GIRM 20-21: “Perceptible Signs”

Liturgy may well be defined as Christ’s worship of the Father, but in this world, we identify it through physical experiences and by human senses. Participation, active and full, remains a priority, as the world’s expression of the worship of God.

20. Since, however, the celebration of the Eucharist, like the entire Liturgy, is carried out by means of perceptible signs by which the faith is nourished, strengthened, and expressed,[Sacrosanctum Concilium 59] the greatest care is to be taken that those forms and elements proposed by the Church are chosen and arranged, which, given the circumstances of persons and places, more effectively foster active and full participation and more aptly respond to the spiritual needs of the faithful.

Participation, however, is not the end result. The spiritual needs of the people are.

21. Hence this Instruction aims both to offer general lines for a suitable ordering of the celebration of the Eucharist and to explain the rules by which individual forms of celebration may be arranged.*

*Special celebrations of Mass should observe the guidelines established for them: For Masses with particular groups, cf. Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, Instruction, Actio pastoralis, May 15, 1969: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 61 (1969), pp.806-811; for Masses with children, cf. Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, Directory for Masses with Children, November 1, 1973: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 66 (1974), pp. 30-46; for the manner of joining the Hours of the Office with the Mass, cf. Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, nos. 93-98; for the manner of joining certain blessings and the crowning of an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Mass, cf. Rituale Romanum, De Benedictionibus, editio typica, 1984, Praenotanda, no. 28; Ordo coronandi imaginem beatae Mariae Virginis, editio typica, 1981, nos. 10 and 14.

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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.
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