So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Monday, February 9, 2015

Missa Interruptus: the first will be late and the late will be first.

  1. People have good reasons for arriving late to Mass.
  2. People have good reasons for departing from Mass early.
  3. People have poor reasons for arriving late to Mass.
  4. People have poor reasons for departing from Mass early.
1. Whatever the good reason, time your entry into the nave of the Church at an appropriate moment. If prudence has any say, the ushers will have a few pews set aside for late arrivals.

2. If you know ahead of time you must for a good reason depart early from Mass, i.e., after the final blessing and before or during the singing of the final hymn (which technically speaking is sung outside of Mass), then take a pew toward the back of the church so as to cause as little distraction as possible. Make haste before you get trampled by the final procession!

As for those people with bad habits, change your behaviour! Get to Mass early enough to get settled and to pray in preparation for the greatest gift God offers to us—the gift of His Son our Saviour Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist! Get to Mass on time so you can learn the art of repentance in the Penitential Rite. Be attentive to the word of God and learn wisdom for living a good and holy life.

The first (to leave) will be late (to arrive) and the late (to arrive) will be first (to leave).

At the local Cathedral we have many people who habitually arrive late, typically immediately before the Gospel, and who walk out the door promptly after receiving Holy Communion. Most people who manage to arrive early to Mass ahead of time to pray are gracious in accommodating the latecomers. A few folk occasionally express a look of consternation because they recognize the same people who arrive late every Sunday.

Loft half empty; loft half full.

Every Sunday, as it happens, the lower loft is half-full one minute before Mass begins. During the next ten minutes some forty to fifty people trickle in and begin to chat. Immediately after receiving Holy Communion, some thirty to forty people from the late arrival crowd simply walk out the door. Those late arrivals who remain routinely chat through the entirety of the Communion Rite. Immediately after the final blessing, another forty people crowd the small exit from the loft. Mind you, the songs typically sung at Mass are such that they tend to inspire flight from the church even before the Introductory Rites. The in-flight music service is terrible.

Flight #888 from earth to heaven is now departing.

International flights require that travellers arrive several hours in advance of the departure time. Domestic flights have a shorter preparation time, but there is still a call to arrive at an appropriate time in advance of departure. The ringing of the church bells should be enough of a pre-flight call to worship. If people were encouraged to arrive early in order to prepare themselves by offering personal prayer—a good and holy thing to do—then perhaps there might be a lot fewer latecomers and a little more reverence exercised toward Christ in His Holy Mass.

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Arriving After the Gospel: No Communion
ROME, 23 OCT. 2007 (ZENIT)

Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, Professor of Liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

... (S)omeone who arrives late out of no fault of their own should not be denied Communion.

I also consider it unwise to set any barrier point; I continue to insist that the faithful should assist at the whole Mass.

It is quite possible that some members of the faithful could begin to see the Gospel as the cutoff moment and feel comfortable in habitually arriving for the second reading, thus assuring that the Mass is "valid."

It is true that the Mass is a whole and that we must first recognize Jesus in the Word before we recognize him in the Eucharist. But this would include the entire Liturgy of the Word and not just the Gospel.

Also, while there is some certain logic in choosing the Gospel as such a moment, the reasons given are not sufficiently well grounded from the theological, canonical and moral standpoints to support such a blanket impediment to receiving Communion.

The pastor has a duty to direct and inform the consciences of the faithful entrusted to him. ... .

(T)he onus of the decision whether or not to receive Communion, in this particular case of a late arrival, falls primarily upon the individual Catholic rather than upon the pastor who can hardly be expected to be attentive to every late arrival.

It is therefore incumbent on those arriving late to examine their conscience as to the reason behind their tardiness. If the reason is neglect or laziness, then they would do better attending another full Mass if this is possible. Even those who blamelessly arrive late should prefer to assist at a full Mass although they would be less bound to do so in conscience.

At the same time, there are some objective elements to be taken into account besides the reason for lateness. Someone who arrives after the consecration has not attended Mass, no matter what the reason for his belatedness. Such a person should not receive Communion, and if it is a Sunday, has the obligation to attend another Mass.

It is true that Communion may be received outside of Mass, so Mass is not an essential prerequisite for receiving Communion. This would not, however, justify arriving just in time for Communion at a weekday Mass, as all of the rites for receiving Communion outside of Mass include a Liturgy of the Word and one should attend the entire rite.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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