Let’s Get Going

Some people are really eager to leave Mass quickly.

It’s hardly surprising.  If the Mass is celebrated well, and if we are able to participate fully, consciously and actively during it, then we will be so inspired by the word proclaimed in the Scriptures, and so deeply nourished by Christ’s own body and blood in the Eucharist, that we can’t help wanting to leave.

Bishop Anthony Fisher OP celebrating Confirmation at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 2014.  Photo © 2014 Alphonsus Fok, 3.2.1 Photography
Bishop Anthony Fisher OP celebrating Confirmation at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 2014. Photo © 2014 Alphonsus Fok, 3.2.1 Photography

The Concluding Rites of the Mass are very short, but very important.  The Priest blesses us and tells us to go.  It’s not, however, a “hurry up and get going, because I have to lock the church and the football’s on TV.”  The words of the dismissal are clear.  We are sent forth to carry out the mission of Jesus.  The Mass strengthens us in our ability to do this, week in, week out.  The Priest then leads us out of the church to go eagerly and joyfully to do this work.

Although a hymn is often sung here, the Missal doesn’t even suggest one.  The Missal’s final directions regarding the end of Mass are:

Then the Priest venerates the altar as usual with a kiss, as at the beginning. After making a profound bow with the ministers, he withdraws.  (Roman Missal, Order of Mass, no. 145)

The intention is that we follow the Priest’s directions and go immediately to be the Body of Christ to others.  While a hymn may be appropriate on some occasions, it is certainly not essential or expected.

That doesn’t mean, however, that people shouldn’t stay behind to pray, or to have a cup of tea or coffee and chat with friends and parishioners after Mass.  This is a very immediate way of putting the words of the dismissal into practice, sustaining our faith outside the Mass through personal prayer and displaying Christian charity.  That same charity may also move us to do specific things to care for others who require our help, such as driving home other parishioners who cannot get themselves to Mass, or taking Communion to the Sick.

So if you are eager to leave Mass as soon as it’s finished, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Just make sure you let the procession go first, to lead us in continuing to live out Christ’s mission.  After all, this is why you’re leaving quickly, isn’t it?  It surely has nothing to do with trying to get out of the car park first!

Communion of the Sick

Carmel Bulletin, 15 June 2014

Communion of the SickLast week, Fr Paul wrote about the small change that will occur to the sending forth of ministers taking Communion to the sick.  This change comes into effect next weekend.

The intention is that this sending forth of ministers will now form a part of the blessing and dismissal rites at the end of Mass.  We are all sent forth at the end of Mass to be the Body of Christ to our brothers and sisters and we, as a community, send forth those ministers to go out into the world to serve in a particular way.

It is important that those taking Communion to the sick participate in this rite, and be entrusted with the Eucharist at the end of the Mass, rather than coming to request Communion from the tabernacle afterwards.  There may be rare occasions where this is unavoidable.  The practice of being sent forth from the Mass, however, is to be the norm in our parish.

The practice of calling the ministers forward to receive Communion for the sick is not about drawing attention to those ministers.  Rather, it is about drawing our attention to those who they will visit.  We all have a responsibility to keep the sick and housebound of our parish in our thoughts and prayers.  We should take the time to enquire occasionally about their ongoing health and offer support and assistance.  Finally, we have a duty to ensure that we support those who care for the sick, and keep them in our thoughts and prayers as well.

Ministry to the Sick

Carmel Bulletin, 8 June 2014

An important aspect of our pastoral care of each other is prayer for and outreach to our fellow parishioners who are unwell.Communion of the Sick

It is heartening to see that many parishioners are certainly mindful of others who are unwell and assiduous in commending them to our prayers.  A number of parishioners also take Holy Communion to those who are unwell.  At times, spouses or other family members perform this service for each other.  In other cases, a parishioner functions as a “Special Minister of the Eucharist” and takes Holy Communion to the sick who request it.  Please be aware that either means of taking the Eucharist to the sick is appropriate and encouraged.  If you would like to know more about providing the Eucharist to a sick family member or fellow parishioner, please speak about it to one of the Priests in the first instance.

It is most desirable that those who take the Eucharist to the sick are seen to do so as an extension of the community’s celebration of the Eucharist and are commissioned by the worshipping community, through the Priest, at the end of Mass.  This is why we have a special commissioning of Ministers of the Eucharist to the Sick at the end of Mass.  To emphasise the link between the worshipping community’s celebration of the Eucharist and the taking of the Eucharist to the sick after Mass, we will be slightly repositioning when this commissioning takes place.  Beginning from the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (the special feast in honour of the Eucharist) on the weekend of 21 & 22 June, Special Ministers of the Eucharist to the Sick will be commissioned after the Notices and the Prayer after Communion (rather than before, as is currently the case) – and immediately before the Final Blessing and Dismissal.  These Ministers will be invited to process from the Church with the Priest and servers, as a way of symbolising that they are taking Holy Communion to the Sick as an extension of the community’s celebration of the Eucharist.

Fr Paul