It has been nearly 50 years since the winds of a  “new Pentecost” swept over the Church at the Second Vatican Council. This important moment in history is studied in many theology classes. As part of a lesson on the changes in the Church at that time, invite a person who was an adult at the time of Vatican II and who remains active in the same parish to speak to your class about his or her remembrances of the Council and the changes it brought to parish life. Provide this set of instructions to your speaker/guest.
  • Briefly introduce yourself. Tell the name of the parish you belong to and how long you have been a member of the parish.
  • Share an example or anecdote that expresses how you feel about being a member of this parish.
Issues and Questions
The first part of this segment will be a discussion of the issues below in an open forum with high school age students.
  • How was your parish informed about the changes in the liturgy after Vatican II? How did the parish react on the whole?
  • Tell something of the changes and development of the parish physical plant over the years.
  • Provide a physical description of the church interior prior to Vatican II.
  • How was the role of the priest different prior to Vatican II?
  • How are some of the following ministries different now from before: school teacher, CCD teacher, Eucharistic minister, lector, parish council member, music minister, etc.
  • Describe the music at pre-Vatican II liturgies?
  • How did people dress when they came to Mass?
  • Compare your feelings for the Latin Mass with the Mass in the vernacular.
The second part of the presentation will be devoted to answering other questions the students may have related to developments and changes in parish life over the years.
Allow a full class period for the presentation and questions.