Our two daughters have been on vacation at their grandparents' house in Corpus Christi. God bless their Lutheran grandparents who love their Catholic granddaughters enough to make sure that they got to Mass this morning. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church closest to my in-laws house is not the most orthodox. (It has a Noah's Ark puppet theater at the front of the church. Enough said.)
Over the years of traveling with our children, we have been to too many bad Masses. Offensive music, made up liturgies, and just general craziness have led us to teach our children the value of validity. From the first grade on, our children can recite the four requirements necessary for transubstantiation to take place and the Mass to be valid. They are:
1. A validly ordained male priest.
2. Intent of the priest.
3. Matter- unleavened bread and grape wine
4. Form - The priest must speak the words "This is my Body" and "This is my Blood."
As long as these four requirements are met, we have met our Sunday obligation no matter what other kind of wackiness takes place. I have no words to express the depth of my sorrow that these lessons have to be taught to my children at all.
This morning after sitting through the bad garage band music and the puppet show at the offertory, the Consecration took place and it was indeed according to the rubrics. My eldest daughter told me of her relief as the priest spoke the necessary words and she knew that God was truly present in the Eucharist. He was there despite the insult and the watered down liturgy, in spite of the lack of reverence which made my daughter's voice quiver in the retelling, the Eucharist was the Body of Christ.
Her text message to me as they left the parish parking lot said it all. "It was a valid Mass. They had a puppet show. I was a valid Mass." Thank God that it was, and that my girls knew enough to recognize it for what it was.