The Eight Secrets of a Good Mass

In the Catholic Herald, some good tips:

… I have recently been on holiday and during my time off I went to Church “disguised” as a layman and observed a few things. I am sure lots of people would like to put in their bit as to what goes into the new manual, but here are my thoughts, for what they are worth. Not all of them are of equal importance.

• Start the Mass on time. If it says six o’clock, then let it be six o’clock, not five past or seven past.
• The priest should turn up in good time. Seeing a flustered looking chap rush in at one minute to does not help. After all, Mass is important, and for important events we always turn up in good time, don’t we? Besides, ones needs to prepare.
• Wear a chasuble, and make sure it is the correct colour.
• When you preach, it really is not a good idea to go on too long. And to help you keep within a reasonable time frame it is a good idea to plan the sermon. Less really is more when it comes to saying things: say it concisely and people may get what you are saying; say it in a prolix manner and your meaning may well get lost in the verbiage.
• The same goes for bidding prayers. Short and sharp. And do we need them in the week? I doubt it.
• Do not leave bits of the Mass out. The Opening Prayer, the Creed, the second reading – why do these sometimes fall by the wayside? There can be no good reason for this.
• Do not ad lib, and especially do not as lib during the Eucharistic Prayer. The people surely want to hear the words of the Church not the words of Father Joe (or whatever he is called).
• When celebrating Mass, look at God, not at the people, especially not at the strangers in Church (you never know, one of them might be a spy from the Catholic Herald.)

All of the above applies to the celebrant, but there are some points that ought to be recognised by the faithful.

• Don’t answer your mobile in Church. And when you do, which you should not, do not converse in a loud voice on the said phone, especially during the Eucharistic Prayer. In fact, just switch the thing off.
• Arrive on time.
• Yes, you have lots of important things to discuss with your neighbour, but surely they can wait twenty minutes? After Mass, you can talk to your heart’s content. During Mass, talk to God. Silently.
• Leave your shopping alone. No need to rustle through the contents of that bag at all.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and I am sure that many readers can add further points, based on their own experience!



Episcopal Leader to Visit ‘Continuing Episcopalians’

‘Continuing Episcopalians’? The ChristianPost:

The head of The Episcopal Church is making an official visit to Episcopalians who belong to a diocese that has opted to break away from the denomination.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the TEC, arrived Friday in South Carolina to visit Episcopalians in the Diocese of South Carolina who want to remain with the denomination. As part of her itinerary, Jefferts Schori will attend the “Continuing Episcopalians” special meeting on the election of a new provisional bishop for their churches, as the legal battle over who can rightfully call themselves the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina continues in court.

The Steering Committee for the Continuing Episcopalians nominated retired East Tennessee bishop Rt. Rev. Charles Glenn vonRosenberg to the post. The vote to confirm him will take place at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston on Saturday.

Hillery Douglas, chairman of the Steering Committee and senior warden of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Charleston, said in a statement that Jefferts Schori was a welcomed presence. “We welcome the opportunity to have her with us at this important time in the history of our diocese, and it will be a privilege to share with her firsthand the energy and diversity of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” said Douglas.

Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, who is part of the diocesan leadership that decided to break away from TEC, told The Christian Post that he has little issue with the process that the Continuing Episcopalians are undertaking. “We have said consistently that The Episcopal Church (TEC) is free to set up a new Diocese here. She has every right to come and be a part of that process,” said Lewis.

“What neither she nor TEC has a right to do is to claim to be us in that process. We remain the same legally incorporated entity that was established in 1785 (four years before TEC was founded). We have disassociated with TEC but we have not ceased to be The Diocese of South Carolina.”

Earlier this month, the leadership of the South Carolina Diocese filed suit against TEC over the rights to the name, seal, and property of the diocese body. On Wednesday, the Diocese successfully got a court order to temporarily halt TEC’s usage of the name and seal. The order will remain in effect for ten days, overlapping with the Saturday vote on vonRosenberg. A hearing will be held on Friday, Feb. 1, to determine if the order should be made into an injunction.

“Our request for a declaratory judgment is now in the hands of the court of the State of South Carolina. We expect a full and fair hearing of the issues that will in time vindicate our right to freedom of association,” said Lewis.

“We chose to join in the founding of TEC. We are also free to choose to leave that association. We believe that to be guaranteed by both South Carolina law and the U.S. Constitution.”

Due to the court order, on their website the “continuing Episcopalians” have changed their name to “The Episcopal Church in South Carolina” and have removed the diocese seal from their web pages.

Neither The Episcopal Church in South Carolina nor the national leadership of the TEC returned comment to The Christian Post by press time.