Liturgy of the Word Do-Over

On facebook I heard from a friend from my Michigan State days (1993-95). What do you make of this experience from the Sunday before last?

I am teaching for a year in France and today at Ste Jeanne d’Arc church one block from my apartment, we had five readings at mass because someone put the wrong book on the lectern, (when the priest read the wrong gospel, there was serious conversation for about 30 seconds among the assembly). Later, I needed to head out of church early, so after the prayers of the people, I walked quietly towards the back of the church, and set off the lights which I now know are on motion detector. I thought you might enjoy that little scene.

I was at a daily Mass once where the priest skipped the preface (and the people the Sanctus). As a result, as the institution narrative unfolded, unpreluded with song, and the assembly dropped to its knees one by one as they realized where they were in the Ordo Missae.

It’s a good question for the Sunday Scriptures. If you read the wrong ones, do you stop and do it over with the right ones? Do you shrug and continue on?

Another time the Book of Gospels was bookmarked incorrectly and the priest began, “A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew. Jesus said to his disciples … this is the wrong gospel.” A good round of chuckles preceded a page turn and the right reading. If you’re gonna make a mistake, catch it early.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Liturgy of the Word Do-Over

  1. I was at a Mass a few years ago presided by a 97-year old retired priest. It was a missional-outpost sort of thing without access to everything we would have liked. He presided from memory and read the Gospel passage from a Bible one of the mission team members brought. It was a study Bible. When the priest read the study notes instead of the passage, we listened obediently until he put it down. No one said a thing.

    We should prepare and we should do our best, but Jesus turned over the church to people. Our mistakes will always be with us. Make them and move on.

  2. MJM says:

    My favorite Gospel error ever was during Lent one year when the Priest began reading, realized he was on the wrong Gospel (the previous week), flipped pages and changed Gospels mid sentence.

    “So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. (mad flipping)… and then he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him,…”

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