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This should be in every parish bulletin, every week

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I saw this on the Catholic Answers forums just a few minutes ago and had to share. It was apparently written by the pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Toledo, OH and published in the most recent bulletin (I’m waiting for the pdf version of the bulletin to be put up on the web so I can verify).

From time to time we may need to remind ourselves about what we should do or not do while we come to Church to participate in Holy Mass.

First of all, after we enter the body of the Church, we should dip our hand, or at least a few of our fingers, in the Holy Water Fount, and then bless ourselves making the Sign of the Cross and invoking the Holy Trinity: In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. This gesture reminds us of our own baptism into the Body of Christ – the Church.

Next before we take our seat in the pew (we should naturally sit as close to the Altar as possible!), we should, if our health permits, make a genuflection on our right knee towards the Sanctuary where Jesus is reserved in the Tabernacle, the center focus behind the Altar of Sacrifice located on the old Main Altar. In case we are unable to make a genuflection, a bow of reverence will suffice. We are very fortunate that unlike some contemporary churches that do not even have the Eucharistic presence in the body of the Church at all, that we have Jesus front and center in both of our two Churches.

When it comes to posture of our hands, it has become more common and acceptable for people to pray The Lord’s Prayer (The “Our Father”), with hands open or extended. There is no prohibition on this gesture that imitates the Priest, but it is nowhere mentioned in liturgical law or called for, and those who wish to pray with folded hands are totally also within their rights as well.

The issue of connecting with one another in holding hands had its origin in Masses for small groups, but again there is no requirement or recommendation for this gesture. If one and one’s family and neighbors in the pew have this custom, fine, but again those who do not wish to connect are also entirely within their rights if they do not wish to connect with others in this way.

The Sign of Peace (which is optional), should be reserved to those standing next to us, immediately behind us or in front of us in the pew. One should not leave his or her seat and roam throughout the church shaking hands. The Priest celebrant and deacon are not to leave the Sanctuary besides sharing the Sign of Peace with those assisting (lector and Altar servers). Only in a funeral is the Priest allowed to go to the family of the deceased in the front pew.

When we approach the Priest, Deacon or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion to receive the Host, we should first make a sign of reverence by bowing our head, and then either open our mouth and extend our tongue (the traditional manner), or open our hand with bottom hand underneath as if creating a throne to receive Our Lord in the hand. One is not to reach out as if to snatch Jesus in the air. We are always to say “Amen” after the Minister of the Eucharist says “The Body of Christ”, and the same if we also drink the Precious Blood. The Communion cups are to be made out of metal and not breakable glass (this will be corrected at St. Hedwig soon).

After the final blessing and dismissal, we should remain in Church until the Priest reaches the back of the Church to greet people as they exit. We should remember to again genuflect or bow after we exit our pew.

We should also reserve conversing with our family, friends and fellow parishioners to the vestibule of the Church or outside the doors before or after Mass. We should not disturb those who wish to pray silently in the body of the Church.

God Bless.


Written by The Canuck

September 1, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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