If so, you may find The Super Duper Handy Parish Search Reaction Reference Guide helpful. It's easy to use, eliminating the long process of determining whether or not a parish is right for you.
How's it work? After attending a Mass for the first time at a new parish, compare your reaction to one of the Response Simulation Modules (RSM) below. In no time at all, you will know if the new parish is right for you, providing you peace of mind, knowing quickly if you've found a home, or need to continue your search.
RSM #1: Where'd They Hide Jesus?
Symptoms: mind-splitting ear-piercing brain-rattling headaches due to excessive music volume, progressive percussives, overbearing guitars and electronic keyboard instrumentation, choir chaos, or a combination of any of the above. Additional causes: congregation expected to sing every response; inappropriate music during distribution of Holy Communion and period of thanksgiving afterwards; applause at end of Mass for the choir. This type of parish typically is under the iron fist of the Music Director, or the pastor is more interested in the entertainment aspect of liturgy than its sacredness. Take two aspirin and move on.
Symptoms: sudden surprise reactions; confusion; uncertainty and incredulity. Causes: hearing inclusive and gender-neutral language; omission and/or insertion of unexpected liturgical words and actions; generally minor liturgical abuses. These are things that you, as a conscious, active, full participant of the Mass would notice, while most Church-goers wouldn't recognize as anything extraordinary. Actions such as these could represent either an upward trend or downward trend; proceed with caution and discretion.
Note: You may experience this reaction if you hear any of the following topics during the sermon: sin, Sacrament of Reconciliation, authentic Church teaching, Magesterium, Church Fathers, vocations. However, if you also experience any of RSM #1 and RSM #2 simultaneously, further discernment may be required.
Symptoms: uncontrollable urge to run screaming from the sanctuary. Causes: major major liturgical abuses!!! Lay preaching; illicit matter for the Eucharist; "Halloween" masses; giant puppet figures; womynpriests; etc. Get out, never return, write the Bishop and warn your friends!!
RSM #5: I am Home.
Symptoms: Peace, happiness and groovy vibes. Causes: SAY THE BLACK, DO THE RED. Sign up your family, serve the Church and count your blessings.
Disclaimer: no reference guide can claim 100% effectiveness, but it is my hope that you will find this to be a helpful tool. Also, this guide has not been granted an imprimatur or nihil obstat, but it should.
PS: No cats were harmed in the development of this Guide.All images courtesy of totalleh.com (Warning! Some content is offensive)
Originally posted 7/28/08