Friday, May 9, 2014

THE PRESENTATION OF THE OFFERINGS AT MASS


Often we make a bigger deal out insignificant liturgical things than need to be. One of the things that I have come to question is the necessity of the presentation of the offerings at Mass and exaggerating its importance.

Of course it is completely optional. We don't do it at daily Mass, although we do at every Sunday Mass although we have a hard time getting people (a more diverse group of people) to do it. Usually it seems to be just a few who do it and when we ask others, they say "no" either politely or not.

In terms of its exaggerated exaltation, we had in the seminary a former Dominican priest , properly laicized, and had married, who taught us in the 1970's that bringing up of the gifts was more important to him that the bells at the consecration, which by that time were being eliminated in many places because progressive liturgists didn't like them.

I was fascinated to watch Pope Francis' inaugural Mass and to see at that Mass that no one presented the offerings to them. These were simply brought to the altar from the credence table. Since that time, he does allow it, but with only a few people. Under Pope Benedict, the presentation of the offerings was more elaborate.

I was shocked to find out that a prominent Benedictine liturgist of the 1960's at Collegeville, MN also thought the presentation of the offerings was superfluous and completely unnecessary and overblown.

Of course I get it that the bread and wine and monetary gifts for the church and poor come from the people in the congregation and thus the symbolism of a representation of the laity bringing the offerings to the altar.

Is this something that is still necessary or should it go the way of the bells in terms of the 1960's? Of course, the bells in many places rose from the dead by the 1990's.

54 comments:

Ryan Ellis said...

This is one of the few areas where reasonable traddies are ok with it. The Ordinary Form--in theory--restores a sense of motion to the Offertory Chant. The motion in question is the offering of the oblation species to the altar. This is to pair it with the Introit Chant's motion (proceeding to the sanctuary), and the Communion Chant's motion (receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist). Of course, all of this assumes that this is done on purpose, with Mass propers, and with an understanding that there is a great oration after each chant-motion cycle (i.e., the Collect, the prayer over the oblations, and the post-communion prayer).

Gene said...

It is just another way to get laity and women crawling around all over the Church…like the Extraordinary Monsters of Communion. Nothing to see here…move along.

rcg said...

Based on this morning's new from the Vatican I Wonder if you will just redistribute the offerings?

JBS said...

I agree with Ryan Ellis (except for his use of the objectionable phrase 'traddies'). I also think this presentation is an effective way of symbolizing the congregation's role in the sacrifice ('meum ET VESTRUM').

Anonymous said...

Such a waste of time with people and their "big" heads bringing the gifts to the altar. I chuckle when I see this on tv at Novus Ordo Masses, only because I attend the TLM and we of course don't do this silly thing with women thinking they are priests. And please Father will you get rid of the altar girlettes in your parish, that service is reserved for BOYS only. It gives the girls the false notion they can become priests.

Carol H. said...

I used to try to get to Mass early so I could pray beforehand. I don't do so any more because I kept getting interrupted to be asked to present the gifts. I am more comfortable walking in 5 minutes late than 15 minutes early.

Templar said...

My family and I must have been asked 100 times if we'd like to "bring the gifts up", and finally just had to break down and inform the requester that we don't condone the Clericalization of the Laity. Not entirely sure she grasped my meaning, but she has stopped asking, so SUCCESS!!

Anonymous said...

"prominent Benedictine liturgist of the 1960's at Collegeville, MN"?
How can anyone point to this Benedictine organization as proof of anything?
They have proven themselves homosexual, heretical and opposed to Church Teaching.
Collegeville should be shut down, not quoted.
Anyone wanting to view the OFFICIAL teaching of the Catholic Church should look to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Edition.

Gene said...

Hey, Templar. Glad you are back. I like to hear my echo…LOL!

Mordacil said...

