I think I have a better notion of what the celebration of Mass was like in the mid-60s. I’ve been peeking here and there at bits of livestreaming from across the Catholic world. We’ve completed two weekends of my parish’s “soft” reopening.
Every diocese has different regulations and recommendations, so it’s a patchwork of good liturgy, well-intentioned fumbles, and the occasional bad idea. In just the past month, I’ve witnessed Masses mostly without music as parishioners return. One of the semi-retired priests at my parish has resurrected Memorial Acclamations A and B from the 1970/75 Roman Missal for recitation. I am sure he’s used to music at all times for the post-consecration texts. We music ministers know MR3. The clergy? Sometimes, well …
I suggested sheets for the Creed and especially the Gloria for my parish. The former is pretty much familiar ground. The latter has rarely, if ever, been “recited” here. Certainly not on my watch. I noticed one priest in a livestreaming Mass get hung up on the very first line jumping into “peace to his people on Earth,” and losing the entire assembly from there. Good liturgists anticipate train wrecks. We’ve been at the helm, in the dining car, and even tied to the tracks. So we know.
I was thinking that the experience of the sixties might have been less a matter of malice, and probably more one of people being nudged from long-standing patterns. I’ve seen in other parishes and my own, liturgy people–clergy, ministers, and assembly–uprooted from their accustomed practices. They are in a new land. Unfamiliar. Disconcerting. And the leadership is sometimes going by feel. Honestly: we have no idea what’s ahead. (If you do, please email me.)
My archbishop has issued a pastoral letter on the Eucharist. One of the aims is to tighten up liturgical practices over the next several months. I can’t say this is the right time, but I do think his premise of the importance of the Sacrament is spot on. One of the loosenings I’ve noticed at my own parish is the new instinct to stand for the Eucharistic Prayer after the Sanctus. It happened for the second week in a row at our livestreaming Mass. I think it’s innocent. We don’t have theological revolutionaries in the pews–far from it. But people here are conditioned to sing the Holy. When they finish singing, they kneel. When they don’t sing, the circuit is broken.
Another curious thing with our good deacons: without the sung Gospel Acclamation, they wonder about when to rise to read. My boss asked me to play something after the New Testament reading to, in my words, “fix” the circuit.
Anybody else seeing new, innocent, and even amusing things? I don’t mention the flubs to out my own parish or someone else’s. I doubt the Liturgical Police will care much about these missteps. And if they do, they probably need to get a mask and a life.