Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I have been approached by a few of you asking that I send out the instructions for the change that bishop would like us to make via email. For those of you just tuning in, after going around the diocese and having been here for almost a year now, the Bishop has sent out a handful of liturgical expectations for all of his parishes.
There are five expectations that he delineated:
1) Every parish must have kneelers in the pews for people to kneel during the appropriate times, such as during the Eucharistic prayer and the after the Lamb of God.
2) Devotions and prayers that are not part of the liturgy should take place either before mass begins or after the final song so as not to confuse the faithful as to what belongs to the Liturgy and the proper celebration of the Holy Mass and what does not.
3) There should be no use of individual kneelers for the distribution of Holy Communion. The General Instruction of the Roman missal states that each bishop’s conference has the jurisdiction to decide what the norms will be for their people to receive Holy Communion. In the United States, the Conference of Bishops has decided that standing should be the norm.
4) Children should be instructed to receive Holy Communion standing for their First Communion and they should also be instructed on the option to receive Holy Communion either on the tongue or on the hand.
5) Both boys and girls should be allowed to participate in the ministry of Altar Server or Acolyte.
The two that affect us at St. Mary’s are 1) the prayers after the final blessing that we do; the St. Michael Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Invocation of St. Joseph, and 2) the kneelers used for communion.
In obedience to the bishop’s expectations, we will be doing the following to comply: We will move the prayers after the final blessing to after the final hymn. To accommodate this change, we will be adjusting the way that the celebrant and the servers exit the church. We will begin the closing hymn directly after the sending forth in peace, and the presider will genuflect during the song and turn around and process out the main aisle, the same way we entered in. Once the song is over we will pray the prayers. The main idea for the additional prayers is to take a moment to thank the Lord for the gift we have received in the Eucharist and then ask the aid of St. Michael, Our Lady and St. Joseph as we go forth to live the mystery. We will begin these changes this weekend, January 28th and 29th.
As for the kneelers for Holy Communion, we will remove them after the celebration of Candlemas (The Feast of the Presentation) on February 2nd. While it is the norm to receive standing in the United States, the Universal Norm allows one who so chooses to kneel. Even though now it will have to be on the floor, they cannot be refused Holy Communion.
May God bless you all.
Fr. Peter Wigton
Explanation of Changes to the Mass per Bishop Walsh’s Request