Author Topic: Liturgical Play-by-Play  (Read 466 times)

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Offline Retablo

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Liturgical Play-by-Play
« on: February 12, 2012, 05:27:37 PM »
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  • Today at Mass I sat in a pew behind a man who had brought with him his daughter (presumably), a girl of about 5 or 6 years old.  The entire duration of the Mass he explained to the incomprehensive little girl the meaning of every single liturgical detail, offering various catechesis and admonitions as well. He was, therefore, whispering, incessantly, to a child who indicated her level of comprehension when she interrupted him to ask, "but, Daddy," pointing to a statue, "can that angel over here fly over to that other angel over there?" Furthermore, at certain points he offered her a Latin-to-English Missal booklet, which she understandably rejected since she wouldn't be able to read English, much less Latin.

    When he continued to talk during the consecration it was about all I could take and so I quietly rose and moved to the opposite end of the pew I was sitting in. I did not make a scene but I wanted to bop the man over the head with my Missal, to be perfectly honest.

    Am I just too easily annoyed or is Mass, perhaps--as strange as it may sound--not the correct opportunity at which to teach people about the Mass? The example of the father and his little girl is but one such instance I have encountered. I have seen adults doing this with other adults who are new to the pre-Conciliar rites. They will sit next to them and explain everything that is happening as the Mass unfolds.

    Had someone insisted upon so intruding upon my worship when I first discovered the Tridentine Mass, it is doubtful I would have persevered. I did have someone approach me after Mass once to tell me they noticed I wasn't following along with a Missal "as I should be," to which I responded, "you'll have to confess your willful distraction to the priest; I cannot absolve you, I'm afraid." And that person never bothered me again. As it happens, I managed to learn to follow the Mass entirely on my own, without anybody's tutelage. It isn't rocket science, it turns out.

    Is it acceptable, do we suppose, to cause distraction for other worshippers by giving children and newcomers incessant "play-by-play" of the Mass...and is such a practice actually helpful for a newcomer? Is it more likely to enlighten them or to turn them off completely? And as for children of a certain age, need they really be so liturgically attuned? Isn't it enough for them to know that they have come to church to say hello to God, who loves them very much? Must a five year old girl really understand the Sucipiat?


    Offline TKGS

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    Liturgical Play-by-Play
    « Reply #1 on: February 13, 2012, 05:46:49 AM »
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  • It is not appropriate to instruct the ignorant about the Mass during the Mass.  If one wishes to do so, one should obtain one of the rather plentiful video presentations of the Mass and instruct others while watching a Mass on the screen in their own living room.  If this is not practical, there are plenty of Missals and other books that contain instructions about the Mass that one may obtain and use for instruction.

    At Mass, one is supposed to worship God, and one may do that even if he does not understand what is going on at each and every moment.

    On occasion, especially if we are in a chapel with which we are not familiar, something may happen that is "strange" to my children and they will want to ask about it.  My reply is always to put my finger to my lips and quietly remind them to ask after Mass.  These are generally the times they (and I) learn more about the Mass than any formal instruction can.


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