This week, since there are no questions in the Liturgical Question Box, we continue our explanation of the Mass. Last we examined the procession and entrance into the sanctuary focusing on the use of incense. This week I will begin by quoting someone much smarter than I, Bishop Peter J. Elliott who has written a wonderful book entitled “Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite” Bishop Elliott says “…the celebrant makes the sign of the cross, saying or singing, “In the name of the Father…”, and then joins his hands. He opens his hands as he says or sings the liturgical greeting, and closes them at the end of the chosen formula. He does not say “Good morning”, etc, as the sacred greeting obviously includes all human sentiments of goodwill.”
After the sign of the cross and the greeting we enter the Act of Penitence. The Institutio says that there should be a brief pause in order to call to mind our sins. You may have noticed that I truly do try to pause at this time. All to often the pause seems to be hurried and not at all long enough for us to truly enter into prayer and recall that we are sinners and in need of God’s Mercy and forgiveness.
When it comes to the Penitential Rite itself there are three options. Option A is the Confiteor (I confess…). As part of this option all should strike there breast at “through my own fault.” Option B is unfortunately rarely used and therefore most Catholic are unfamiliar with it. I encourage you to pick up the Missalette and become more familiar with this option. Option C is a series of invocations followed by Kyrie Eleison... When form A or B is used the Kyrie is “sung or said in the vernacular or in Greek. Form C includes the Kyrie within it and therefore is not repeated afterward.
After the Penitential Rite, on Sundays and Solemnities, comes the Gloria. According to the Institutio “The Gloria is a very ancient and venerable hymn in which the Church, gathered together…glorifies and entreats God the Father and the lamb. The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other text.”
Next week we will continue discussing a few things about the Gloria and move on to the Collect or Opening Prayer.