My boss asked me to craft an announcement for the beginning of Mass. It tags to the welcome of newcomers and visitors and the stand-and-greet we encourage before the first song. It goes something like this:
We are aware of the concern many have for spreading possible contagion. A reminder that any of us has the option, now or at the sign of peace, to simply offer a kind word, make eye contact, smile, and/or bow to your neighbor. With that in mind, let us stand and greet those nearby.
I noticed this feature at the NCReg on diocesan directives. Aware that reporters don’t always get the details right, a few comments on the various practices:
- It is not licit to omit the Rite of Peace. One need not make physical contact, but the person-to-person exchange cannot be lawfully suspended by leaders. Individuals can certainly choose to keep arms folded, refrain from eye contact and such, but that is not in keeping with the spirit of the Catholic liturgy.
- I noticed that Ms Roberts reported that one diocese has directed cleansing and frequent refilling of holy water dishes. No mention anywhere of the need for clean door handles and push bars. Preferably, ushers would be opening most every door for parishioners.
- Some places are suggesting a wave. Really? That’s about the most superficial possible alternative. Bowing with preliminary eye contact seems better. Gesturing with one or both hands without touching–not bad.
- I can imagine if athletic events included disclaimers for fans to refrain from high-fives, hugs, or including saliva in their yells of support or displeasure. Does that say something about the predominance of the religion of American sport? Maybe not. Maybe just priorities.
- Aren’t Catholic adults mature enough to determine for themselves what practices they will embrace and what they will omit? Do we have some room to grow up on this?