Many hands will be raised in prayer Catholics to change Communion ritual
David Briggs Plain Dealer Religion Reporter
Raising their hands at "The Lord's Prayer." Losing the handshake and embracing the person in the next seat at the sign of peace. In an extra act of reverence, bowing before receiving the Communion host. And undoing a lifetime of tradition by not kneeling in prayer after Communion. Instead, in a sign of the communal nature of the sacrament, worshippers will stand and sing until each person has received Communion.
American Catholics are about to experience major changes in the Communion rite as dioceses begin implementing updated General Instruction of the Roman Missal. In the eight-county Cleveland Catholic Diocese, about 900 parish workers gathered in Cleveland last week to learn about the changes. The region's more than 800,000 Catholics will begin hearing about the changes in their churches the last two weeks in September and receive instruction in sermons and bulletins through October and November. Bishop Anthony M. Pilla plans for the changes to be implemented in all of the diocese's 234 parishes by Nov. 30, the first Sunday of Advent.
The Rev. J-Glenn Murray, director of the diocesan Office for Pastoral Liturgy, said the changes will unsettle many Catholics, but the diocese hopes the uniform guidelines will help people in the pews have a richer experience of the sacrament.
Diocesan bishops are now putting in place the changes approved by the Vatican and then by U.S. bishops with adaptations for American culture.
"We're taking our time. We're trying to do it well," said the Rev. Michael G. Woost, who teaches liturgical and sacramental theology at St. Mary Seminary in Wickliffe.
The changes are designed to retain both the personal and social nature of the sacrament, Murray said.
Some people may consider it an infringement on their private prayer, Woost said. But "we're really not giving up anything. We're getting so much more."
Other changes include:
At the sign of peace, there is a tendency now at churches to shake hands with several nearby people. The new rite encourages people to embrace one or two people in a serious, sober gesture of reconciliation.
"The meaning of the sign of peace is not hail fellow, well met," Murray said. "It is a rite of reconciliation, of unions of minds and hearts."
In a special sign of reverence, Catholics also will be asked to bow before receiving the host that they consider the body of Christ. St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church in Mentor, a test parish for some of the changes, already has adopted the practices of bowing before the Eucharist and the raising of hands at the Our Father. Joanne M. Tadych, liturgist at St. Bede, said the changes have had a profound effect on parishioners - in particular, bowing before receiving Communion.
"It has a very calming effect. It gives you just a moment of peace to think about what you're really doing," Tadych said. "You're not just rushing through."
Congregation members said after morning Mass yesterday that they like the changes. Michael Williams, 50, said raising his hands during the Our Father "is a great way to show reverence and respect for the Lord. It's more of a sign of surrender to the Lord." Joan Kiesel, 76, said bowing before receiving Communion "is a wonderful mark of respect."
But making these two changes has not been easy. Yesterday, some parishioners prayed the Our Father with their arms at their sides or with a hybrid of clasped hands and raised arms. Murray noted that while the new practices will be the norm in all parishes, they are being presented as invitations to individuals to show the unity of the church by all sharing the same practices. He said no one will be forbidden from going back to the pew and immediately kneeling after receiving Communion. At St. Bede, people uncomfortable with raising their hands during "The Lord's Prayer" can keep their hands folded in a gesture of respect.
Church officials and parishioners said they realize changing lifelong habits will be a challenge. Kathleen Buse, 44, said she sometimes has to remember to bow at Communion time during Mass at St. Bede.
After more than 40 years of experiencing the Communion rite one way, she said, "It's a big change."
We Can Dance if We Want To
With liturgy as in life, most of us don't experiment enough. Go to a thousand masses and at least 900 of them are going to be done exactly the same. Not that that's an inherently bad thing; indeed, as I've written here before, priests mess with the prayers at their peril. And it'll sure be interesting to see how the massive changes in translation of the Mass go over next Advent.
But liturgy, as well as being a well-worn road, is also like a coal mine. It's filled with pockets of grace, waiting to be tapped. If we stop after we hit just one vein, we miss out on so many additional blessings. As I learned twice the last few months with regard to the opening procession.
There's really only one way of coming down the aisle, right? I mean, maybe you come from the side, sort of the sneak-in/sneak-out approach. But otherwise, you just wait until the music starts and get to walking.
