Saturday, February 27, 2016

Monday Morning Liturgists: It's Not so Easy to be Part of the Solution

A post by freelance writer William Bornhoft on the practice of "liturgy shaming" has been generating a lot of dialogue on social media. Bornhoft's post is excellent, calling people to task for posting on social media about liturgical abuses and holding them up to ridicule and uncharitable judgment.

What I am finding in the conversation is that some people are indeed openly frustrated with parish liturgy. Some have even gone so far as to approach a pastor with their frustrations, as Bornhoft suggests, and have been rebuffed.

This is not just related to the current conversation. There are entire groups dedicated to criticizing the liturgical abuse of others. Some bloggers do this on a regular basis, posting things derisively and inviting commentary. People are only too willing to pile onto those bandwagons.

In the absence of
  • a pastor with good liturgical formation, an aptitude for liturgy, and time and energy to "direct" its component parts himself or at least to collaborate with those he has delegated to do so
  • properly trained, knowledgeable staff or volunteers who take on the burden of preparation of the liturgy and training of its ministers
  • adequately trained and aware ministers who serve the assembly of the people at Mass reverently and according to the rubrics and guidelines of the Church
people in the pews have every right to be frustrated with parish liturgy.

However, as someone who has served both as a liturgy director and as a liturgy committee member for almost 30 years, I find armchair liturgists rather frustrating.  It's all very well to criticize. But how about getting your rear end out of the pew to be part of the solution? Not so easy, eh?

If you think you know more about liturgy than the people who are putting it together, why can't you see that as a call for you to help? I'm not talking about coming in and "taking over" the liturgy committee in your parish. I'm talking about joining it respectfully, learning the ropes from the inside by first taking part in a liturgical ministry.Then, after your dedication is known, join in the work of putting the liturgy together, gaining the trust of others and gently encouraging renewed study of Church guidelines.  I'm talking about leading others by example, by studying the liturgy yourself and sharing what you have learned, allowing others to discover the way to better liturgy and inviting them to do better, rather than shaming them for their ignorance.

This is the true essence of Christian community - that each of us is called and gifted and that we care enough about one another to work together. It also means that we share our gifts instead of hoarding them and feeling self-righteous because we know more than others. Those who know more should teach and lead others, charitably.

Liturgy is "the work of the people" - ALL the people. To each and every one are given different  gifts that can be offered to support the liturgical prayer of the community. The road to liturgical improvement in your parish lies open to you, if you accept the challenge that you can help by sacrificing your time to work together with, not against your fellow parishioners who already give their time and talent to the community's worship. What gifts has God given you for the liturgy? How can you begin to share them?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Helping People Participate More Fully in the Mass - The "From Mass to Mission" Project

It's out and available to order. From Liturgy Training Publications, The From Mass to Mission: Understanding the Mass and Its Significance for Our Christian Life series offers catechists and school teachers an affordable tool to help people of all ages discover how to participate fully in the Mass and understand what the Mass has to do with their lives and the mission of Christ.

I was privileged to author the children's version, which includes catechist preparation, family connections as well as activities, quizzes and more for children in grades 3-6.  Kudos to LTP for recognizing that the original vision of this resource needed to expand beyond children to include the adults significant in their lives.

Watch the video below and for more information, go here:

From Mass to Mission from Liturgy Training Publications on Vimeo.