October 4th

As Mass begins, the priest leads the people in making the Sign of the Cross.  As mentioned in previous articles, the Sign of the Cross is a prayer that should be done reverently and purposefully.  We all trace a cross over ourselves as the celebrant invokes the three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity and then the entire congregation responds: “Amen.”

Again and again during Mass the word “amen” is repeated.  This word comes to us in English from a Hebrew word, which simply means: “it is so”.  “Amen” is an expression of assent.  By together saying “amen” we make the prayer, which the priest has prayed to God on our behalf, our own.  The priest-celebrant is there to lead us in prayer, but those in the congregation are not mere bystanders or spectators; we all participate in the liturgy by attentively listening to the prayers of the Mass and by making the appropriate responses.  When we add our ‘amen’, we voice our concurrence with the prayer that was just offered to the Lord.

After the Second Vatican Council, there was a lot of talk of the need for the “active participation” of the faithful during the liturgy.  There are many more areas today where the laity can be involved at Mass, e.g. as lectors, extra-ordinary ministers of Holy Communion, etc.

Vatican II did call for more “active participation”, but we do not necessarily have to be physically doing something at Mass in order to actively participate.  If you feel called to serve in a particular ministry at the Mass, you should call the office and the office staff can help put you in touch with those in charge of the various ministries.

Volunteering for the various ministries is a good and praiseworthy way to be involved in our Faith.  But do not feel that it is the only way to actively participate in the Mass.  We can and should participate at every Mass and at each and every part of the Mass: by actively listening to the prayers and the readings.  By being engaged interiorly, we offer a pleasing sacrifice of praise to our Lord.

God bless,

Father White

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