Friday, September 05, 2008

"Tune up" for Mass

With my move to a new parish two months ago, I came across a paper that came from my seminary.  It was written for the 4th year men, soon to be ordained to the Priesthood, and gave little helpful hints for the finer points of the celebration of Mass.  I think they're worth at least a reading by Young Fogey Priests.  Think of it a checklist for the occasional "tune-up" we should all give ourselves in the way we celebrate Mass.
  • Look at the people when greeting them and inviting them to pray.
  • Avoid "floating hands" (i.e.- one hand is turning the page of the Sacramentary, while the other one is still extended in the "orans" position", leaving people wondering what that hand is doing up there?)
  • Remember to bow your head when the Three Divine Persons are named together, and at the name of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Saint whose feast day it is.
  • Remember to pause at appropriate times during the liturgy.  When praying the prayers, pay attention to the punctuation marks.
  • Hold the purificator under your chin when drinking from the chalice.
  • Wipe the rim when the chalice is on the altar.
  • Do not rest your hands on the altar during the Prayer of Consecration.
  • Praying the private preparation prayers quietly or inaudibly does not mean mentally.
  • Don't forget to distribute consecrated hosts to any concelebrants during the Lamb of God.
  • Know when to turn your body microphone on and off at the appropriate times.  Avoid reaching for the microphone just before you consume the Body of Christ.
  • Resist turning pages in the Sacramentary as the people respond to "Pray, Brethren, ..." and at other times during the liturgy.  It gives the impression that what they're saying ("May the Lord accept...") is not important.
  • Be aware of hand gestures and your placement of hands during the Consecration.  Such gestures should always communicate reverence.
  • Practice when to extend hands following, "Let us pray," etc.
  • Begin the fracture of the Host at the start of the Lamb of God.
  • Wash and dry hands, not just fingertips.
  • Do not turn the page between the final genuflection and final elevation ("This is the Lamb of God").
  • Watch saying words too quickly.  Say, "fruit of the vine", not, "frootuduhvine," or, "it will be shed for you", not "it'll be shed..."
  • Practice the extension and coming together of hands at various moments of the Mass.
  • At the preparation prayers over the gifts: "it will become our spiritual drink" (not "it will become for us our spiritual drink").
  • Extend hands at the sign of peace ("The peace of the Lord be with you always.")
  • Allow more time after "Let us pray" and the actual prayer, and the invitation to recall sins and the Act of Penitence.
  • Practice pronunciation of Saints' names.
  • Hold paten and chalice slightly above the altar when saying the preparation prayers over the bread & wine.
  • Practice the extension and coming together again of hands at the Epiclesis and when blessing gifts and people.
  • Take care not to miss words as you pray or insert words that are not there.
  • Pause after the invitation to prayer at the General Intercessions.
  • Watch monotone voice.  Vary your voice inflection and volume when appropriate.
  • Practice hand gestures when using solemn blessing.
  • Have prepared which Greeting you are using at the beginning of Mass.


Jay said...

It's probably really obvious, but regardless, I'll ask the 'stupid question'...

Why should it be "it will become our spiritual drink" and not "it will become for us our spiritual drink"?

Dymphna said...

I don't mind a monotone voice. I figure the priest is just tired. It's the sing-song voice kindergarten teacher voice that bugs me.

canon1753 said...

The question of "become for us" make the spiritual drink relative, when it absolutely IS the spiritual drink, the Blood of Christ after consecration.

I had (and lost) a copy of the rules of Grossian Liturgical Purity too. Thanks For posting it!

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

I think this is something that all priests should see.

Jay said...

Oh, I see, become our spiritual drink, because it is, not just for us. Of course. Thank you.

caite said...

I'd like to send my priest a copy.But he won't give me his e-mail address. ;-)
Sadly, for many priests...and those that attend...the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass becomes routine. How can a miracle be routine?

Brother Charles said...

Great advice all around...and clearly by someone who knows the ease of bad habits, e.g. "floating hands"...and the way the Sacramentary works,e.g. the page turning stuff.