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Kissing the altar at the beginning of Mass has a fascinating origin

Kissing the altar at the beginning of Mass has a fascinating origin In addition to a profound bow to the altar by the Priest, Deacon, and other ministers upon arriving in the sanctuary, the Priest and Deacon also kiss the altar itself (GI 49). Many of us may be surprised (or shocked!) to learn that this ancient custom was borrowed from pagan rituals.  People w...
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Introductory Rites help prepare us for worship during Mass

Introductory Rites help prepare us for worship during Mass The Introductory Rites (Entrance Song, Greeting, Penitential Act, Kyrie, Glory to God in the Highest, and Collect) precede the Liturgy of the Word.  These Rites provide a beginning, an introduction and a preparation for our worship (GI46).   The new Roman Missal of 2011 explains that R...
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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mass introductory rites help create an atmosphere of faith

Mass introductory rites help create an atmosphere of faith The new Roman Missal’s General Introduction explains that, “The Introductory Rites serve the purpose of ensuring that the gathering faithful establish communion and prepare themselves properly to listen to God’s Word and to celebrate the Eucharist” (46).  The Church, fr...
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Friday, June 17, 2016

Eastern Church inspired the Latin Rite Mass

Eastern Church inspired the Latin Rite Mass The Latin Rite Mass was inspired to a great degree by the customs of the Eastern Church.  Before the Eastern Liturgy began, the vested priest would prepare the gifts of bread and wine – which symbolized the hidden life of Christ until the beginning of his public ministry with his baptism...
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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Using original customs to revitalize worship today

Using original customs to revitalize worship today The following is the conclusion of St. Justin’s description of the Mass as celebrated in Rome around A.D. 150:   “…on that day which is called after the sun, all who are in the towns and in the country gather together for a communal celebration.  And then the memoirs of...
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Thursday, May 19, 2016

More examples of changes in liturgical symbolism

More examples of changes in liturgical symbolism Several more examples of liturgical actions no longer used for their original intended purpose.  Most people do not notice that the priest/deacon pours a drop of water into the wine during the Preparation of Gifts.  This custom originated because the wine used to be thicker or heavier so...
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Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Exploring the tradition of our Mass

Exploring the tradition of our Mass In the previous article, we presented the idea of “Ressourcement,” meaning that the bishops at Vatican II wanted theologians and liturgists to return to the earliest ancient treasures in the Church’s storehouse.  Their intention was to understand the spirit imbuing these anci...
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mass changes result from liturgical evolution

Mass changes result from liturgical evolution We must remember that Jesus did not lay down guidelines regarding how Mass was to be celebrated throughout the centuries. The structure of the Mass evolved. You may have seen paintings of the Last Supper with the Apostles kneeling and receiving communion on their tongues. This is not what actually...
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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Weekend Mass from one priest's viewpoint

Weekend Mass from one priest's viewpoint Let me share with you what I (and probably other priests) see from my side of the altar during a weekend Mass. When processing down the aisle at the beginning and end of Mass, I hear the most singing in the front one-third of the church – even when we sing traditional songs like “O Come...
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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

When does Mass really begin?

When does Mass really begin? Have you ever asked, “When does Mass really begin?”    We would probably answer with the entrance song.  Actually, Mass begins way before then.  Mass begins the moment we decide that we want to join others as a faith community to worship God.  Some people do thi...
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Thursday, February 18, 2016