Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Guide for the Perplexed Liturgist

Diogenes is back from vacation and has posted this at Off the Record:
Easing back into my normal work schedule after a short but welcome vacation (and thus a period of comparative silence, for which I apologize to my faithful readers), I spent some time cleaning up old files on my computer, and came across an agenda item that appeared in the May-July 1997 newsletter of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgy Commissions:
Limit discussion to perpetual adoration; dialogue with people who are advocates of various devotions; determine what is missing in our celebration of the Eucharist that leads people to want these devotions.
That was nearly a decade ago, and perhaps by now our hard-working diocesan liturgists have educed some explanation for the curious tendency of some Catholics to kneel for hours before the Blessed Sacrament-- when they could be using that time to learn the steps of the latest liturgical dances. But in case the explanation still eludes them, may we offer the following guide to perplexed liturgists?

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church*, #1418:

Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar, he is to be honored with the worship of adoration.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1418

To visit the Blessed Sacrament is a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and a duty of adoration toward Christ our Lord.
Mysterium Fidei, Pope Paul VI, #66

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I just got our new parish directory and inside the front cover, I find the Mission Statement which is sounding very dated along the lines of "we are a community, blah, blah." The Pastor's letter on the facing page however goes for the jugular, "Our life is centered around the Mass. Mass is offered daily. Make it the highest point of your life. Adoration hour is at X time." Then he quoted Mother Teresa, "The time you spend with the Blessed Sacrament is the best time you'll spend on earth." When our pastor came a few years ago, he got reported to the Bishop by a few parishioners who complained vociferously because he established Morning Prayer, daily mass, rosary and novena, and Adoration Hour. The complaint was, "He's going to make it like a monastery." Previously, he was a superior at a monastery. He placed the tabernacle front and center and forbade all other activity in the church that wasn't worship related. A lot of people left. But interestingly, our membership has doubled since he arrived.

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