is at least not required today in its usual place. The closing hymn was also fairly ‘happy-clappy’ – but the point is that most teenagers are not ‘in the mood’ for this at 9.50 in the morning, so they either stand there in silence or laugh while the teachers try to force them to sing (starting, of course, on the wrong note).
What I really objected to was the substitute for the Responsorial Psalm – an extract from Nelson Mandela’s 1994 inaugural speech. Lucky I spotted it. They might be inspiring words but, sorry, it ain’t Scripture. Even a reading from Pope Benedict or Aquinas wouldn’t be appropriate. When I protested, one of the teachers called me a ‘liturgical purist’! Anyway, in the end the passage was removed from the Liturgy of the Word and read as a 'reflection' right at the end of the Mass.
Why can’t they just follow what’s in the Missal and Lectionary? It’s what the Church requires and what our young people want.