More than just dress-up day


Photo by Riley Hetherington

The CCHS community celebrates a school liturgy earlier this year, one of the many times students and faculty have joined together for monthly all-school Mass.

Jacob Gunderson, Contributor

I can hear the grumbling students around me. Sweat soaks through their shirts as their feet scream for relief from their dress shoes, negating any thought of spiritual reverence and renewal.

This description is the reality of Liturgy day for many Cathedral Catholic High School students, and it needs changing.

The Catholic Mass is more than a small choir singing a few songs or a priest passing out some bread and wine. The meaning goes so much deeper, which is why as students, we should be grateful that we can attend Mass with our entire high school body.

“Through the Word, the songs, and most importantly, the Eucharist, we are able to consistently connect with God and fulfill his desire of love for us in the warmth of our church community at every Mass,” Executive Student Body President Kiki Carney ‘18 said.

We take for granted the fact that we attend a private Catholic school, where we are free to practice our faith and discuss it in our classes. Neighboring high schools like Torrey Pines High School or Canyon Crest Academy do not enjoy such a privilege.

“It is an honor and privilege to be able to worship God in a school communal setting,” CCHS religion teacher Mrs. Carmen Lonergan said.

As privileged students of CCHS, we should appreciate the ability to be allowed to say our community prayer every morning, to walk into buildings named after Saints, and to celebrate Liturgy together.

“We have the opportunity to gather as a community and unite under the body of Christ, and it is something we should be forever grateful for, as many do not have the same privilege,” Carney said.

At every Catholic Mass, something miraculous happens that does not occur anywhere else, not even at Protestant services. The bread and wine transubstantiate into Jesus’ actual Body and Blood.

“Everything that leads up to that moment prepares our hearts and minds for that event,” Mrs. Lonergan said.

We then physically receive Jesus into our bodies just as the twelve apostles did at the Last Supper, which is a beautiful sacrament, yet sometimes it is overlooked.

“We bring Christ into us when we receive the Eucharist, and there is no greater gift that we can receive,” Mrs. Lonergan said. “We eat Jesus’ Body even though we are so far from being worthy. This is why you might recognize the words, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.’ ”

Some people wonder why the priest washes his hands before consecrating the bread and wine or why we bow before receiving the Eucharist.

This ritual is done out of reverence for Jesus. For example, if I were meeting the President, I wouldn’t casually say, “What’s up?” and give him a high five. The situation calls for formal respect. So, I would shake his hand while on my best behavior.

The situation is similar when we welcome Christ into Mass.

When we whisper to the person next to us about a funny video we saw or ask them about their weekend, we aren’t paying full attention to the Mass or respecting the presence of Jesus.

“When we are present to this beautiful gift, we are focusing on God, not talking to our neighbor or doing sign language to someone across the gym,” Mrs. Lonergan said.

We are reverent during school Liturgy because we are acknowledging the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and the miracle that takes place on the altar.

So next time we’re sitting on the gym bleachers during a school Liturgy, we should ignore the person whispering in our ear, forget how uncomfortable our clothes are, and really pay attention to what’s happening.

We will see something we never realized, and maybe we will have the blessed opportunity to be touched by the presence of Jesus.