Turns out, that's not so. Last week I was at the Religious Ed Congress in Orange County, a massive convention of Catholics from all over the world hearing talks on faith and spirituality. Super, super cool. And each evening there were liturgies in different styles -- Samoan/Pacific Islander, Celtic, Spanish, Vietnamese.
The first night, I attended the "Black Culture" liturgy, presided over by Fr. J-Glenn Murray, S.J., a liturgist renowned for his respect for the mass and his challenging depth of insight. I went mostly to hear what J-Glenn had to say; and he was good, as always. He talked about the angers that we hold on to as a sort of "leprosy of the soul", eating away at us from the inside. Really good stuff. (Here's some J-Glenn videos I found online.)
But looking back, the most profound thing to happen to me at that Mass occurred during the opening procession. Rather than simply processing in, first the deacon holding aloft the book of the Gospels and then J-Glenn actually danced up the central aisle, their movement a steady sway to the rhythm combined with fantastic 360 degree spins akin to a child imagining he is a soaring plane. It was those spins that got me, the relish of it, the sense of a joy so wonderful it has to be delighted in, expressed. More than any words could, they drew me into the Mass as a moment of celebration.
And if you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about, it's during the prayer over the cup:
Take this, all of you, and drink from it.
This is my blood, given up for you and for all
so that sins may be forgiven. The reason they're changing it: the New Testament text from which it's taken literally says "for many", not "for all". So, it's a correction.
The problem is, it sounds like we're suddenly rolling back God's plan of salvation. You know how we used to say God loves everybody, is interested in everybody, regardless of what they believe or ever did or what not? Well, now we're thinking, not so much. He'd settle with a good 30-50%.
Maybe this sounds like mountains made from mole hills. It's not. We are formed by the rites we practice. Having a fundamental portion of a rite seeming to suggest that God is not interested in all of us will impact how we think and act as a people down the line. And not for the better.
So I'm going to try to hold onto what I know to be true. This blood, given up for you, and for so many more."
Jim McDermott, S.J.
Reclaim the Vision of Vatican II
Conference to celebrate Vatican II and reclaim it's vision. Speakers include Hans Kung, Anthony Padovano, Joan Chittister, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Preconference meetings by Voice of the Faithful and Future Church. For more information, click here
National Association of Pastoral Musicians National Convention
July 18-22, 2011
"Sing a New Song" - "Sing in the words of a new English Roman Missal, sing with renewed understanding, sing with a renewed heart, spirit, and voice." Plenum speakers include: J-Glenn Murray, SJ, Kevin Irwin, Paul Ford, Jerry Galipeau, Dolly Sokol For more information, click here
Celebrating Ordinary Time
Friday September 29th 7:30 – 9:00PM and
Saturday September 30th 9:00AM – 2:30PM
St. Mary's Parish, Barrie
Rev. J-Glenn Murray, S.J., Director of the Office of Worship, Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio. Co-sponsored by the Catholic Office of Religious Education and Parishes of Simcoe County. The Simcoe Liturgy Conference is a time of communal prayer, presentations and fellowship.
Fr. J-Glenn was the keynote speaker for the 3rd Simcoe Liturgy Conference and is well known to many parishioners. Mark the date now and plan to register early. Visit the website for a brochure and registration form:http://email@example.com
Questions contact: Catherine Ecker, Office of Religious Education, Barrie. Office 705-726-2153 Fax 705-726-8195. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
After I entered the Jesuits, I got involved with the National Black Catholic Seminarians Association. We would join black priests and black religious women for conferences and we'd have Masses where everyone wore beautiful vestments and there was incense and candles, and you'd have people ... stepping! At theLamb of God, we sang Agnus Dei. But we'd also sing "This Little Light of Mine." It respected the form of the liturgy and also allowed us to bring who we were. I felt like I was in heaven.
Parishwise, St. Sabina's in Chicago, St. Bridget's in Los Angeles, and St. Augustine's in Washington, D.C. are notable places. But no one place has perfectly blended the genius of African American spirituality with the genius of the Roman rite. Several places have phenomenal music that's engaging, transfixing, transformative. Often I've been transformed at those religious experiences, but I'm not always sure it's Roman liturgy. I've also been in African American churches where it's really good Roman liturgy, but it almost seemed bloodless. So we're all on the way.
