Changes to the Mass

Changes to the Mass

A reader sends in her thoughts on the liturgical changes instituted in the Archdiocese of Boston starting this week:

We received a paper outlining our parish’s “mandated changes” this week. Most are in line with the GIRM, but a couple of them are not. One is that we are not to genuflect to the Tabernacle while Mass is going on because to do so would mean that we don’t recognize that Jesus is present at Mass or at the very least it diminishes his Presence at that time. It was worded all over the place (as usual), but that is what the thing boiled down to. The other change mandated is that we will stand all at once for Communion, wait (while standing) for our turn to process down the aisle for Communion and remain standing in our pew until the last person receives and returns to his seat. Then we sit for “sacred silence.” Even my kids (ages 14 & 10) were confused and almost disgusted at this even though I did not say a word (although I knelt anyway - I did try to stand but found I could not do it.)

The first one, about genuflecting to the Tabernacle, is brand new to me. I haven’t heard anyone talk about that and suspect that it’s an innovation introduced by the pastor. It’s kind of hard to tell though since we, mere mortals, aren’t actually being given access to the actual list of changes to how we celebrate Mass. Oh sure, somebody said there was a series of articles in the diocesan newspaper The Pilot, but I don’t know anybody who actually reads that. One of the early newspaper articles about the changes said the list would be posted on the [url=][/url] web site, but nothing there yet. so how are we to know if priests are imposing their own preferences on us as mandated changes.

As for the second, that’s unfortunately true. Almost all of the other changes that have been mentioned at my parish, I can get behind, but the dumb rule about standing during Communion is too much. I’ve just received the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. I can’t kneel to receive, and now I can’t kneel after I receive it, because it’s more important that I sing with everybody else?

  • I’m afraid those of you in the Archdiocese of Boston who have been told you need to stand after Communion are being snowed. What I’d do is ask the pastor to show you where that came from. Ditto with the not genuflecting toward the Tabernacle during Mass.

    The “changes,” at least in this Archdiocese, aren’t really changes at all, with the possible exception of the congregation standing after the invitation to pray, as Mark noted. (If the people were being censed at that time, they’d be standing anyway.)


    To reverence the Body and Blood of Christ prior to receiving (no change, just a reminder)

    To bow during the Credo at the words “by the power of the Holy Spirit, He became Man” (Again, no change, just a reminder. On Christmas and on the Feast of the Annunciation, people are supposed to kneel at those words.)

  • Just to be clear, the rule about standing after Communion has not been announced at my parish… yet. The pastor is implementing the changes (or reminders, as Kelly clarifies for us) over several weeks, so I don’t know if that’s planned.

    I’m basing my displeasure for it on the reader’s comment as well as what I read in the newspapers.

    Like I said before, all this wondering would be moot if the archdiocese would just post the information online.

  • My mom and dad taught us kids to always bow our heads at the name of Jesus, too. Actually, I notice that the readers in my parish always do that, as do the parish priests.

    One thing? Little has been said about “reminders” for celebrants! One, for example, is that during the Canon, at the name of Mary, the celebrant should bow his head. Again, not new…just a reminder.

    There are more, of course—my personal favorite being that, at the Kiss of Peace, for cryin’ out loud, Padre, stay in the sanctuary with Jesus and never mind wandering around the congregation, pumping hands like a politician working the crowd, sheesh.

    Kelly <—-noting that the above isn’t precisely the way the directive is worded wink