GIRM 352: The Choice of the Mass and Its Parts

GIRM’s Chapter VII covers “The Choice of the Mass and Its Parts,” numbered sections 352 through 367. As we’ve seen in other liturgical documents, the priest is called to sacrifice his own preferences and elevate the “spiritual good” of the laity.

352. The pastoral effectiveness of a celebration will be greatly increased if the texts of the readings, the prayers, and the liturgical chants correspond as aptly as possible to the needs, the preparation, and the culture of the participants. This will be achieved by appropriate use of the many possibilities of choice described below.

In the days ahead, we’ll carefully discuss the possibilities laid out in this chapter.

Hence in arranging the celebration of Mass, the Priest should be attentive rather to the common spiritual good of the People of God than to his own inclinations. He should also remember that choices of this kind are to be made in harmony with those who exercise some part in the celebration, including the faithful, as regards the parts that more directly pertain to them.

This was the way I was trained as a liturgist, from my days as an undergraduate in a Newman Center. The good of the people is always primary.

Since, indeed, many possibilities are provided for choosing the different parts of the Mass, it is necessary for the Deacon, the readers, the psalmist, the cantor, the commentator, and the choir to know properly before the celebration the texts that concern each and that are to be used, and it is necessary that nothing be in any sense improvised. For harmonious ordering and carrying out of the rites will greatly help in disposing the faithful for participation in the Eucharist.

Are meetings necessary? They might seem essential in some communities. Nothing substitutes for good organization of liturgy in context of a bigger plan.

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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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5 Responses to GIRM 352: The Choice of the Mass and Its Parts

  1. Carlitos says:

    I wonder how meaty, beefy and juicy this thread might become….

    the Priest should be attentive rather to the common spiritual good of the People of God than to his own inclinations.

    Extracting from that a notion that there exists a primary deference to whatever “the good of the people” might consist of could prove a stretch. The Occam’s Razor explanation could suggest the simpler “Do the red, say the black” as prescribed under the presumptive wisdom of the Church, much as MD’s think “First, do no harm.” So, Fr. Grumpy mumbling through his 35 minute Sunday Mass maximum, gas n go liturgy is just as verboten as Fr. Live at the Improv.
    To your last question- meetings for what? Too little, too much poinsettias? Flowing billows of fabric streaming along the ceiling line of the nave versus banners that have alien-like figures illustrating salvation history? Who’s chanting the Easter Proclamation? Which ethnic choir gets the primo location in the multicultural Vigil?
    Last liturgical meeting I ever attended was for OLOGuadalupe, and it was chaired by our (native) Mexican vicar. The very first agenda item was about pan dulce, who’s in charge? Who’s gonna make sure the recipe is acceptable, yada…..that took 45 minutes.
    Gracias para los todos, but the Gringo’s got another appointment, adios.

  2. Todd says:

    Um, this post is about the choice of texts. Readings, where there are options. Eucharistic Prayers. Votive Masses. Not about peripherals.

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