The Prodigal Altar Boy

Thursday, July 15, 2010

TQ and Communication

 TQ, contemplating more mischief
During his tenure at The Basilica of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Quinlan based liturgical years around "Star Wars" featuring Darth Vader as the devil, as well as a liturgy based on "The Wiz".  TQ freely alludes to the Expectancy Violations Theory aspect of his approach, stating, "My parishioners presume I'm crazy anyway, so I get away with murder."  Former parishioners echo the tenets of the theory, commenting, "Coming down the aisle on a motorcycle isn't so important compared to having people go home and and spend three hours discussing it...Most people go home and they don't remember the homily five minutes out the door.  But with T.Q., whether it's negative or positive, he makes you reflect on what you've heard."  Grounding his behavior in the New Testament, Quinlan asks, "Don't you think Jesus ruffled the feathers of everyone he ever met?"

His forays integrating pop culture with the liturgy paved the way for and paled in comparison to the liturgy of 1981.  That year Quinlan guided the predominantly African-American parish at St. Mary's in a liturgical year based on the life of slave rebellion leader Nat Turner.  TQ used Nat Turner's life to connect black Catholics with African-American history.  "You can't get 'Rootsier' for the African-American," TQ explained.  "You can't get more into black culture in American than to reflect on the meaning of the Nat Turner insurrection."  TQ tied Tuner's mission to free slaves to Christianity's tenet of liberating oppressed people.  Quinlan used Turner's belief he was destined for greatness as an object lesson on the connection between language and self-image, reminding them, "That was some statement for a black slave to make 153 years ago,: he told the congregation.  "That was saying, 'I am somebody' and 'black is beautiful' long before the first slaves were freed."