The practice really helps me to reflect on how I bring myself to the sacrifice. As the gifts of bread, wine, and money (and actual gifts of food and other things for the priests and the parish in some places) are brought forward, I reflect on all of my own prayers, works, joys, and sufferings and present them to The Lord along with the rest of the offerings. I can visualize those things being carried away and offered to God, to be sacrificed to Him and transfigured by Christ into something actually acceptable to God, through this presentation of the gifts. It's not essential, I agree, but it is VERY powerful imagery (much like most of what you see at St. Joseph's)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ryan Ellis, that it can be done in a dignified and respectful way - especially when pared with the Gregorian Offertory. However, all too often, it has been used simply as a way to get the laity to "participate." Better to encourage them to pray as the best form of participation.

Joe Potillor said...

Well, in the Eastern churches there's an offertory procession (Byzantine Rite)...but it's the priest who leads it. The offertory procession, I think does have a place in the Roman Liturgy, just not with the laity bringing up the gifts.

Desiree said...

I agree with everyone who is not for gift bearing. Mr. Gene and I see things the same way, so his comment made me chuckle.

The comment about prayers being interrupted is a problem. Going to church to pray is much more important than us bringing gifts. Gift bearing is not necessary, so why bother people while they are doing important spiritual practices? Being late to Mass is a sin. If a person would rather sin than be bothered during prayers something should be done.

If the church is having a hard time finding people, then maybe that is a sign to not bother? Or if it must be continued, could it be better planned...like having a schedule of volunteers?

Speaking of the Eucharist...
Father, the past two Sundays the kneelers have not been available during Communion. My family and I went to the 12:10 and the 5 o'clock Mass, so I don't think it was just one time's style. I really prefer to kneel. Will the kneelers return this Sunday?

George said...

One option I can see is to have the altar servers bring the gifts up.
There would then be no need to requisition Mass attendees nor would there be a concern over the lack of those interested in doing this.

rcg said...

Our gifts are collected in a basket and deposited at a side altar. Some nice old Italian gentleman with bulge in his coat.

Joseph Johnson said...

Desiree,
In my home parish, also in the Diocese of Savannah, our recent previous pastor had instituted the practice of having the ushers bring out kneelers at Communion time. During his tenure, our bishop came for a Confirmation and (apparently) noticed that some of us were choosing to kneel to receive.

I said "apparently" the bishop noticed because when our new (current) pastor first came he ended the use of the kneelers and lectured us from the pulpit saying that the bishop didn't want this and that our previous pastor didn't know what he was doing (when he did what Pope Benedict XVI had been doing by using the kneelers). Our new pastor told us that kneeling for Communion was only for the "Tridentine" Mass (which he readily admitted that some of us may actually like).

Of course, under the current GIRM (as I have read--see Jimmy Akin's explanation), people have the option of kneeling for Communion and they have taken out the former provision that, if we choose to do so, that the priest should admonish us that standing is the "norm" in the U.S. Maybe our new pastor was unaware of this change in the GIRM.

I HOPE it wasn't our bishop who ordered that the kneelers no longer be made available . . .

Gene said...

Well, St. Jo's is in the Savannah Diocese. I guess Fr. isn't responding because he feels the same need to defend the Bishop as he feels to defend the Pope. If the Bishop did order their removal, it shows just how much trouble the Church is in. So, what will he do about altar rails? I guess they will just be for the ExtraordinaryMonsters of Communion to lean on...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Gene, since you have adopted the ideology of the 1960's to dissent from the teachings of the pope and bishops in union with him if you don't like this, that or the other and in fact show contempt and disrespect for the pope and bishops in union with him, I have to tell you that this is novel in the Church excpet when we are in a period of schism, division and reformation, such as the Protestant Reformation.

Traditional Catholicism which I espouse shows respect for the pope and bishops in union with him even in areas where there might be legitimate room for disagreement, such as standing or kneeling for Holy Communion, the present the gifts or not and the type of care for the poor the Pope as head of state of the Vatican City State and a worldwide religious leader advocates even if it goes against our American political ideologies of any particular party.

I promised obedience and respect to my bishop when I was ordained. Priests and laity or do otherwise are immoral and heterodox.

Gene said...

Fr, I am not dissenting from any doctrinal or infallible teaching of the Church. Also, I can respect the office of Pope and Bishop while disagreeing strongly with non-doctrinal decisions or statements they make. I am a fully believing and reasonably devout Catholic who is concerned with some of the less than intelligent things being done by the powers and principalities within the Church.

