Our Liturgy Committee focuses attention on the preparation, coordination, and facilitation of meaningful Masses and other liturgical celebrations here at St. Joseph’s Parish. During the wholesome and celebratory seasons of Advent and Christmas, it is especially important for the Priest-Celebrant and the Community of the Faithful to engage “dialogically” at Holy Mass, as together we give praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God.
The liturgical directives in the General Instruction to the Roman Missal indicate that certain acclamations belong solely to the Faithful. These include the singing or recitation of the Mystery of Faith, the Great Amen, the conclusion of the Our Father (“for the Kingdom the power and the glory …), and the Lamb of God. The Priest-Celebrant is directed to sing or recite the Holy, Holy, Holy (the Sanctus) and the “Lord I am not worthy …” with the people. Because there are responses and acclamations at Holy Mass that belong to the people, for the priest to say or sing them as well diminishes the dialogical and shared responsibility intended by the Sacred Liturgy.
In recited Masses (common at daily Mass), where the Mystery of Faith is not sung, someone needs to both signal and begin the reply for the people. This is because there are several options, and the people have no way of knowing which one to use. Thus, most Priests answer their own call for the Faithful’s response by saying the acclamation in part –i.e., saying a few opening words and then stopping as the people continue. At the Lamb of God, too, there is often the need for the Priest to get the people started. In sung Masses, however, it is ideal for the acclamations to be sung only by the people and led by a music minster.
Wishing you a blessed Advent Season as we set straight our paths and prepare our hearts for the Lord’s coming – both prayerfully, liturgically, and dialogically!
Fr. John Mahoney