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Mass action.

I admit it. I'm a liturgist--you know, one of those people who argue about whether we should stand or kneel for the Eucharistic Prayer, where the altar belongs in the church, and whether the Blessed Sacrament should have a chapel of its own or be placed in the main sanctuary. I even have an opinion about whether it's OK to use blue vestments during Advent. And, yes, I annoy my coworkers to no end with liturgical minutiae. I'm a liturgy nerd.

Minutiae or not, though, many parishes have seen changes in their Sunday Mass in these past few years. New liturgical documents have added a bow here or there, or given more explicit directions about who pours the wine for Communion (and when), or even who cleans the Communion vessels after Mass (and how). Some people have quite rightly complained that some liturgists (and bishops) are missing the eucharistic forest for all the liturgical trees. After all, was ritual nitpicking what Jesus had in mind when he said, "Do this in memory of me"?

This Year of the Eucharist, announced by Pope John Paul II before his death, invites us to take a step back and ask in all seriousness: Just what is our Eucharist supposed to do? And what of us who celebrate it? Does the Eucharist do anything to us, within us? Does it transform us into the Body of Christ? Are we poured out as Christ's blood? Does Sunday Mass empower us to go out and do as Jesus did in the world?

Happily in many U.S. parishes the answer to this last question is a resounding "yes." Robert J. McClory has profiled several in this month's cover story ("Let's put the Eucharist to work," pages 12-17) and found communities where Sunday Mass is not simply a celebration but a commission to reach out to the world in service and compassion.

But so as not to take ourselves too seriously in this liturgy issue, Mary Margaret Carberry gives us some stern encouragement to mind our p's and q's at Mass in this month's Sounding Board ("Mind your manners, Massgoers," pages 18-22), and a healthy number of U.S. CATHOLIC's readers have responded. It turns out quite a few of us have opinions about what goes on at Mass, not just us liturgy nerds!

On a more somber note, during the production of this issue we at U.S. CATHOLIC learned of the resignation of Father Tom Reese, S.J. as editor of the Jesuit magazine America after several years of investigation by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Under Tom's leadership America provided a thoughtful forum and resource for many Catholics through its balanced presentation of controversial issues. His tenure was a great service to the U.S. church, and his forced departure is a harsh disappointment. Tom will be greatly missed, and we wish him the best.
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Title Annotation:editors' note; Liturgy, Year of Eucharisty
Author:Cones, Bryan
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2005
Words:485
Previous Article:Servant of servants.
Next Article:No vacation from religion.
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