I always remember Bishop Dattilo telling the priests of the diocese, “When it comes to the Mass, do nothing more than the Church asks of you and nothing less than the Church asks of you!” What he meant, of course, is don’t go adding things to the Mass and don’t leave out the things that are important. I am sure that most of us can remember a priest or two who would “do his own thing” at Mass. One priest would use an old translation of the Mass even though it was no longer approved. Another might add something to make it more “relevant”. In both cases it probably just annoyed people! The Church gives us the liturgy and all of us—both clergy and laity—should appreciate the way the Church celebrates the Mass throughout the world. There is a very long and beautiful tradition surrounding the Mass and we are part of that tradition. When we come to Mass, we should simply do what the Church asks of us! For example, we should be standing and sitting and kneeling at the same time (unless it is physically impossible to do so). We should be responding together the words of the Mass that the Church gives us. (“And with your spirit”. Not “And also with you.”) The priest should use the words in the Missal and the lectionary. We should be receiving Holy Communion in the way the Church instructs us by making a profound bow and saying “Amen” and receiving on our tongue or in our hand. This is the mind of the Church. There is a reason for it. When we “do our own thing” we just set us apart from the rest of the community and this distracts from our “public” act of worship. At Mass let us be “ONE” in word and action!
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