The New Springtime

El Indigente was a simple diocese basking in the new springtime of the Church following the Second Vatican Council. The Vatican sent the diocese two liturgical experts to update the liturgy yet again for the 60th anniversary of the Novus Ordo Missae. The diocese would never be the same again.

Location: Jacksonville, FL

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Chapter 4 - The Novissimus Ordo

It’s 4:30PM, Saturday, December 2, 2028. The renovations are complete at the newly renamed Cathedral of St. Francis, the Really Nice Guy Who Talks to Bunnies and Hugs Trees: St. Fran’s for short. The platform has been extended, the devotional sections in front taken out, and separate stages put in: the one on the left is for the lighting and sound men; the one on the right is obviously a second stage, perhaps for the musical ministry. There is a dark curtain hiding the back half of the main platform.

The lights all go off, and spotlights run back and forth across the main platform. With the sound of a tympani roll, canned music begins. A spotlight focuses on Blanche as she comes to the middle of the stage, smiling profusely at the people and carrying a book up high. She is wearing her hair down, and wearing an elegant sleeveless blue sequined gown, looking not unlike a dark-haired Vanna White, only much younger. In fact, she is carrying the book as if she was on a game show.

As she turns to put the book on the podium, a distinctive male voice says (with the spotlights still running to and fro), “Ladies and gentlemen, we are pleased to present to you, live, at St. Francis Cathedral in El Indigente, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, brought to you by (Blanche comes back on stage, smiling at the people and holding/displaying a bottle of cola) Ed’s Cola. Drink Ed’s Cola, so refreshing, it’s a little foretaste of heaven. (Blanche leaves the stage) And now, let’s hear it for Deeeeacon Luuuuuuuuuuuuvmuffin”

Canned applause greeted the El Indigente’s new resident liturgical expert. Deacon Luvmuffin comes on stage with gaudy purple rhinestone vestments, without a discernable religious symbol. He is still wearing his sunglasses and he has his “peace” medal on outside his vestments, along with a wireless microphone.

Ever the showman, Luvmuffin begins the Sacred Liturgy. “Hey there, y’all. And welcome to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, brought to you by Ed’s Cola. As you can tell from my purple threads, we are in the season of Advent, which means one thing, I’m sure y’all know what I’m saying. It’s freezing out!” Drums and canned laughter met that joke.

The People of God has obviously not caught up to the Holy Spirit’s idea of good liturgy, as they look bored and disgusted. But Roma locuta, causa finita est. This pastoral directive must be from God.

Deacon Luvmuffin continued, “They say that skinny people get cold faster than fat people, not that I’d know nothing about that (canned laughter) and I guess that’s why Thanksgiving at the end of November: to fatten us up for the cold weather. Ho!” (drums and canned laughter)

Deacon Luvmuffin, realizing the monolog wasn’t working, changed topics. “It’s so nice to see y’all.” The pleasure was all the deacon's.

The three days a month obligation for December meant that this month, they had seven days to choose from: five Sundays and two Optional Days of Obligation, and it was a cinch that everyone was coming on Christmas. So the crowds for December were going to be sparse. In fact, there were only seventeen people there, most of whom looked very uncomfortable. The Sofrans were there, barely paying attention. And although the young couple chose not to come, it was good to see that the persons of flexible dormitorial accommodations were doing their devotions in the back of the church.

Deacon Luvmuffin continued the liturgy: “You know what? We got a special liturgy for you here today. This is the 60th year of presenting to you, the faithful parishioner, the Mass of Paul VI, so we gots to celebrate. That’s right. In medieval times, like, say, 1960, wo! (drums and canned laughter) they say they would come to… ‘hear’ Mass. That’s their word: they went to ‘hear’ Mass. Not even listen to Mass, just hear it. What? You hear a dog barking, you hear cars passing in the street, and I suppose they hear Mass. But we celebrate Mass. And that is thanks to the liturgical reform of Vatican II.”

At that, the sound man gave a canned ovation. “Yeah, let’s hear it.” Luvmuffin joins in the applause, and a few parishioners nervously joined in.

Luvvy continued, “And because this is the start of the 60th liturgical year with the new liturgy, we are going to celebrate it like never before.”

At these words, two professional Faithful brought by Luvmuffin began to recite the responses: “Say it, brother!”

“If we are an Easter people, the People of God, let’s act like it.”

“Amen. Yes, sir!”