I take your chastisement of me as a "yes" to the question of whether the Bishop ordered the removal of the kneelers. Now, think a minute... what kind of message does that send?

i was never encouraged by "Bishops" in the Presbyterian church or any other protestant church that had them. They were largely self-satisfied, political animals who wanted nothing so badly as to keep things quiet and not disturb their own peace. I see things are exactly the same on this side of the Tiber. To wit, a joke needs re-telling:

A little Irish boy comes to breakfast and tells his dad:
"Dad, I had a terrible dream last night…I dreamed I died went to the bad place."
Father responds: "Well, son, what was it like?"
Boy says, 'I nearly froze to death."
Father says, 'What? I thought the bad place was hot."
Little Irish boy: "Yeah, Dad, but I couldn't get close to the fire for all the Bishops."

Gene said...

All this, and we are outraged by a silly black mass at Harvard? What a nice distraction from the destruction of the Liturgy and Catholic identity…a non-threatening event upon which we can safely focus our outrage and disgust without upsetting any Priests, Bishops, or Popes. Satan is a clever Devil, isn't he...

Siena said...

Sorry, Father, but I'm with Gene on this one.

Gene brings up the perennial problem. Where does true authority lie--with the pope and the bishops who are in communion with him, or with the Magisterium?

The initial reaction may be that these are the same thing. Ideally they should be. But realistically, are they? Consider that nearly all doctrinal pronouncements of the Church, except for any that have been made in the past 50 years, are the products of popes and bishops who are no longer alive. Yet they are still magisterially authoritative. Now suppose that individual bishops today, or even national councils, make statements and take actions that undercut those authoritative pronouncements. For instance, what about the Florida bishop a few years back who forbade Eucharistic Adoration? What about the priest (or was it bishop) in California who threatened those who knelt to receive Communion with excommunication?

This leads to the question of obedience to the bishop versus obedience to the Magisterium. According to one school of thought, we should take an "ultramontanist" approach, if you will, to our bishop--that if we obey him and he turns out to be a heretic, then that's on him and not us, because we've shown him holy obedience. The other approach: "No, Your Excellency, you are wrong when you declare that the Real Presence is an erroneous doctrine because the Magisterium declares otherwise."

We keep hearing all this talk about how the Church needs to get with the times. Well, the times are this: literacy and availability of magisterial documents are at an all-time high, eclipsing anything of more than two centuries (or even a half-century) ago, and blatantly heterodox practices among laity and clergy are rampant and also more visible than ever before. If LG really meant what it said about sensus fidei, then the expressed good-faith concern of learned Catholics that the current pope and many of the current bishops in union with him are taking positions and actions that at least seem inconsistent with doctrine surely qualifies.

And we aren't talking subtle points here. When a priest's or bishop's argument for being orthodox doesn't even pass the laugh test, then people have a right to question it. When I hear a priest describe the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as "hocus pocus" to a group of catechumens (which I have), then I will not be silent.

In short: I don't place such a premium on holy obedience that I'm going to let the modernists shout me down while I say nothing.

Gene said...

One might argue (if Fr will post this) the same for the Magisterium in Luther's time…that Leo X was wrong and that Luther was (as he initially viewed himself) just a Priest who disagreed with, and got in trouble with, the Bishops and the Pope. The Reformation might never have happened if "cooler heads" had prevailed…which head neither Luther nor Leo possessed.

Gene said...

PS In fact, I have often pondered if there wasn't still hope for a re-unification of the Church with protestant splinter groups right up to Calvin's day. No one ever explored it seriously but, when Calvin came along and wrote his "Institutes of the Christian Religion" (the protestant Summa), it was all over. Calvin chiseled Reformation theology in stone and we know the rest.

Pater Ignotus said...

Siena - Your distinction between "living" and "dead" bishops in communion with "living" or "dead" popes is completely false.

A teaching is infallible when a living pope makes an infallible statement. In that statement, from a living pope, and throughout the time he is alive, is found the authentic Magisterial teaching of the Church.

