Monday, October 22, 2012

A Glimmer of Hope at Sunday Mass

We went to Mass last night at the little mission church that is not to distant from our house. We love the pastor, who gives meaty homilies, and who is reverent (if not always completely liturgically correct) in his celebration of Mass. The church itself is the one I’ve mentioned where the sanctuary looks like a 1970’s dining room, complete with a “captain’s chair” for the priest and doilies on the end tables. Ugh.


This week, at the end of Mass, Father invited everyone to sit down and said he wanted to make some corrections regarding the altar servers.

First, he backtracked and thanked them for be willing to serve. But then he told them that, since he usually closes his eyes during the Our Father, he didn’t know that they were standing with their hands in the “orans” posture. (Under previous pastors, there was actually holding of hands by altar servers and priest as they stood behind the altar.)
This used to be common in our diocese until Bishop Vasa
explicitly taught against it. Now where handholding has
been discontinued, the "orans" posture persists. 

Father made light of the correction by telling the servers that he was going to prepare them to serve in Rome. “If you go to Rome and you are a server,” he said, “and you hold your arms out like that, the people watching on TV will be laughing at you!”

He then instructed them to kneel before the altar during the Our Father, and to wait there to receive Holy Communion – in a kneeling position.

“You will be the example for the people,” he told them. “People are encouraged to kneel for Communion, and I will install a kneeler here for those who want to do that.”

I was ready to applaud! But I refrained.

Still, this gives me hope! Father is a good, solid, fairly orthodox priest who has a sense of what the liturgy should be. He and I have talked about possible changes at this mission church before. He said the EF Mass for us (in a different church) for almost a year, and spoke to me a little bit about how it had changed him. 

We pray for another priest to be assigned to assist Father so that he will be able to return to the celebration of the EF Mass; currently he is spread extremely thin. He is mindful of our needs, though, and I think we will see more changes down the road.


  1. A kneeler for communion? Whoa! Radical...

  2. Yeaaah,... the orans thing, and the holding hands nonsense. Both drive me to distraction. Thank God for these blessed moments, i.e., a return of the sense of the sacred!


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