Liturgy and Evangelism
Fr. Dan Martins had a great blog post yesterday to commemorate St. Boniface:
I've dabbled in enough history to know that, in the era of the greatest missionary expansion in the history of Christianity--that is, the time before the faith became legal in the early years of the fourth century--the celebration of the Eucharist was restricted to the initiated Faithful. Not only were casual inquirers and other wannabes kept away, even catechumens who seriously intended to be baptized were not allowed to even witness the full liturgy. Sunday worship was certainly not the streetfront display window of the Church. There were no marquee signs, no websites, no Yellow Pages ads informing the general public when the Mass times were. It might have gotten somebody arrested or killed!Read the whole thing.
It is not the function of the liturgy to serve as a tool for evangelism. In trying to make it so, I fear that many churches have succeeding is bastardizing the liturgy and accomplished very little by way of evangelism in return. The liturgy is for the initiated, not for the seeker. It should not be made to bear freight it was never designed to handle.