Thursday, September 11, 2014
ISN'T IT TIME FOR ACTUAL PARTICPATION IN THE EF MASS
This past Sunday we celebrated our monthly EF High Mass. Our men's schola under the direction of Nelda Chapman was excellent and all was celebrated prayerfully and beautifully.
I've already written that I have joyfully embraced the ethos of this form of the Mass, especially its silences, in particular the Roman Canon, and its focus away from lay involvement at the altar in the roles of lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Only boys can be altar boys and I place this in the paradigm of the RCIA's Inquiry phase for boys considering the priesthood.
But here is my wish list for St. Joseph's monthly EF High Mass and even for our each Tuesday's 5 PM Low Mass. I want the congregation to join in the spoken and sung parts of the Mass and robustly. There is no reason for them not to do so.
For the most part our High Mass on Sunday was sung using a mix of the Jubilatio Deo Mass and the Orbis Factor. These are easily sung by the congregation too. I chanted all the parts I am suppose to chant in an EF Mass. I would like to hear the congregation respond in a chanted way with the response to the "Dominus vobiscum" as well as the Orate Fratres and Preface Dialogue.
If I celebrated the EF High Mass each Sunday, I would do more catechesis on the congregation's participation.
The same is true of the Low Mass. The congregation needs to join in the responses for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and all other spoken parts that the altar boys lead.
I wrote above that the EF Mass does not have the ministries of lector or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. It does have the ministry of usher though and this can be carried forward by both men and women. It does have the ministry of cantor, schola and choir and women may join mixed voice choirs or an all women's choir.
But the main ministry that places all the laity on the same level is the actual participation from the congregation. This is the most important ministry of the laity at the EF Mass. We need to be very post-Vatican II in this regard and set an example that the congregation need not be hushed in using their voice and in an exuberant way during the EF Mass. Actual participation is both internal and external, not either/or but both/and!