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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Catholic Liturgy - Does it take a village?

No it doesn't take a village to have an exceptional liturgy,
but it does take a variety of people participating in different roles.
We just had a mass where no musicians showed up, no altar servers showed up, and just minutes before mass we rounded up extra-ordinary ministers of the Eucharist / Cup.
If we knew that we were going to be short, that would of been different, we could of planned.
However, it all worked out, and mass was fine.
It did though initiate the following thoughts.
Mass functions best when a parish has a mixture of people all participating and contributing.
The gathering of the people: who are literally the body of Christ and that is essential.
The priest: Who is instrumental in the Sacrament and is necessary.
A Deacon: if present is helpful, since he does play a very special role (i.e penitential rite, proclaiming the gospel, the prayers of the faithful, offering the sign of peace, serving the table, offering the cup, and sending the people off at the conclusion of the mass.
The sacristan: who makes sure that everything is ready and set-up.
Altar servers: who serve the clergy and represent the youth.
Lectors: representation of the faithful, and proclaiming the word.
Musicians: who bring joy in song and praise.
Ushers: who make everyone feel welcome and keep things orderly.
Altar society: who bring such beauty to the church and especially the altar.
I am sure that I am missing someone, but this is a brief overview, not a term paper.
Are all of these people necessary for a great and holy mass?
All you really need is the priest and people.
However, the mass is a communal relationship, a community: everyone gathering together, all praising our God, participating in the sacrifice, participating in the celebration, all as one family.
Each and every person in attendance has a unique role to play, none more important that the other.
Some are necessary for the sacrament, but needless to say, none more important in the eyes of God than the other.
We are a family through and through.
It reminds me of that famous Song: "We are one body, One body in Christ...."

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