Over the coming weeks, we will continue to explore the liturgical principles which underpin our work in the Church Renewal Process. A fortnight ago, we began to look at the first principle, namely:
The whole Body of Christ celebrates the liturgy
We discussed previously how the liturgy is an action of Christ and the Church. All the people who gather together to celebrate form the Body of Christ and are called to participate fully, consciously and actively in the celebration.
We might understand this, and even believe that this sense of all the Church celebrating the liturgy is achieved at Sunday Mass. There are other times, however, when this seems to be a greater challenge.
Just like the Eucharist, all the other sacraments and rites are celebrations of Christ and the Church. Yet, when these celebrations occur at times when most of the parish isn’t present (Sunday afternoon, or a weekday morning, for example), there can be a perception that it is a “private” celebration. This is especially the case at celebrations such as weddings, where many of the liturgical preparations are made by the families involved, and invitations and guest lists are prepared.
The Second Vatican Council was very clear in stating that none of the Church’s liturgical celebrations are ever private. The challenge for us as a community then, is twofold. Firstly, we need to be confident as a parish in fulfilling our responsibilities in these liturgical celebrations. Are our parish liturgical ministers involved in areas such as music and art and environment, for example? Secondly, we need to support those families directly involved in weddings, funerals, baptisms, confirmations and the like; inviting them into our community and assuring them that their “special day” is not only an occasion of great joy for them, but one of great joy for us all.