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liturgy

Q. What's the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist?
A. You can reason with a terrorist.
Also, people sometimes listen to terrorists.
L/002

A sad observation

All too often, I see people turning up to mass with every expectation of a dull three-quarters of an hour where the glories of God's word, the wisdom of the Church's teaching and the essential sacrament of the Eucharist will be presented with less excitement, less joy and less dignity than a local radio 'phone-in. That's just not good enough. Whether the congregation don't realise things could be better or have just given up on expecting better, it's still an indictment of those in charge.

I was in London for the first Sunday of Lent in 1999, and left Chris to enjoy a leisurely breakfast while I went to mass. A very saddening experience. The level of apathy, the lack of understanding and participation: this could have been pre-Reformation, not just pre-Vatican II. There might have been good points in the sermon, but if there were they were lost in the general rambling when not simply inaudible. It might just as well have been in Latin. What could we hope to take away from this service? very little, I fear, except the blessing of the eucharist.

A good liturgy should enhance, not intrude; whatever its style and however little time is available, the heart of liturgy is worship, a shared and public time for concentrating on God. Put your heart into it: think about what you're celebrating.

A happy suggestion

Every year, the cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula rings and echoes to festive, joyous music in the Dimanches musicaux or Zondagsmuziek masses. Visiting choirs give a sung mass (except for the Credo, when the congregation enthusiastically join in with Credo III or sometimes I) plus anthems before the gospel, at offertory and communion; the Schola sing the Asperges, entrance antiphon and communion antiphon; the organist gives opening and closing voluntaries plus short flourishes at offertory and communion; and the sermons (one in French, one in Flemish) make sure the event never degenerates into concert-with-added-mass. Ten o'clock in the morning every Sunday through the summer, plus a Te Deum for the Fête Nationale