Liturgy Update | Norms for the Celebration of the Eucharist

Sacred Silence

Recently Bishop Burbidge promulgated a document titled “Norms For the Celebration of the Eucharist in the Diocese of Arlington” with a desire that they will aid reverent and fruitful worship. At Nativity we already comply with almost all of the guidelines offered by the Bishop. We will begin a column in the bulletin highlighting sections of the norms as an updating and enrichment for our appreciation of the celebration of the Eucharist and during the next few weeks make some minor changes to strengthen the life giving and beautiful liturgical life of the parish.

In the section “Preparing For the Mass,” the following is suggested for our consideration:

Sacred silence prior to Mass is essential to foster right dispositions and to respond more effectively to the work of Christ in the liturgy. When the faithful assemble, a natural extension of human friendships to greet one another, and this dynamic in the life of the church is invaluable in forming the community of the faithful. However, whenever possible, this friendly exchange should take place outside the nave and sacristy. Thus, laity and clergy are able to have quiet space to prepare for liturgical worship. When appropriate, simple soft instrumental or choral music may be used to foster prayer prior to Mass. Rehearsal of musicians or other liturgical rehearsals should be scheduled so as to allow adequate time before Mass for the People of God to enter into prayer before the liturgy begins. Parish announcements should be made after the Prayer after communion, rather than before Mass.

In light of these norms, I would ask that at Nativity we strive to provide quiet 15 minutes before Mass begins, which means all rehearsals should be concluded. Then, 5 minutes before Mass, soft instrumental or choral music may be used. Beginning the weekend of Sunday Masses, September 1, announcements will be made after the Prayer after Communion. The lector will read them from the side podium near the choir.

Many thanks, Fr. Bob Cilinski

Original Feast Day

We continue our reflection on Bishop Burbidge’s recent document on the Celebration of the Eucharist with the desire that it will aid reverent and fruitful worship.

“The celebration of the Eucharist is the” summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows”. God invites all His people to come near to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, so that, by the power of the Holy Spirit,they should be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all. In order to respond to His invitation more effectively and in order to receive His grace more abundantly, the faithful are called to nurture proper dispositions for the celebration of the Eucharist. It is cultivated through regular prayer. Regular prayer in public liturgy, in the domestic church (that is, the family), in secret, nurtures ones relationship with the Lord. The faithful are encouraged to take part in such prayer as the Liturgy of the Hours, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, study of Scripture, examination of conscience, the Holy Rosary and prayers in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and private daily prayer.

As the faithful prepare for the liturgy, they are to be mindful that “the Church’s custom shows that it is necessary for each person to examine himself at depth.” In accordance with the Code of Cannon Law, a “person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the body of the Lord without previous  sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to make an act of perfect contrition and then confess as spoon as possible.” The faithful are also reminded of fasting of one hour before the time of receiving Holy Communion.

All the faithful should dress appropriately for the liturgy. This attention to dress should be notable on Sunday, the “original feast day”, that takes “its origin from the very day of Christ’s resurrection. The integrity of the Eucharistic celebration requires that the faithful take part in the entire liturgy. Thus the faithful should arrive with sufficient time to prepare themselves before the liturgy and stay until the Final Blessing, Dismissal,and usually the Recessional song.”

Let me just say that I am so pleased that we, at Nativity, are a celebrating community of reverence, joy and love. The participation of everyone in the prayers, the singing and responses gives life to all. The spirit of welcome, compassion, and generosity to the poor is inspiring. Keep it up!

Fr. Bob

The Importance of Singing

We are so blessed at Nativity to have outstanding music and choirs … the Children’s Choir, Teen Youth Choir, Adult and Family Choirs, both in English and Spanish. We know and sing a variety of hymns including traditional,contemporary and praise selections. Chant is sung on occasion such as the Kyrie and Agnus Dei which we all know by heart and we sing the Acclamations and various Psalm responses.

Great emphasis is to be given to the place of singing within the Eucharistic liturgy, as it can invite greater participation in the mysteries being celebrated and achieve unity of hearts so that the liturgy on earth may more clearly prefigure the heavenly liturgy.

The Christian faithful who come together as one in expectation of the Lord’s coming are instructed by the Apostle Paul to sing together “Psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles”( Acts 2:46) Thus St. Augustine says rightly, “Singing is for one who loves” and there is also an ancient proverb ” Whoever sings well prays twice over”.

Fr. Bob

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