I have been playing at liturgies [connected with] a program for vocational discernment aimed at Catholic young adults...I suspect the piety was there all along but disparaged, denied its rightful outlets; and worst, when it was allowed, shoehorned into the Mass, (too often the context for every little individualistic and exclusive bit of parish life,) where its expression was out of place.
I have been involved with this program for a number of years and it has been interesting to watch the subtle shift in piety with these young adults. A few years ago there was a request for a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament. This was not a request that we had anticipated. We celebrate Eucharist, Morning Prayer, and Evening Prayer regularly at these conferences. This year, I noticed one member of the conference praying the rosary during the various liturgies. I heard that one young adult confronted one of the vowed religious, asking her why she was not wearing a habit. One young woman wore a head-covering during the celebrations of Mass. I must admit that I haven't seen one of those since I was a teenager. ...
I guess I am softening up as I grow older. The kind of pious practice I have seen with these young adults would have made me cringe several years ago.
Softening? Quite the opposite, I should say: strengthening, thanks to the witness of these young people whose devotion would once have struck you as cringe- worthy.