Has there been a change to how Mass is celebrated?

The Second Vatican Council introduced major liturgical reforms after the Second Vatican Council and a new edition of the Roman Missal was published in 1970. In the Third Edition of the New Roman Missal published in 2011, the major changes were to the liturgical texts while much of the celebration of the Mass remained the same.

Sep 07, 2018

Dear Editor,
I would like to know if there are changes in the way Mass is being celebrated.

I participated at a Mass recently where the priest virtually sang the whole Mass, including the gospel.

As a cradle Catholic, I have been worshipping at Mass in the traditional way and wholeheartedly accept that parts of the Mass are sung, usually by the congregation, while prayers are recited during the other parts of the Mass.

I am not against changes but I find that a priest singing virtually the whole Mass is not what I wish to hear when I come for Mass and I wish to know if this is the new norm.

The other reason is that reciting a prayer is much faster than singing it. In an urban church scene where parking is terribly limited, parishioners sometimes double park and the church should be mindful to keep Mass within the hour for obvious reasons.

I noticed that some churches make the announcements during collection just to save time.

May I hear what the diocese thinks?

“Prayerful”
Via Email

RESPONSE: The Second Vatican Council introduced major liturgical reforms after the Second Vatican Council and a new edition of the Roman Missal was published in 1970. In the Third Edition of the New Roman Missal published in 2011, the major changes were to the liturgical texts while much of the celebration of the Mass remained the same.

The Instruction on Music in the Liturgy (Musicam Sacram), March 5, 1967 states the following: Article 5. Liturgical worship is given a more noble form when it is celebrated in song, with the ministers of each degree fulfilling their ministry and the people participating in it. Indeed, through this form, prayer is expressed in a more attractive way, the mystery of the liturgy, with its hierarchical and community nature, is more openly shown, the unity of hearts is more profoundly achieved by the union of voices, minds are more easily raised to heavenly things by the beauty of the sacred rites, and the whole celebration more clearly prefigures that heavenly liturgy which is enacted in the holy city of Jerusalem.

Pastors of souls will therefore do all they can to achieve this form of celebration.

They will try to work out how that assignment of different parts to be performed and duties to be fulfilled, which characterises sung celebrations, may be transferred even to celebrations which are not sung, but at which the people are present. Above all, one must take particular care that the necessary ministers are obtained and that these are suitable, and that the active participation of the people is encouraged.

Article 7. Between the solemn, fuller form of liturgical celebration, in which everything that demands singing is, in fact sung, and the simplest form, in which singing is not used, there can be various degrees according to the greater or lesser place allotted to singing. However, in selecting the parts which are to be sung, one should start with those that are, by their nature, of greater importance, and especially those which are to be sung by the priest or by the ministers, with the people replying, or those which are to be sung by the priest and people together. The other parts may be gradually added according as they are proper to the people alone or to the choir alone.

As you have rightly expressed, this is how we have perceived that Mass is to be celebrated. Due to a lack of knowledge of the liturgical wealth in its sung form, we seem to think that what we have experienced is the only way. Perhaps the priest, who is striving to be faithful to the understanding of Liturgical worship, can catechise the worshipping community to this hidden treasure.

This is not a new norm but it is new to many who have not heard a sung Mass. It takes a lot of time and effort for a priest to prepare himself to sing the entire Mass and it is laudable. I am sure that, on a Sunday, there would be a Mass that is not sung in its entirety in your parish and perhaps you can make the necessary effort to participate in that Mass.

Never let the challenges that surround you be an obstacle to time. Work around it and give God his due, even if it goes beyond an hour. Sadly, God is also subjected to time by us. God loves a cheerful giver.

Announcements are to be made at the end of the celebrations and the common place for it is after the Post-Communion Prayer.

Msgr Leonard Lexson
Chairman of the KL Archdiocese Liturgy Commission

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