Gladhanding at Mass

As I wind down blogging on this site, I thought I’d touch on some last topics. Long-time readers likely know my opinions on liturgical burps such as applause, percussion instruments, and lay ministries. So there may be a handful of topics that get some repeat attention this month. And something new, at least today.

We have four semi-retired part-time priests serving my parish. Lots of liturgical things have great variety in practice. The Sign of Peace is one of them. One priest mentions “briefly” when he announces “permission” to exchange peace. But given he’s in many ways typically Filipino, that just means the mean for most American parishes. Our pastor emeritus always comes to exchange peace with the choir.

At my last parish, it was more-or-less a practice for music ministers not to shake, hug, or kiss one another, but go out into the pews. That remains my practice in the new place. I greet pewfolk in my proximity. When I get back to the choir, I just bow. It seems more seemly than shaking five to twenty hands.

A few things …

Public activities in church send a message. People watch. I’m a skeptic on musicians keeping to themselves. We have enough of a challenge to encourage people to join up; they don’t need to see closed groups on public display. Sometime soon I’ll be encouraging my musical charges to get out a bit. After the warm-up prayer in the practice room–that’s a good time to exchange peace. During Mass, let it spread.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Gladhanding at Mass

  1. Reel says:

    We have a separate (right or wrong) room for the tabernacle. So, the sanctuary has become a parish hall of sorts even though we have not one but two parish halls! Being a long time active parishioner, I am known to many, so when I walk in people wave me over to talk, or say hi as I walk along the aisle. When I return from communion I keep my head down, but it would look weird for me to walk in face down. So, I just go with the flow.
    And regarding the sign of peace, it’s a free for all, peace signs, hugs, out in the aisles, the choir goes into the pews to kiss and hug their families, etc, etc. It takes a while to settle down. I don’t think it’s bad to witness all that confusing joy!

  2. IMO
    The KoP is simply an accretion, an appendage of dubious merit. That said, I don’t wish for its demise for those who are, ahem, attached.
    It is also more extraneous than the Universal Prayer, another targeted accretion.

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