Thank you for deciding to take a second look at the Liturgy Corner (or maybe a first.) This week, I would like to discuss a few more reasons why I think that this consistent addition to the bulletin is important for all of us.
One of the things we have talked about this last year amongst the staff and in various dialogues with parishioners, both individually and in groups, is the importance of transparency. We recognize that there are times when important decisions need to be made with regard to changing, adding, subtracting, or continuing to suspend various practices in our Liturgical worship. Most of the time (hopefully, ALL of the time) the relevant staff members have discussed matters at length and have come to a decision about it after a good deal of deliberation. However, we have recognized that there are times when relevant reasons behind such decisions never get expressed to you, the parishioners. People are then left to wonder about why we are or aren't doing various things and are often led to assume we are making decisions flippantly.
With the Liturgy corner, we can easily inform you when and why such things happen. Hopefully, all parishioners will get in the mindset of coming here, and to the Liturgy Blog on the website where past articles will be posted when they have a question about our Liturgical practices. Further, it gives people an opportunity to ask questions when they don't find the answer in past articles. By such a process, the whole community can be formed in Liturgical worship and understanding. So read up, ask questions, please share the articles with each other, and join in dialogue about it.
I also want to say a brief word here about a certain phrase that I will most likely discuss at greater length in an article further on: "active participation." This phrase appears in a document concerning the Liturgy from the Second Vatican Council. More than likely, you have heard it mentioned once or twice. The document uses it to describe how the laypeople, the people in the pews, are supposed to be engaged in the celebration of the Liturgy. The Second Vatican Council came at a time when the participation of the congregation in Liturgical worship was frequently lackluster. One significant reason for this is a lack of proper catechesis. The Second Vatican Council made it a point to emphasize the proper catechesis of all of the Church faithful in order to help each person understand their role and purpose in the celebration of the Liturgy.
While we, as a Church, have made improvements in this regard, we are certainly far from perfect. And many people, either consciously or unconsciously, still treat the Liturgy as a sort of performance that they just observe passively. While there is plenty of nuance to the meaning of the phrase "active participation," one thing is quite clear: the congregation has an integral role to play in the liturgy, especially with regard to whether it is spiritually fruitful for themselves and the people for whom they ought to be praying.
It is my hope that, with your help in encouraging each other, this Liturgy Corner will help us all participate more fully and appropriately in the Liturgy, the center and summit of our faith.
Thank you for reading, and God bless.
Further Reading (each title is a link
"It should be made clear that the word “participation” does not refer to mere external activity during the celebration. In fact, the
active participation called for by the Council must be understood in more substantial terms, on the basis of a greater awareness of the mystery being celebrated and its relationship to daily life. […] The faithful need to be reminded that there can be no actuosa participatio in the sacred mysteries without an accompanying effort to participate actively in the life of the
Church as a whole, including a missionary commitment to bring Christ’s love into the life of society."
Sacramentum Caritatis, n°. 52, 55