Limerick priest teams up with artist to make Mass 'more like Croke Park final'

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Fr Pat Seaver and Hugh McMahon with their comic Picture: Michael Cowhey

Fr Pat Seaver and Hugh McMahon with their comic Picture: Michael Cowhey

SUNDAY Mass should be like a Croke Park final or a concert but, alas, it's boring.

That is according to Fr Patrick Seaver, from Farranshone, who has been on a mission to transform the solemn Irish Mass into a jubilant celebration as experienced in other countries.

Which is why he has teamed up with local artist Hugh McMahon in publishing a comic book for kids and adults (including priests!) on the structure of Mass and how it is a joyful celebration.

The comic, Why We Go To Mass, started when Fr Seaver started attending lively sermons in Ghana and how difficult it was to return to the Irish Mass.

“If you’re ever in Croke Park at a final and you were on Hill 16, you know that sort of energy, that spirit that envelopes everybody, and I don’t see that here in Ireland. Whereas in Ghana, it’s a wonderful experience, you know? I find it tough coming back.

“When I come back and I hear the young people talking about Mass as boring, I say: ‘I am with you on that one’,” he laughed. Asked why priests don’t just make it that more energetic, he explained:

“First of all, we are getting a bit older. There’s also this sense that it is very solemn. That sense is still there where I had my mother telling me: ‘Pat, don’t be turning around.’ I wasn’t even smiling, I was just looking around. ‘You’re on Calvary now, don’t forget – Jesus is dying. It is very serious.’ 

“But the way I see it is that it’s like a wedding. The union of heavenly Father and ourselves, he has adopted us as children. But the terms of the Covenant is that marriage is love, and to love each other and be happy. It’s wonderful. We should be out dancing and singing. Instead of that, watch people come out of Mass, you can see their faces. They’re looking at their watches and thinking how soon they can get out of here. Whereas out in Ghana, I remember I was out there one Christmas, it went on. And after the final dismissal, which is after two and a bit hours, they still wanted to sing.”

The comic is a dialogue between a girl and her grandfather, who explains the purpose of Mass as they walk to the church. 

The grandfather explains how Mass is originally based on the way Hittites and Egyptians ended a 13th century war in the Covenant of Kadesh with a celebratory feast, song and dance. 

Why We Go To Mass comic will be launched at St Lelia’s Church this Friday at 7pm.