GIRM 95-97: The Functions Of The People of God

Much was made of Lumen Gentium starting with the People of God and moving to the clergy fron there. In the GIRM we get it in reverse. But hey: when you’re number two, do you try harder?

95. In the celebration of Mass the faithful form a holy people, a people of God’s own possession and a royal Priesthood, so that they may give thanks to God and offer the unblemished sacrificial Victim not only by means of the hands of the Priest but also together with him and so that they may learn to offer their very selves.[cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 48; Eucharisticum Mysterium 12] They should, moreover, take care to show this by their deep religious sense and their charity toward brothers and sisters who participate with them in the same celebration.

A sense of sacrifice indeed for many of us, at many times.

They are consequently to avoid any appearance of singularity or division, keeping in mind that they have only one Father in heaven and that hence are all brothers or sisters one to the other.

Liturgy is not a time to parade divisions. I don’t think the GIRM is calling for these to be ignored or minimized. God knows we have them.

96. Moreover, they are to form one body, whether in hearing the Word of God, or in taking part in the prayers and in the singing, or above all by the common offering of the Sacrifice and by participating together at the Lord’s table. This unity is beautifully apparent from the gestures and bodily postures observed together by the faithful.

One difficult issue in my parish and in many others is the posture of receiving Communion. Does one offend against GIRM 96 and the observance of unity by, for example, being a minority kneeler to receive the Eucharist?

97. The faithful, moreover, should not refuse to serve the People of God in gladness whenever they are asked to perform some particular service or function in the celebration.

They can’t say no when the liturgist asks? Really? What do you have to say about all this?

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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 GIRM, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to GIRM 95-97: The Functions Of The People of God

  1. Anon, please says:

    I was never able to get past my initial reaction to a priest who came out before one weekday Mass and said that there was no reader and one was required.
    No one volunteered.
    I would have, but I knew I might need to leave early to make the train to work.
    So any way the priest did the OT reading, psalm and Gospel and then proceeded to give a homily in which he ripped into the congregation for our lack of charity.
    I don’t know, I thought that was relevant.

  2. I observed the televised Mass from the Nat’l. Basilica, Midnight, Todd and noticed that about three communicants knelt. Didn’t seem to throw the ministers distributing off one iota, nor upset either the people behind them or the Nuncio. I also noticed the vast majority of habited sisters received in the hand from those shown, just incidentally mentioned. Those appearing to receiving on the tongue would likely be called the usual suspects, elderly and youngish families and women with mantillas affixed.
    Some communicants knelt afterwards, others remained standing. No one complained, but the Shrine’s “ushers” do have an imposing presence.
    Seemed all quite normal.
    Oh, and the most obvious external sign of “unity”? Hardly anyone joined in singing the Communion hymn/carol.

  3. Todd says:

    “Didn’t seem to throw the ministers distributing off one iota, nor upset either the people behind them or the Nuncio.”

    Of this I have no doubt. But unity is determined by more than a lack of disruption. The GIRM suggests there’s a higher standard. Now, granted, I’m not going to bat for uniformity as a prime liturgical virtue, unlike some of the so-called usual suspects. However, the Church does seem to single out the time during the distribution of Communion. So I’d like to throw it out there for pastors and the “usual suspects”: is Communion time this important, or not?

  4. I know that your response wasn’t necessarily aimed my way, Todd, but what exactly are you envisioning that manifests “a higher standard”?
    And beyond that without having to parce out what “communion” means, are we to presume that an imposition (pardon pun) of some external, outward sign would be received and genuinely inculcated by world wide catholicism?

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