Thomas Peters, the American Papist, recently posted another flash mob video that took place in England by Franciscan Friars. Bringing Jesus into the public square can be a powerful experience, may have a powerful impact on believers, and may bring about a conversion in non-believers, or those away from the Church. While moving, it raises concerns about the treatment of the Blessed Sacrament, for instance, when the Friar stuffs the monstrance, with Jesus in it, into a duffel bag and walks away with the duffel swinging at his side.
Fr. Z also posted the English flash mob, and a lengthy discussion ensued. Fr. Z created a poll about this video, and posed some questions about this kind of evangelization.
While many were comments were positive, there were also many reservations. Some comments included:
" I don’t think that one should expose the presence without at least some ability to attempt to protect it from insult. "
"I find the concept of putting Jesus into a gym bag and walking off with Him disturbing. "
"I think a more formally organized event, like a Eucharistic procession, could have the same evangelical effect of witness while better safeguarding the dignity of the Blessed Sacrament. "
"An example of what could have gone wrong is when that young woman came and grabbed the friar’s shoulder at the end… it looked as if she was thanking him, but it could have been otherwise…"
Finally, a priest named Fr. Basil summed it up:
First off, the music at the beginning is what so many people here complain about when it’s played at an Ordinary Form Mass. Why is it acceptable here?
Next, there is the impropriety of simply pulling the Holy Mysteries out of a bag and exposing them to the gaze of all and sundry, including the uninstructed and unbelievers and inattentive. Was the possibility of a mentally ill person or hater of God attacking the priest and desecrating the Holy Gifts ever considered?
The message about Jesus throughout the Bible was good, but it would have been just as effective–and more closely following the examples of the ancient evangelists and missionaries–had he simply held up a large, beautiful Crucifix...A poster on Fr. Z's blog named Birgit offered the video above as a more reverent way to bring Jesus to the streets. It's presented by Grassroots Films, an independent inspirational motion picture film company founded in 2001.
In one parish in Norwalk, CT, the Corpus Christi procession was meant to do this, bring Jesus reverently out into an urban area, pausing in the parking lot of a bank, where an altar was set up and Tantum Ergo was sung. Then the procession continued.
Many people were touched by the Franciscan Friar video, the readings and the simplicity of the devotion. To bring Jesus to the people, to witness to the power of the Blessed Sacrament, and pray for the conversion of our neighborhoods, and the world, is charitable. Is it the most reverent way it can be done?
While the Grassroots film is a professionally produced video, and the UK video is not as slick, which do you prefer, and why?