An individual bishop who might have forbidden Eucharistic Adoration, is not speaking or acting Magisterially, not when he was alive nor when he was dead.

The suggestion that we can find authoritative magisterial teaching only after those who have promulgated such teaching have died is simply wrong.

Gene said...

Ignotus, Are you saying that all the infallible statements made by Popes are nullified when these Popes die? That is what it sounds like…even you have more sense than that, so I am sure it was just your typically vague, poorly written rambling.

Siena said...

Pater: So does that mean I'm free to ignore a priest when he declares the Mass to be "hocus pocus?"

Carol H. said...

Desiree, I have knelt on the floor for the past two weeks. It makes getting up much harder (I will be 48 in August), but I have not stood for Communion for at least two years now.

I believe in the real presence and Christ is my King. Lack of a cushion will not prevent me from receiving Him on my knees.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - No, you misread my statement.

The Magisterium is not only to be found in statements from dead popes or long-past Councils. Siena seems to think that that is the case, but Siena is mistaken.

JBS said...

Sienna,

I think "hocus pocus" was a Reformation phrase used in England to mock the words of Consecration.

Desiree said...

Okay, am I reading that the kneelers have been removed, and that it is because of the bishop?

It looks like that is what I am seeing.

That REALLY frustrates me. Traditional Catholicism is the reason I am now Catholic.

As a happy, active Methodist I went to my mom's old parish a few years ago. It is a very new building. The Mass was OF. During the Mass I did not feel lost, because it was very close to the service I was used to at my Methodist church. I didn't see the big deal, or the need to become Catholic. I was taking the bread and grape juice just as seriously as those people were taking their Eucharist.

It was not until my mom met Traditional Catholics who taught her things, that I began to care about being Catholic. The reverence for Christ is overwhelming. I could not resist! It lured me in and filled up empty places I never knew I had. I finally understood Christianity, the Bible never made more sense, and I craved the Eucharist. I saw Methodism as playing house. I didn't want any part of that anymore. I only wanted the source of Christianity.

My local priest told me I needed to go to St. Joseph's. I thought I found what I needed at St. Joseph's, I became Catholic, and now it's starting to feel like I'm being told what I love and need is not the normal, and is being taken away. It feels like I'm going back to Protestantism.
The Church's numbers have been declining. Protestants don't care to be Catholic. I am from the outside. I get it. I may not know all the terms or all the history, but I am very observant. I am telling you why Christ's Bride is hurting. She is not the same Church She once was. She is being stripped. Why would anyone need to stop being Methodist if they see the same thing going on in the Catholic Church as in their service? I said the same creed, I stood for my bread and grape juice...which I thought I took seriously, I believed in saints and Mary as the mother of God, etc. I did touch my own bread and dipped in the grape juice, but isn't that the same as receiving in the hand...or better yet, receiving in the hand from a Eucharistic Minister?
Change is hard. Being born Catholic is much easier. Sure when you know the history and the Church, you understand why the Eucharist is better than the bread and grape juice. But, what is there to lure a person in if it all looks the same? Do we Catholics not have beautiful churches like Saint Joseph's because we worship with our senses? Seeing a woman veiled, kneeling at an altar rail in St. Joseph's, and receiving on the tongue from a priest is going make anyone stop, look, and want to know more vs. a woman standing, in a modern church, receiving in the hand from a Eucharistic Minister. That looks just like what I did as a Methodist.

The doctrine and history doesn't matter if it's not carried out properly. Many Catholics aren't revering the Eucharist as truly Christ. Kneel before your king! Know your place. We say "yes, sir" and "yes, mam", but won't kneel to our crucified Lord, who died for us? I just don't get it.

Desiree said...

Thank you, Carol H., for saying that. It really threw me off guard when there was no kneeler! I am new to receiving. I appreciate the advice and role models!

Gene said...

Desiree and Carol, Who would have ever thought that the act of kneeling for Communion would become an act of defiance…but, since that is the way the Bishop wants to frame it, lets all kneel from now on at every conceivable opportunity.

