Sunday, September 20, 2015
A WEEK TO GO TO THE EXTRAORDINARY AND THE ANXIETY AND ANTICIPATION
Such is the case with the very common sense decision I made concerning our 12:10 PM Sunday Mass. About three years ago we "added" "ad orientem" to this Mass for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It began on the Solemnity of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist, which that year fell on a Sunday. I did only a minor explanation for it a couple of times. I have had absolutely no push-back for it except for one visitor who was passing through Macon on Interstate 75. He lambasted me in a very angry way that I had turned my back on the congregation. Then he went off in a huff!
I have noticed that our 12:10 PM Mass has more and more young people attending.
Then less than six months ago, after we had restored our altar railing, I decided to distribute Holy Communion at the 12:10 PM Mass to communicants who kneel at the full length of the railing. In my instruction about how to do it, I emphasized that the communicant still had the right to stand at the railing or to kneel. I was surprised that the majority kneel. The majority still receive Holy Communion in the hand, but it is much less rushed for them as they remain in place after I pass and place the Host in their mouth, make the Sign of the Cross and then leave.
I was also pleasantly surprised that when distributing Holy Communion at the altar railing, all that is needed is the deacon and I. Normally when Holy Communion is given at fixed stations we need four stations, but with people kneeling we only need two stations and since the priest and deacon are the ones moving quickly and the laity are coming and leaving less rushed, it takes less time with two distributing at the altar railing than with four at fixed stations! I kid you not!
Communion at the altar railing is organized chaos for the communicants. But it works out very well and we don't have ushers going pew by pew to let the people know it is their pew's time to go. The flow has worked out very, very well as it always did prior to Vatican II. It is not as regimented as it is with the fixed Communion stations.
Now, the greatest worry I have is that next Sunday, the last Sunday of September we will have our first Extraordinary Form Mass at a regularly scheduled Sunday Mass time, at our 12:10 PM Mass.
I am warning and informing our parishioners this Sunday in the announcements that next Sunday's 12:10 PM Mass will be in the Extraordinary Form.
Then next Sunday, prior to the Mass, I will explain from the pulpit but very briefly the theology and spirituality of this Mass, the reason why it is all Latin and the reason for the quiet Roman Canon and that at this Mass Holy Communion is distributed on the tongue and not in the hand although I won't be scrupulous about it if someone receives in the hand. They will have their choice even after my explanation.
So there is great anticipation and anxiety brewing. More to come!