Thursday, February 17, 2005

Answers from a Liturgist
My friend jcecil asks some questions. Let's try to answer. I noticed that at some point late last year, the exchange of peace at daily Mass stopped. Why? Local omission, I would say. The GIRM doesn't give the priest the authority to omit the exchange of peace, but its form is to be adapted to local custom. If a parish or priest decide they don't like hugging, kissing, or handshaking, that's fine. They still have to come up with an alternative, even at daily Mass. I noticed last year and again this year that the fonts all have holy water. Why? Another local custom. I'm not enamored with the idea of emptying water from the blessing niches, but we do it in my parish, and I've not felt the urge to change prior practice. I'd say about two years ago or so, it seems we went from standing after we say "May the Lord accept this sacrifice ..." to standing before the priest even says "Pray sisters and brothers ..." Why? Change from Rome. They didn't say why. I heard too that there is some discussion to going back to the Pre-Vatican days of saying "And with you spirit" when the presider says "The Lord be with you." Why this change? I doubt we'll see this one. But it would be a more literal rendering of the Latin "et spiritu tuo." As a liturgist, I'm distrustful of change. I think the effort to improve is a laudable one: better acoustics, better music, better preaching, etc.. This is really where the focus of good liturgy should be, not with peripheral alterations to practices.

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