My task is to be the idealist. When Moses was leading the people of God out of the desert, these scouts ran ahead and came back saying, "I've seen the promised land and this is what is looks like!" It's the same in the church. As a liturgist, I think of myself as one of those scouts. I've seen the promised land, the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy. My task is to keep saying, "Come on! Let's go! Here's the vision."
Although I really don't think of myself this way, part of my job also is to be prophetic, to remind people of who they were.
African Americans--those who weren't raised Catholic--know what full, conscious, active participation means. Most African Americans raised Catholic do what Catholics do: "We're not supposed to engage; we're supposed to watch."
African Americans think bodies are good! You can use your body to give praise to God, and that is something sorely needed in Roman liturgy. Doesn't church shopping usually come from having had too many such experiences?
I hate saying this, but sometimes I'm astounded anyone goes to Mass. Our diocese has, I think, 243 parishes. As head of the liturgy office, I want to be able in seven years to say there are 10 places in this diocese doing liturgy very well.
What if you live in the other 233?
Hey, I can only do what I can. I've tried to do things that benefit all the parishes, but it doesn't work. For liturgy to really change, one needs to work very closely with a parish. If I want 10 places, I need to work with 10 places.
St. Sabina's Parish, Chicago, where J-Glenn says they do liturgy right.
Rev Michael Pfleger Pastor
TUESDAY, JUNE 21, 2011
A leading scholar, speakerand onetime advisor to the US bishops, one of the Stateside church's most celebrated liturgists has been "permanently removed from ministry" over a credible allegation dating to the early 1980s.
After word first emerged from Jesuit circles last week, the move against Fr J-Glenn Murray has been announced over recent days in the various apostolates where he's served over 32 years of priesthood. Ordained for the Society's Maryland Provincein 1979, Murray served for many years as worship director of the Cleveland diocese, and was most recently assigned to a parish in Washington.
The report of abuse was lodged by a young man who was one of the suspended cleric's students at Baltimore's St Frances Academy, founded by the legendary Mother Mary Lange, who began the Premier See's revered African-American community of religious women, the Oblate Sisters of Providence.
The principal crafter of Plenty Good Room -- the 1991 charter document on African-American worship released by the US bishops' Committee for the Liturgy -- news of Murray's suspension was given as follows by Fr Mark Horak, the pastor of the Jesuits' parish hub in the capital, the venerable Holy Trinity in Georgetown:
"I am very sorry to share with you the difficult news that Fr. J. Glenn Murray, S.J., who served in the Washington, D.C., area from 2007 to 2011, has been permanently removed from ministry following a credible allegation of improper touching of a minor that occurred in 1981-82 while Fr. Murray was working in Baltimore.
According to Fr. Jim Shea, Provincial of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, this is the only allegation of misconduct involving Fr. Murray that the Province has received.
An individual made an allegation against Fr. Murray to the Maryland Province in 2005. The Province immediately reported the allegation to the proper civil authorities and referred it to its own Review Board. The civil authorities told the Province that they had investigated the complaint but closed it when the individual making the complaint declined to speak with them. The Province’s Review Board conducted its own investigation through a third party investigator.
Based on the information uncovered at that time, the Board did not find the allegation credible.
This past spring, when Fr. Murray was being considered for assignment, the Province decided to conduct a second investigation. A new third party investigator hired by the Province conducted the investigation and uncovered new information.
Upon receipt of the Board’s report and recommendation, and after reviewing the entire record, Fr. Shea permanently removed Fr. Murray from all ministry. He now lives in a monitored residence with his Jesuit community.
The Province offered pastoral care to the victim when the individual first made the complaint in 2005, and the Province has renewed that offer of care and has apologized for any harm the individual has suffered.
The Maryland Province and the Jesuits at Holy Trinity assure parishioners that we are committed to the safety and wellbeing of all minors and other vulnerable persons. For further information on the Jesuits’ commitment to child protection, and for information on how to report an incident involving a Jesuit or an employee of a Jesuit work, go to: www.mdsj.org/children.html.
I ask you to join me in praying for the healing of the individual who made the complaint and who is now an adult, and for all minors and other vulnerable people who have been mistreated by Jesuits and other clergy and religious.
I also ask you to pray for J. Glenn."
Prior to the development, Murray had been slated as the keynote speaker for next month's annual convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) in Louisville.