An interesting question from India on a seeming imbalance between a half-hour Liturgy of the Word and a six-minute Eucharist. This, on the Zenit web page, the liturgy feature of the week. Fr McNamara’s response is mostly good, suggesting not using Eucharistic Prayer II, singing the Mass ordinary (which I think nearly every American parish does these days) and also utilizing more candles and incense. And this good bit of advice for clergy:
(T)he priest should strive to overcome the routine that can creep into frequently proclaimed prayers and make each Mass an authentic encounter with God. Pope Pius XI (1922-1939) once told someone newly ordained that he hoped that the priest’s first Mass would be the least fervent of his life. The Holy Father was not thus promoting priestly mediocrity but challenging the young cleric to seek ever increasing fervor in celebrating the inestimable gift of the Eucharist.
This is excellent advice, I think. It probably applies well to musicians and other lay ministers at the Mass. I’ll have to incorporate it into my liturgical training, especially for Communion ministry.
Speaking of Communion ministry, I’d like to take a few words to promote a certain mindfulness about distributing the Eucharist. I do see a few clergy who are very speedy when it comes to serving the Body of Christ. This is needless. While I think it’s okay for a Communion minister to get into a “zone,” it seems very inadequate to make it an assembly line routine. There should be enough time for each communicant to bow gracefully before receiving, and I don’t mean bowing to the person ahead of them in line. The clergy set the tone for other lay people, and when they note priests taking their time, they are reassured they can be reverent as well.