Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Understanding What You Do At Liturgy of the Mass

Catholic Liturgy is the public and official worship of  God by the Church, as distinct from personal spiritual practices.  Liturgy comprises the Mass, the sacraments and the daily office. The Pope, speaking of the Eucharist, said that it is "the center and permanent source of the Petrine ministry, the heart of the Christian life, source and summit of the Church’s mission of evangelization." It is the public work of the Church to which we are called to participate  weekly.

The Catholic Times' editorial this week brings our attention to the recent  founding of the Liturgical Institute which will try to educate our Catholics to a mature understanding of the liturgy. In our teaching of the catechism liturgy has not been given the importance that it should have. The teaching has three phases: giving witness to the words and teaching  of Christ in our life and actions, following our Lord by being the salt and light of the world, and participating fully in the liturgy. We have this presented to us in The Acts: "They devoted themselves to the  apostles' instruction and the communal life, to  the breaking of bread and the prayers"(2:42).

The editorial tells us that many Catholics feel they know what the liturgy is all about, but this is usually a superficial understanding of the rites and not their meaning. The hope is that the Liturgical Institute will provide a new way of making liturgical life a daily reality.
The Institute describes its mission in the following ways: To promote and develop liturgical learning, to give life to liturgical practices in the parishes, to deepen our liturgical spirituality, to publish and translate books on liturgy, to work to have some uniformity in the words we use, to begin a school on liturgy, and to recruit future members--all part of the dream of the Institute.  They have their own Internet  site and will continue to develop this along with many other possibilities.

The first president of the Institute, in his interview with the Peace Weekly, gave as the  reason for starting the institute: "Catholics know something about the externals of the liturgy but not the  meaning, which is sad. The reality  today is that those attending Masses do not find it a joy but a burden; this I want to change. I want to help our Christians to participate with enthusiasm."

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