One of the best masses I have attended in my life was at the Pantheon in Rome.
And it was by chance that I learned about it on a Saturday afternoon.
The Pantheon was originally built to honor the Roman gods but when Rome became Christian, it was converted to a Church. It is probably one of the oldest churches in the world that is still in use as such to this day, despite the fact that it is best known as a tourist site. (Entrance is free but you can rent an audio guide.)
It occurred to me at that time that the ancient Church was quite savvy about putting on a multi-sensory show to the multitudes every Sunday: the music, the drone of prayers, the bells, the robes, the smoke and musky smell of frankincense. It transported mass goers – many of whom probably lived in hovels – to another world.
This was the same kind of mass that the friars brought to the Philippines in 1521. It is no wonder the natives were entranced.
To me, the mass at the Pantheon was symbolic of what the Catholic Church is today – two of the three priests were old and Italian while the third was young and from the Third World.
The future of the Church lies with the Third World.
I’d like to share with you two of the videos I took before and during the mass.