OCF 11: Active Liturgical Participation

A post-conciliar value appears. Again:

11. The community’s principal involvement in the ministry of consolation is expressed in its active participation in the celebration of the funeral rites, particularly the vigil for the deceased, the funeral liturgy, and the rite of committal.

Active participation is interspersed all through the post-conciliar documents. It’s not a surprise that this aspect is listed as number one in the OCF introduction, given the importance of liturgy, especially the Eucharist, as an expression for the Body. Note also the three Big Moments for this participation: not jut the funeral, but also the vigil and committal.

For this reason these rites should be scheduled at times that permit as many of the community as possible to be present.

It’s been a little bit of a surprise to me that parishes don’t schedule more funerals in the evening. Maybe continuity is a secular tradition that’s hard to overcome.

The assembly’s participation can be assisted by the preparation of booklets that contain an outline of the rite, the texts and songs belonging to the people, and directions for posture, gesture, and movement.

Note the emphasis on the kind of participation here. The outward form is important: people should be provided knowledge about the rituals. Also that singing, responding in speech, and movement is important. Given the variance in practice between parishes, and the relative infrequency of participating in a funeral, these hints on a funeral booklet are probably served by a bit more instruction than less.

Thoughts on any of these issues? Anybody want to take a poke at external participation?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Order of Christian Funerals, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to OCF 11: Active Liturgical Participation

  1. Liam says:

    Of course, funerals are a liturgy where congregants is likely to be of conflicting subjective desires in terms of participation.

    More objectively, funerals are a ritual liturgy where many – often the majority – of congregants are From Away, as it were, and are almost certainly the most likely liturgy where this reality prevails (there are fewer Catholic weddings than Catholic funerals, generally speaking).

    Thus, to the extent the local church community has a lot of idiosyncratic liturgical practices (“The Way We Do Things Here” of any flavor) and thoughtlessly indulges them in funeral liturgies, that will tend to impair external participation.

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