I was speaking with a liturgist colleague recently, sharing our experiences and perceptions of the return to worship. She has found the reopening with limits to be very much wanting. I shared the same.
Certainly I understand intellectually the limits on music, numbers in the pews, and the free movement of people. Perhaps most of my parishioners understand as well. But they are also not showing up to fill every possible seat, at least in my parish.
We are approved for assemblies of up to fifty, and they told me there were only seventeen signed up for the early Mass this past Sunday. It looked it. Numbers at our three Masses have all dropped since Father’s Day weekend. We’ve had our struggles with the combo of new procedures and older clergy. Our pastor emeritus has made the new tricks, old dog remark once or twice. I think I mentioned here my boss suggested I play a festive instrumental to alert the deacons for the Gospel Procession. First weekend back we had an extra long pause after the reading from Romans.
The other day I actually entertained the thought of getting up and walking out as we headed to the Gospel. I certainly wouldn’t be missed, it seemed.
A parishioner commented to me that she missed the livestream experience if for no other reason that we got to do a full set of music and she appreciated that part of the at-home experience. She may have a point. Maybe we’ve done a better job with congregational singing to pianos and guitars than the reform2 naysayers would suggest. Alas, we are not coming back anytime soon. Cheer away, trads.