Tuesday, January 5, 2010

No Gum Chewing in Church!

A Filipino bishop has issued guidelines to his people and priests asking that certain courtesies be observed in church.  First, he asks the people to refrain from chewing gum and using cellphones.  While this may seem to be common sense, I know that I have seen people going up to receive Holy Communion while chewing gum.  I don't even want to think about how they manage that.

Once, a woman who was sitting behind me at Mass called a friend on her cell phone, asking her to move to the front of the church to sit with her.  There is no lack of selfish behavior in our society and it can't help but wash over into the celebration of the liturgy.  As often as possible, I try to attend the earliest Mass with the least distractions.  This doesn't always work, and I try to remember my own shortcomings instead of getting annoyed by those around me, but this doesn't always work, either.

Another guideline issued by the Bishop Villegas of the Phillipines was that choirs and musicians should view music as a means to unite the congregation in song and not as a performance.  I remember reading about an incident that happened with Placido Domingo, the famed tenor, in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.  Maestro Domingo was to sing the Panis Angelicus.  Prior to the Mass he was asked to sing at the lectern by the altar.  He responded that, no, he would sing from the choir loft.  This was his prayer, not his performance.  Bravo!

I have to cut myself off soon, or else this post is going to turn into a list of my pet liturgical peeves (if it hasn't already).  But, I find it very distracting when a lector or a "leader of song" waves their arms about to indicate when the people should chime in.  Normally, an appropriate pause or introduction is clear enough for the congregation to know their turn.  The arm waving becomes very distracting.

And, finally, Bishop Villegas asks his priests to keep the altar linens clean, the sacred vessels polished and the overall beauty and cleanliness of the church maintained.  'Nuff said!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
Take a moment and visit the MOSJ website.