13 March 2011

Flash Mob Appears at Ash Wednesday Mass

The Pimpernel owes a big debt of gratitude to a reader who sent in the link to this truly special Ash Wednesday celebration. If you have not done much penance yet, watching this clip may get ya credit for the whole of Lent.

If the picture is worth a thousand words and as many years off purgatory, here's another few hundred of both to boot. All courtesy of Keloland TV. Thanks folks!

SIOUX FALLS, SD - Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent . It a time for penance, reflection, fasting and apparently, dance for one group of catholic students. We attend one Ash Wednesday Service that was interrupted by an unexpected, but emotional flash mob.

Not long after receiving the ceremonial ashes and final blessing, a flash mob broke out during the Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church in Sioux Falls. The name of the song was "Where you go I'll go" by Chris Tomlin. A timely tribute for the beginning of the lenten season.

"We had done it for our talent show and it had such a powerful message behind it/we had a lot of people asking could we transform it into church or mass," St. Mary Teacher Julie Kolbeck said.

St. Mary Artist-in-Resident Vicky Fuller helped with song selection and dance moves, originally designed for a small group of performers.

"Flash mobs have been really kind of becoming a You Tube phenomena and our principal thought you know this would be something that really gets the kids interested," Kolbeck said.

This dance is a way for these elementary school kids to celebrate their faith. And of course, the message behind the flash mob is much stronger.

"It's like how God tells us what to do, then we have to follow it," St. Mary 6th Grader Emily Olson said.

"Its one of those things as a parent to see their faith that your kids have and see these kids carry that message on themselves and to present it in such a beautiful way, its very powerful," Kolbeck said.


  1. To those who say “young people” like or need this. I am a young priest by any definition of the term – just under 4 years ordained, at the minimum age. Please, as a “young person” (if you insist on separating us) I’m answering you (old people?) clearly: WE DO NOT LIKE THIS. Look on youtube, look on twitter, look on reddit, look on facebook or any other “young” manner of communications – you will not see this referred to as “neat/cool” or any other word you think we use for attractive. Please don’t patronize us – we are the John Paul II generation. We are the World Youth Day generation. We are Summorum Pontificum's generation, too.

    Flash mobs or performance art or guerilla art al has the same idea: it FORCES others to participate or watch. I don’t walk into my school’s classrooms and just start celebrating mass, nor do I do so in the parent-teacher conferences. If someone wanted to showcase the children’s wonderful art – I am certainly a supporter, it should be announced at the end of mass, and done in an appropriate place. It is beautiful, but there is a time and place. As an analogy: Marriage is a sacred thing, but certain acts must be kept within a context, and are not acceptable in others (passionate kissing in a church). The same applies to everything else.

    Lastly, with all due respect to the person who came up with this idea: that is a terrible combination! Look up flash mobs online – they are about zombies and pillow fights and silent dancing and pretending to be statues. To make a religious flash mob is as alien to the idea of flash mobs as it is to the idea of religion! It shows a serious misunderstanding of both ideas! Religion is to be a part of a spiritual heritage and practice, flash mobs is to appear to be as spontaneous as possible.

    Please understand: the problem was not the children’s performance and hard work. The problem was that this incident did not take into account the fact that Ash Wednesday Mass had just finished. That it is most properly called The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should tell us something about how we act in AND around it.

  2. ...qui autem scandalizaverit unum de pusillis istis, qui in me credunt, expedit ei ut suspendatur mola asinaria in collo ejus, et demergatur in profundum maris. Væ mundo a scandalis! Mat 18:6

  3. Father, this happened at Mass, not after.

  4. 1.. The narative said it happened after the finish of Mass.

    2, The Lyrics were a paraphrase of the so called Conersion Formula in the Book of Ruth and are quite appropriate.

    3. I would have been happier to see this as a program in a gym or auditorium. On Ash Wednesday, like Good Friday, an environment of silence should prevail in Church.

    4. This could have been a great part of a program of singing, readings and movement. It was done well. I don't know why we have to confine such programs to Christmastide. The Rev. Michael P. Forbes Rochester, MN

  5. Dear Friends, this is a prime example of what I refer to as 'Children's Litugry' or 'Kiddielit' for short. Its basic premise is "the more students you have involved, the better!" Apparently full, active, conscious participation does not include 'listening' or 'praying'. Only when you are 'doing something' are you truly participating in the Mass.

    In the United States this notion of litugy began around 1967. I know because I was in grade school at the time. I was strumming my guitar (as well as an 8th grader could) and thinking "Yeah, this is what the Mass should be like. Aren't I so cool!"

    Since I started teaching Catholic school in the 1980's and had my consciousness raised (at a GIA workshop) I realized what an abomination had been foisted upon our children - myself included. I have been working since then (with varying degrees of success) to stem the tide of Kiddielit. My one hope for the future lies in the young priests and their theological formation. May God grant us faithful, informed professors and mentors for our seminarians. And may God strengthen these young men as they go out into the parish schools turn our Church back to real 'worship'. - Mac, Salem, Oregon

  6. We had some little eyes watching when we looked at the video some days ago. Even my children were scandalized when they realized this was happening in a church. My 7 y/o son brought it up again this morning, showing what an impression it made.

    Children's programs are fine in their place, but not on the altar and immediately following what is supposed to be a solemn service. I haven't been to an Ash Wednesday service since I was a child (I'm Orthodox now) but even then I think I would have been shocked.

  7. I will concede one point to traditionalists, it is time to put copies of post modernist religious architecture on the shelf, and it also long overdue to say goodbye to the 1960s, both in terms of religious music, architecture, and liturgy. Younger people are not so much endorsing "Summorum Pontificum" and singing, "Carry Me Back to Old Trentino" as they want a return to greater respect for the past and to tradition in the way the Church worships. Something veterans of Vatican II years, and with the scars to show for those liturgical wars, seem to have forgotten how to do.