When I was a teenager, I rejected youth group because there wasn’t anything particularly Catholic about it. At the time, I knew nothing of The Reform of the Reform movement. Though my temperament was generally traditional, I was more concerned with traditional theology and piety than liturgy. Going to youth group functions, though, and encountering nothing particularly Catholic–just socializing and some smattering of New Age spirituality, I didn’t see the point. And where my rejection was in favor of spirituality over socialization, I saw my peers rejecting the shallowness in favor of more appealing social activities elsewhere.
Later, as I read articles from Crisis, Adoremus, etc., about Haugen-Haas liturgical songs, I took the position, expressed by some of the writers, that such music, when not heretical, can have a place in a parish hall, one’s private music collection, or even in devotional exercises at church, but not in the Mass or the Office.
For the past year, our eldest has been attending a middle school youth group with some of her homeschool/AHG friends. On first Fridays, they have a holy hour. They open with O Salutaris and close with Tantum Ergo and Benediction. This makes it heads and tails above the “Holy Hour” we attended once in another city, where they used an illicit, politically correct “translation” of Vespers and sang Amazing Grace for Benediction.
The priest who leads it is a very orthodox young priest from Poland. He hears confessions. They have music and Bible readings. While they use contemporary music for the devotions, the actual liturgical parts are chanted. A. goes to confession every time, and has read one of the Bible readings on at least one occasion, even though it’s not our parish.
Given that the options for devotions during a public Exposition are fairly broad, and seeing the effect it’s had on A., I’d have to say that, beyond my initial discomfort, given my experiences, it’s minimally a “pick your battles” situation, but more like “way to go,” that they are getting it right.
Ca. 1991-1997, I’d have been happy they were doing adoration at all. Ca. 1997-2005, I’d have been angry. Ca. 2005-2011, I’d have been disappointed and maybe mocked it but ultimately shrugged my shoulders (as I did with VBS). Post-dissection, and definitely post-Dark Night, I’m far more accepting of things and trusting of the Holy Spirit.