The Rev. Christopher Smith is the pastoral administrator of a Catholic parish in the Bible Belt, which some are hailing "as a beacon of the 'New Evangelization."
Catholic World Report details that Prince of Peace Catholic Church, located outside Greenville, S.C., has 2,000 families, offers Mass in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite on a weekly basis, has a growing school, 24-hour Eucharistic Adoration, and draws many converts into the Church each year.
Fr. Smith, who graduated from Newman Guide recommended Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., sat down with Brian Mershon of Catholic World Report to discuss the uniqueness of his parish and its approach to the liturgy.
When asked about why younger Catholics are turning out in such numbers to the reverent liturgical celebrations, Fr. Smith explained that "younger people tend to be those who gravitate toward" liturgy "celebrated according to the mind of the Church."
Fr. Smith emphasized the importance of schools and religious education programs in developing a strong liturgical life in a parish. He remarked that "once the parish sees you are getting their children involved in the liturgy and they understand the propers and the reason behind the vestments... it works like spiritual leaven through the families and the parish."
Fr. Smith also noted the revitalizing effect of reverent celebration of the liturgy for parish life.
He told the magazine:
Pope Francis has said that the Church cannot be shut up in the sacristy. Some people take that as some type of implicit criticism of traditional liturgy. But it really is not at all when it is understood properly.
Because all of the beauty of the liturgy is not just something that “people in the know” kind of do as a hobby; it is something that is to be a school of Christian service so that we can go out and evangelize and perform acts of service and charity in the world.
If that doesn’t happen in the life of the faithful, it is not the fault of the liturgy; that is the fault of the Christian world not making that link between liturgy and life that is the essence of Christianity.
Read the rest of the interview with Fr. Christopher Smith at Catholic World Report.
Fr. Smith's alma mater, Christendom College, is also known for its vibrant liturgical life. The Newman Guide reports that Christendom's "Chapel of Christ the King is at the center of the campus and of campus life."
In June, The Cardinal Newman Society sponsored several Catholic academics from faithful Catholic colleges to attend the Sacra Liturgia 2013 conference in Rome, where hundreds of participants joined together to study, promote and renew appreciation for the liturgy. The Newman Society hopes to help increase this liturgical renewal in Catholic higher education.
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