Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Yet more liturgical things
If the bloggerhood had February sweeps, I could just post on liturgy things all month and jack up my ratings. But I thought of a few other disputed liturgy items to post brief bits on. As always, commentary is free and welcome.
Greeting people before Mass. I admit it. My parish does it once a month. I'm not sure what the point of designating one weekend a month "Welcome Weekend," but there it is. It's one of those things I wouldn't start if it wasn't being done, and I'm not inclined to stop once it's there. GIRM 47 states the entrance chant's purpose, in part is to "foster the unity of those who have been gathered ..." I would interpret that as a deepening of a communal aspect that is already taking place by the shared intent of the parish to worship. In a parish that puts a high value on community, being told to stand up and shake hands with people nearby is needless repetition.
Greeting people at the church doors. Some of this is needful. Our parish could use (and we've talked about it) folks at the front entrance assisting elderly or impaired people out of their cars and let the drivers keep traffic flowing. Sometimes, seating assistance inside the doors is helpful. People at the doors just to say hi? I would see this as a transitory thing. All parishioners should be offering and sharing hospitality. It's like singing. Most everyone should be doing it. A few people just can't sing (or are too shy) but that wouldn't excuse the majority, in my opinion. And there are other places and times besides the entrance into the building just before Mass greeting should be done.
The role of commentator. You mean people are still doing this?
The presider at the Sign of Peace. I tend to side with Rome on this one. The priest is not an essential part of the Sign of Peace. At one parish I served at long ago, the ushers came down the center aisle in formation to spread "peace" from the priest to the people. It drove the clergy crazy, and the people, of course, started kissing and hugging and hand-shaking without the usher prompting.
In sum, a parish should have a strong quality of hospitality independent of whatever practices are in effect at Mass. If they don't, it is a sacramental issue. But relying on the Mass to provide something people don't have (or possibly don't want) puts an inappropriate burden on the liturgy.

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