Thursday, July 10, 2014

Stand. That's an order.

I went to morning Mass at my home parish. I don't always go to daily Mass there during the summer (as a teacher, I have the time to go). Part of it is the time - the Mass is a bit later than one at another nearby parish. But there's also the problem of an older retired priest who sometimes goes off on tangents during his homilies and criticizes the Church. Rather than taking a chance of getting upset I go elsewhere when I think he might be saying the Mass.

But today the pastor was saying the Mass.

He and I have had a few disagreements over liturgical practices. One of them is over standing during the Eucharistic prayers. The parish had begun the practice during a construction project when Masses were celebrated in the former school gym. Standing made sense in that situation. But when we went back to the church, even though there were kneelers available, the practice continued.

I respectfully spoke to him about this, pointing out that the norm in the U.S. is to kneel (aware, however that this is not the case in Europe, for example), but he said we would continue to stand. I wrote to our former bishop - he's since retired - seeking guidance. He wrote back to say it was up to the pastor and to follow his directions. In the spirit of obedience I did so at Sunday Masses.

At daily Masses, though, I noticed some people knelt, including some old-timers and active members of the parish. I did so in conjunction with them, figuring it was okay. This has been going on for a couple of summers.

This morning, though, when several of us knelt at the beginning of the prayer he suddenly stopped and instructed us to stand as that is the practice at the parish and as a sign of unity.

I stood. But I felt troubled. Why did he have to stop the Mass to say that? Why did he have to single us out? We were not trying to be disrespectful.

I'm not sure what to do. My ties to the parish are tenuous these days - I play with the contemporary liturgical group - which I love to do - and I was planning this fall to rejoin the regular choir after a year's break. Plus, the parish allows us to use meeting rooms for our Franciscan gatherings.

But now I'm feeling as if it might be time for me to move on.

I need to cool down, think, and pray.

Pax et bonum

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