BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- You've heard of flash mobs? Behold the Mass mob.
Playing off the idea of using social media to summon crowds for parties or mischief, mobs of Buffalo-area Roman Catholics have been filling pews and lifting spirits at some of the city's original, now often sparsely attended, churches.
Mass prayer mobs. What a cool idea. I will admit some apprehension based on the headline alone. I envisoned a mass riot of "Praise and Worshipers" invading my church and blocking my view with raised hands and Dougie dance moves. NTTAWWT (Not That There's Anything Wrong With That).
Seriously, I don't mean to disparage anyone who goes to church and praises God by flailing their arms like they are responsible for taxiing a 747 into the hangar. It's just not for my wife and I. We like "old school". OK, not so old that the priest faces away from us the entire hour while he chants Latin. I'm talking Vatican II "old school".
Visitors experience the architecture, heritage and spirit of the aging houses of worship and the churches once again see the numbers they were built for, along with a helpful bump in donations when the collection baskets are passed.
"I call these churches faith enhancers. You can't help but walk in and feel closer to a higher power,"
I get the multifaceted motivations from the Mass Mob participants. *Worship *Variety/Beauty *Community *Evangelizing. *Breakfast? :)
One of my wife and my favorite things to do while out of town on any given Sunday is to attend Mass at the local Catholic Church. There are so many beautiful jewels across this land, why wouldn't we stop and pick them up along the way? And it is always good to be reminded that our home congregation at Swartz Creek's St. Mary Queen of Angels is not alone in lacking the ability to carry a tune. Of course, I'm talking about the congregation in the pews. Thank goodness for our beautiful choir and cantors.
I didn't always feel that way. I admit I used to view this activity as an unnecessary vacation interruption. Now it really is one of the highlights of any trip we take. Did you know there are churches in pretty much any town you visit? Yes, even Orlando and Disney World has churches (though admittedly some REAL CHARACTERS in attendance, and the priest's vestments include a black birettta with mouse ears). Just kidding.
For example, our recent excursion to northern Michigan and the Traverse City area for a wine tasting tailgate and scavenger hunt on Old Mission Peninsula on one Saturday in January, found us in one of the pews at Christ the King Catholic Church the following Sunday.
(NOTE TO SELF: Yes, this is wine country, but the priest frowns upon a critique of the Blood of Christ immediately following communion, even when its a thumbs up... "Full bodied, with impeccable salvation and a glorious finish!"). Not really.
Or a few years back on our last trip to Las Vegas and a stay at the Mirage, a short 20 minute walk along the strip brought us to the Guardian Angel Cathedral just north of the Wynn. What a beautiful church, as modern architecture goes, with stained glass a veritable kaleidoscope of colors, though the slot machines in the lobby were a little salacious. Just kidding!
(NOTE TO SELF: They don't LOVE spare $1 casino chips in the collection plate). Again, not really.
So in conclusion, go to church today. Even if you are in a Mass Mob of "one", the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will accompany you. Guaranteed.