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From Rev. Cyril M. Robitaille re Liturgy.

The recent articles about the Vatican halting Liturgical abuses (June 2004), and Father John Mole's writing (March/April 2004) about the thinking of Cardinal Ratzinger have caused me to reflect once more on a thought I have long held dear.

The words of the four main Eucharistic prayers--from the moment after the Sanctus till the Lord's Prayer--are addressed without interruption to God the Father (save the Memorial Acclamation).

If the celebrant is speaking to God the Father, why should he face the people?

Ideally, after the Liturgy of the Word, when he is addressing the people, he should turn, place himself in their midst, facing them as the symbol of God's presence in their midst, and say, IN THEIR NAME, the words of the Eucharistic prayer.

This also expresses the concept in Articles 875 and 876 of the New Catechism.

Then the interruption for the MEMORIAL ACCLAMATION would be well served by a gesture of turning to the people.

And the GREAT AMEN would have meaning--indeed it would be the moment when the people in whose name the priest has spoken (he uses WE 22 times in the first Eucharistic prayer) now proclaim loudly their approval of what he has said and done in their name.

When facing the people, their manner of saying the Great AMEN sometimes sounds like: "Thank God that's over."

While in the active ministry I was often tempted to put a little table/altar in the middle of the centre aisle and finish Mass from there.

The ideas of "presiding" at the Eucharist and an elevated chair, thus also appear to be foreign. Yes, the entrance ceremonies, the Liturgy of the Word, and whatever blessings or enrollments come after the Gospel/homily need a director. But the Eucharistic prayer? Perhaps if there are many concelebrants; but we used to call him the Master of Ceremonies.

No doubt the debate will long continue but, hopefully, with more attention to the meaning of the words used.

Thornhill, ON
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Title Annotation:Letters To The Editor
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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