on the Youth Fest by the Catholic Archdioscese for Youth...

On the 18th of June 2005, the Catholic Archdioscese for Youth organised a day of funfair, talks and rally mass for the youths, coined the Youth Fest at Upper Seranggoon, Youth Center. For me, it was a vain attemp to the point of dismal. However I speak for myself, when I say that I was not entirely hopeful that it would turn out very well. However, I would had thought that the bunch of full-timers with the whole archdiosce supporting them can make this affair into a very successful one.

Anyhow, I only reach there around 330pm, and behold a half empty fun fair greeted me. It was very strange. After all, they had been publicising this event for more than a month. I would had thought that every youth would be there. To put it mildly, the moment we were there, we were ready to take off. But decided to stick on for the food, since we got about $60 bucks worth of coupons.

Now, the problem with this youth event is that the food was also prepared by youths, so you can imagine the standard of the food. Of course, we can never have too high expectation about church food much less fun fair's, but I think that is such a terrible excuse for the horribly prepared yet very expensive food. But because of the lack of outlets, we had to give away the coupons that we can't finish.

Now for the most amazing and incredible thing, in the background was some band playing loudly, which I suspect was not church songs. It would not be a problem, if the band was good. The problem was that it was horrible to start with, and then its loud. It's a wonder if there was any audition or quality control at all for any section of the Youth Fest.

Basically it was a hot day, with very little entertainment. Luckily for us, we had ourselves to entertain ourselves. And thought that we could at least make the evening worthwhile by attending mass. How wrong can mass be right? It seemed rather promising with the outdoor stage with fancy sound system and lighting.

Then we realised that there is a pre-mass praise and worship by this Christ The King team. Well, personally I think there is nothing wrong if they want to bring in a band and play church songs and music that are popular and ra-ra the spirit and atmosphere. But it's another thing when it lacks originality and the leader seems so 'protestentish'. And what is especially sad and disturbing is when the leader sings into the microphone even though her voice is jarring and terribly off. In fact, this particular cantor/leader sings into the mic for almost all the hymns throughout mass. And hymns during mass is supposed to be soothing, however with her voice, it just made praying so difficult in an already different setting.

However mass proper wasn't too bad. Father JJ did a pretty decent homily but somehow, I feel that mass took a very different approach. It felt like a Hungry Ghost getai, call me traditional, but mass should always be solemn. Even if it's not in church, it should be kept solemn. We are not a parade, nor a talk show and definitely not a performance. Prayer should be done in an atmosphere of serenity. All these dancing and singing, with loud music just disrupts the soul and the spirit. At least for me. What is even more strange is that there was this silent skit. I think it's an attempt to be a neo-dance piece. Fanciful but clueless.

Nevertheless, I think it is a good attempt at trying to rally the youths and it shows that the church is willing to change and improve to suit the new Catholics. However, basics and traditions must remain especially when it comes to mass. Or maybe, its the coming of age. And jumping around is really only for the younger people.

But my biggest criticism is that the Youth Coordinators of the Archdioscese is not spending enough time to network with the parish youth coordinators. Albeit the Catholic church is a top-down religion, still do not for a moment take for granted that the parish leaders are obligated to support all archdioscese events. We need to be motivated and we need to know what we are supporting. It would be a terrible oversight if they think that all youth leaders would be enthusiastic in their responses.

I was looking so forward to their initial attempts to reach out to us, but apparently those attempts were mere sparks and not sustainable. I just hope that they realised that and start meeting us soon.

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