“Not only are we going to celebrate Mass…”

“Oh, no.”

“We are going to celebrate God.”

“Mm-mm-mm. Praise the Lord.”

“And we thank God.”

“Why’s that, brother?”

“We thank God for the new liturgy.”

“Oh, yeah. Halleluia!”

“Thank you, Lord, for Vatican II.”

“Mm-mm-mm. Praise the Lord.”

“And for Paul VI.”

“Oh, yeah.”

“And for Bugnini.”

“Oh, yeah. Amen.”

Turning his back, but turning his head around to face the congregation, Luvmuffin said teasingly, “You know, I can turn my back on you, now.”


“You know, God can hear me just as well on that there wall. Hey God!”

“No! Lord have mercy!”

Turning around, he said, “What, would you rather have me face you?”

“Oh, yeah! Lord, have mercy.”

“We’ve been facing you sixty years, now.”

“Praise the Lord.”

“So today, we are not going to celebrate Mass.”

“No? Say it brother.”

“No, we are going to partay!” Canned applause greeted this last announcement.

Luvmuffin continued, now with piano accompaniment, with Blanche coming in carrying a tray with a bottle and a full glass, still fizzing, of Ed’s Cola. “Let’s not forget, while we partay, that when we partay, there is nothing” he said grabbing the glass, “quite as refreshing as an ice cold Ed’s Cola.” Taking a sip, Luvmuffin said, “Ah! Its refreshing blend of flavors makes the world a more heavenly place." He put the glass back and said, “Don’t forget, Easter people, to grab some Ed’s Cola on your way back home.” At that, Blanche smiled at the people and left the platform.

Luvmuffin continued, “Now let’s hear it for the man who is going to bring the house down today and lead the celebration: the legend himself, Father Happy Smiley.”

Canned applause greeted Hap, who came on with tacky purple vestments. Luvmiffin greeted him, “Hey, how’s it doin’, man.”

Father Smiley, now having embraced the Novissimus Ordo, smiled and said, “Doing well, Deac.”

Grabbing Father's chasuble, Deacon Luvmuffin said, “Dude, you has gots to lose those threads.”


“We’ll hook you up. Are you excited, Hap? Sixty years of liturgical renewal."

“Yeah. And I’m old enough to remember the Old Mass.”

“We’ve come a long way, Huh?”

“We’ve come a long way, Deac.”

“Sho’ ’nuff. So let’s get the party rolling, brah!”


And with that, the lights came on, and the curtain drew back. Now, the Faithful could see a platform on the platform, several steps higher than the first. On the top step was a table with a purple cloth on it, set up like usual. The two clerics went up the stairs along with Blanche. Happy went to the center of the table, with Luvmuffin on his right, Blanche on his left.

It was time for the Penitential Rite. Father Hap began the Penitential Rite. “Let us now recall where in our lives we have done things less well than other times.” After a brief pause, Father Smiley led the people in the Confiteor. “Lord, Oops! My bad.”

Father Smiley then introduced the Kyrie. “Let us have the traditional version of ‘Lord, Have Mercy.’ ” The three ministers closed their eyes and folded their hands for one traditional Kyrie Eleison recorded by the monks of Solesmes.

Following this, it was time for Father Hap to introduce the Gloria. “Now, to help make the Mass more relevant to young people, here is the uh… artichoke rock band Horse Middle Thack to play the ‘Glory to God in the Highest’”. Thus, we can see the utility of the second stage.

On there, Horse Middle Thack set up, albeit a bit cramped. In the back was the drummer. One would look in vain for his sticks, as he played drums with his face. The guitar player had a two-foot Mohawk and a six-inch spike running through his bottom lip. The bass player had a shaved head and it looked like a handsaw had worked its way several inches through his skull. The lead singer wore his (?) knee-length hair in the finest Cousin Itt fashion. Never let anyone tell you that penance is dead. This band of minstrels were now to sing the Angelic Song of Praise.

Hap got the Gloria going: “Hit it, fellas!” The sound of the first 140-decibel chord disturbed the electronics in Father Hap’s pacemaker. Amidst the sound of barking and noise, Hap grabbed his heart and fell on top of the altar. Luvmuffin and Blanche tried to do what they could, but it was too late. It was the beginning of a new era, but the end of a long and glorious one. At least Hap died while the praises of God were being barked.


Post a Comment

<< Home