Desiree said...

I don't mean to be disrespectful to any person, but Jesus matters more to me.

He died for me. That's a big deal.

Carol H. said...

Desiree, that is as it ought to be.

Gene, amen.

Jesu, ufam tobie!

Joseph Johnson said...

Desiree, Carol and Gene,

I agree with you all. Why should an external appearance of obedience matter more than an internal (and external) act of utter reverence to Jesus Really and Truly Present in the Eucharist? It seems that the enforcement of conformity to a recently established "norm" matters more to some of these clergy than deeply held Catholic belief in the Real Presence and the (t)raditional piety that goes along with it for many of us. This is one of the reasons that I prefer the Extraordinary Form. If bishops and priests don't want to deal with the "headache" of requests for the Extraordinary Form, they need to consider accomodating these sensibilities in the Ordinary Form.

Why can't more bishops show consideration and respect for the rightful aspirations and spirituality of Catholics who feel compelled to kneel at Communion?

Anonymous said...

I think I am done wasting my time and effort on a Church that preaches "love your neighbor" but can't be bothered to put out a kneeler for arthritic old knees and preganant bellies. But please do get your checks in for the Bishop's annual appeal.

The Guards are always just "following orders"....try following LAWFUL orders for a change and having the spine to refuse illegal orders.

Gene said...

Fr, it seems I have a lot of company. Are we all going to Hell?

Gene said...

Oh, and please answer my question about the altar rails. Are we actually going to be able to kneel at them or are they merely an expensive bauble?

Gene said...

Fr, I guess I am to take your silence as a "yes" it is an expensive bauble...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

No, I just enjoy your ongoing hysterics and how this compromises your logic and ability to see and hear what is before you. Others seem to have caught your contagion too! Too funny. You would think adults with the ability to reason would see that the construction which is ongoing and won't be completed until the marble arrives in about 10 weeks would see there is no room for kneelers with the extension of the uncompleted wooden platform and that once construction is completed and the railing installed that people who wish to kneel will be able to do so and comfortably and even for the chalice. And of course it will be required for all who are able at the EF Mass and Holy Communion distributed at the railing in the traditional manner. But go ahead and be like the modern journalist and uber conservative bloggers who think Martians are coming, the sky is falling and Armageddon is here. It is quite entertaining to say the least, all this hysteria.

Joseph Johnson said...

Fr. McDonald,
OK, I'm glad to hear the logistical (construction of the altar rail) reason for the lack of kneelers at your parish.
I don't get up your way very often and I have not had the opportunity to observe the construction and what it does to the space.

Still, you have heard the story from my parish (about no more kneelers) from my parish (in the same diocese) more than once. Now, if the bishop apparently doesn't have a problem with the use of the soon-to-be altar rail (at Ordinary Form Masses) at your parish then I think I can probably deduce where (and why) we "stand" here at my parish . . .

Gene said...

I do not believe it is hysteria at all. With the assault upon traditional Catholic identity going on within the Church, it is understandable that many of us would be a bit paranoid. This is not to mention everyone's previous experiences with Bishops and good Priests who are ambivalent in their attitudes and actions, caught between the absurdities of Vat II and their desire to be dutiful and loyal to the Bishop and the Pope.

Gene said...

So, what do you deduce regarding your parish, Joseph?

Joseph Johnson said...

Gene,
After giving it some thought, let's see if I can "probably" deduce regarding my parish:

Possibility 1: The bishop may have told my new pastor to stop using the kneelers at my parish but has since had a change of heart (maybe he read the new GIRM) and is now OK with it which is why he approved the Communion rail for St. Joseph in Macon and will (apparently) allow its use in the Ordinary Form for those who wish to use it.

Possibility 2: Maybe the bishop is allowing (an exception) for a new Communion rail and the option of kneeling for Communion in the OF for St. Joseph, Macon, because of architectural/preservation reasons and will not allow it to spread to other "modern" styled churches in the diocese (a very unfair and superficial basis for such a rule--I hope it's not this one!).

