Monday, January 01, 2007

Liturgical Renewal

I've got a new mission.

The Winnipeg Archdiocese is undergoing what our bishop has termed "Liturgical Renewal." I'm hoping against hope that this isn't just another euphemism for watering down Catholic beliefs & practices.

As I've written about before, a previous venture into the realm of reform by Catholics in Canada's West has resulted in the near-absolute disappearance of kneeling at the consecration during Mass.

So when our previous priest announced this Liturgical Renewal initiative this spring, I was at once excited and concerned. After all, nobody ever starts a renewal process without an end goal in mind. So our bishop, James Weisgerber, Ph.L, S.T.L, D.D, must have some sort of ideal result in mind.

A committee with members from each parish has been formed, and I'm sure they're open to input from all sectors of the Church. So I call on all my local readers to compose a letter to the committee, encouraging them to retain kneeling as an act of solemn worship and reverence:

Catholic Centre
attn: Liturgical Renewal Committee
1495 Pembina Highway
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3T 2C6

[Feel free to mention the late John Paul II's wish that everybody would take time to kneel in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, in his apostolic letter MANE NOBISCUM DOMINE.]

Far be it from me to be a single-issue monkey, however. From where I stand, we need significant renewal in terms of our music ministries. Too often musicians are positioned in a location of prominence in the church, and thus their service becomes more of a performance than an act of worship. More focus needs to be put on selecting appropriate individuals to lead and participate in the music ministry; we shouldn't just pick somebody with a music degree or a modicum of talent on the mouth harp. We also need to ensure our musicians are spending adequate time in prayerful preparation.

This is our chance to build up the Church as a place of worship, communion, fidelity, and service - let's take advantage of it.


  1. One might hope that the International Eucharistic Congress coming to Canada in 2008 might result in a decline in the trend towards standing during the consecration. From all that I've seen and heard so far about it, the congress seems to be aimed at renewing respect and reverence for Christ's prescence in the Eucharist, and I would find that continual insistence on standing during consecration to be quite a contradiction to the aims of the Eucharistic Congress. At CCO's new years Rise Up confence in Quebec City, whose aim it was to prepare the road for the Eucharistic Congress, I would hope that the Bishops and Cardinal in attendance were not unmoved by the young people's (nearly 500 from across Canada) willingness to kneel down in the snow (while wearing dress clothing, no less) in reverence as the Eucharist was processed through the streets of Old Quebec. Similarly, as the Bishops and Cardinals said mass before us, I would hope that they noticed our insistence on kneeling, despite the lack of kneelers, during the consecration. Something that struck me now as I think about it, is that all the young people, despite being from various dioceses from across Canada, knelt together in one fluid motion for the consecration, not in the half-undecided way you often see when one group of people kneels and the rest reluctantly follow. Clearly, there is a desire among the young people to respect and revere Christ's presence in the Eucharist, and I pray that the Bishops across Canada will take notice and begin to restore, rather than diminish, the reverence and honor due to Chirst the King.

  2. One presumes this liturgical renewal was part of the report he sent on to Rome in advance of his ad limina visit, so I do hope he and the author of The Spirit of the Liturgy had a good heart to heart chat during their visit.

    In any case, he knows the apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist is on the way. I pray that we'll have lots of good ammunition in that document.

  3. While I agree that standing is a sign of respect, I prefer to kneel in adoration of the blessed sacrament.

    Physical posturing isn't as important as the posture in one's own heart, that much is true; I stand all day, and kneel so little. When I kneel, I am being extra reverant.


  4. One of the beautiful things about being Catholic is that the whole self is involved in worship. As a Protestant, I only needed to repent from my sins in the silence of my heart; as a Catholic I must speak them aloud. Our sacraments involve our physical senses - that's what makes them sacramental.

    Therefore while conceding that God does indeed prefer inner reverence to mere outward shows, if the outward show reflects the true inner attitude, we are partaking of the mystery of God in a much more incarnate way. That is how he came to us, and that is how we should respond to him.


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