Friday, March 30, 2012
RETHINKING LITURGICAL PENANCE SERVICES
In the past, we always had a nice procession of ministers, and the whole array of the Liturgy of the Word, with Two lessons, Responsorial Psalm, Gospel Acclamation and Gospel. I've even used incense for the procession and Gospel.
Then there is a homily, followed by an "Act of Contrition" and a closing prayer and private confessions. By the time private confessions take place usually 45 minutes have been spent on the Liturgy leading to Confession and Absolution.
For the past two years, I've made our Penance Services more noble in their simplicity. This was the Order of Service last night:
Processional and Introductory Rite: Our Father , We Have Wandered"
Chanted Greeting and Collect (Collect is the first option for the Mass for the Remission of Sins in the Roman Missal)
Liturgy of the Word
One reading from St. Paul
Silent Examination of Conscience
Rite of Penance
Act of Contrition (Kneeling)
Standing, The Lord's prayer chanted with the priestly embolism and concluding doxology
Then using the Roman Missal for Mass, the chanted "Peace I leave you...my peace I give you" and the chanting of "The Peace of the Lord be with you always" and "Let us offer each other the sign of peace."
The Closing Prayer prior to Private Confession which is the second option for the Collect from the Mass for the Remission of Sins in the Roman Missal
For private confession, the penance is listed on the penitent's program. Our Common Penance was:
"As you reflect upon the Passion of our Lord and your part in His Crucifixion pray:
One "Our Father"
10 Hail Mary's
One "Glory Be"
and the following prayer:
My good and dear Jesus, I kneel before You, asking you most earnestly to engrave upon my heart a deep and lively faith, hope and charity with true repentance for my sins and a firm resolve to make amends. As I reflect upon Your five wounds, and dwell upon them with deep compassion and grief, I recall good Jesus the words the prophet David spoke long ago concerning Yourself: "They have pierced my hands and my feet, they have counted all my bones!"
(Of course a plenary indulgence can be gained if one also prays for the intentions of Pope Benedict and worthily receives Holy Communion with a week of doing this.)
Since the Act of Contrition was prayed during the Liturgy and a common penance is given, these are not repeated again in private Confession, although the priest is encouraged to substitute or give an added penance if he deems that to be appropriate.