Possibility 3: Maybe it's my pastor and not the bishop at all who is responsible for not allowing the use of kneelers for Communion at my parish (I don't like this one, either, because in this scenario, one would have to believe that my pastor was not telling us the truth when he said from the pulpit that it was the bishop who did not want the kneelers used).

What do you think?

Gene said...

I think # 2 is likely and that somebody is lying.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I have clear instructions that for the Ordinary Form standing is the norm, kneeling is the exception. At St. Joseph the majority still receive standing and in the hand and some who kneel receive in the hand. I am not promoting kneeling or discouraging standing or disobeying the norm or the exception.

Anonymous said...

Dear Father,
I am moved to sadness by your response to your parishioners. I see them interpreting the removal of their very-portable kneelers as a threat to what was once the ONLY way to receive, kneeling. But sadder still is your response to them. It was not kind, it was not reassuring, and it was instigating discourse. To be honest, I would not let my son speak to his sister in the tone you took with your flock. I thoroughly understand obedience, I do, but you are making your people feel like you are against them. I see it in their words. Is it so very hard to place back the kneelers until the communion rails are installed? Can't your people who love Christ more than life itself be allowed to give Him the reverence due without a big commotion? Our Lord does not want this politicized, or to become a battle. As a person who receives kneeling, too, I would find if very difficult without a kneeler for balance, due to physical issues, and there are far more disabled than I. A kneeler is not so very big or wide, surely out of the love for your people you could bring them back for a few weeks more? For our Lord? Of course they are panicking, and with some kind words and the kneelers back in place, what a beautiful thing you would be doing. We can heal wounds.

You don't have to publish this Father, as it is just an appeal between you and I. I will be praying for you, and your parish and for Holy Mother Church. Please have a kind and tender heart, Father.
St. John Eudes, ora pro nobis!

~Denis St. Paris

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I am half Italian with a full blooded Italian mother thus I can smell manipulation a mile away! It doesn't work with me since it was tried so often on me! I stand by my remarks no matter how they made the sensitive feel! Sorry, but nice try at manipulation and guilt!

Anonymous said...

Dear Father,
You mock your parishioners for their paranoia ("hysteria", as you put it), and yet you mistook my words as guilting and manipulating. You do need our prayers, more than we realized. God bless you, Father.

St. John Eudes, ora pro nobis.

~Denis St. Paris

Mordacil said...

Talk about clericalising laity. You guys place yourselves above the bishops and the pope. Follow the bishop. If he leads astray the pope will correct him, and the Rock guided by the Holy Spirit. Christ hasn't abandoned his church.

Fr. Godfred showed us video of the offertory procession in Ghana. There, they aren't just bringing bread, wine, and money. They bring offerings of food-baskets of corn, sacks of beans, etc.-just like the early church. That is a beautiful part of the liturgy that serves all of the purposes I described in my comments above. A priest alone couldn't carry it out either. What we have in the west is only a vestigial, symbolically impoverished image of that giving of ourselves to The Lord.

PS The heavenly liturgy itself has laity presenting offerings to God, so I see no problem reflecting that on earth.

Gene said...

So, Fr, this Sunday, I'm bringing a goat, a sack of beans, and two dogs.

Mordacil said...

Gene, it's not as practical and not the cultural norm, but if it's all you have to offer then give what you can. Or respond to my point of view with a reasoned and charitable argument rather than resort to antagonistic sarcasm.

Gene said...

Mordacil, it was mainly humor…however, I am not in favor of the laity bringing down gifts. It is unnecessary and a distraction. Just my opinion.

Mordacil said...

Most of what is done at Mass is non-essential yet spiritually helpful for arousing a sense of what is really going on. What works for you doesn't necessarily apply to everyone.

I think I've seen the most basic mass possible when I once attended it in a closet-sized chapel with one priest and three of us laymen. The mass was only the prayers of the priest and the communion with no processing, incense, or music. We literally had to stand right behind the priest! (no room to kneel to receive either, for that matter).

It was the essence of mass but it couldn't make use of the material strategies (movement, images, sounds, and smells) the Church has developed over the centuries to speak to our senses as well as our souls.