Carmel Bulletin, 29 October 2013
In the celebration of Mass the faithful form a holy people, a people of God’s own possession and a royal priesthood, so that they may give thanks to God and offer the unblemished sacrificial Victim not only by means of the hands of the Priest but also together with him and so that they may learn to offer their very selves. They should, moreover, take care to show this by their deep religious sense and their charity toward brothers and sisters who participate with them in the same celebration.
General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), article 95
When we come together to celebrate Mass, a number of people contribute to the celebration by serving in a ministerial role. They may proclaim the Scriptures, lead the music or assist with the distribution of Communion. Yet it is easy to forget that there is a much larger group of ministers participating each time we gather.
The assembly or congregation itself fulfils an important role. “The celebration of the Eucharist is the action of Christ and of the Church” (GIRM 91, emphasis added), which involves every one of us. Celebrating the Mass is not solely the task of the priest, or of those who serve the community in a particular way. All of us are called to full, conscious and active participation in the liturgy.
This requires some effort and understanding on our part. We all need to understand what we are doing when we celebrate Mass, and commit ourselves to doing it well.
To help us all to understand this more fully, we have set aside a weekend at the end of next month when we will celebrate Sunday Mass, guided by brief explanations of the various rites of the Mass and our role within them. While pausing for these explanations during Mass will seem unusual, we hope they will benefit us all and deepen our understanding. More information will be provided in the coming weeks.