Catholic Church of The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady - Penzance - website - part of the Parish of The Holy Family
ROSEVEAN REVIEW 4 March 1999 - Volume 1 Issue
The Most Threatening Liturgical Problem We Face is Individualism
Greetings to you all. In my contribution to the last issue I emphasised certain aspects of the central act of our parish and of our Church: our weekly Eucharist, our Mass. A parishioner remembered hearing me say once that the first reason we come to Mass is that "Christ asked us to". Our gathering for the celebration of the Eucharist is our response to Christís invitation: "do this in memory of Me."
We come as individuals, we form a congregation, we are asked to become a people, Godís people. Individualism is represented by our varied gifts of prayer and ministry. These gifts are given to us in order to be shared with everyone else: God never gave anyone a gift which was not meant to benefit everyone else. This is true for sacristan and singer, for each person and for your priest: our gifts show something of the rich variety and creativity of the life of the Trinity.
It is easy to say this; it is difficult to put it into practice. Our very culture is against the cultivation of a sense of congregation. The liturgist Robert Hovda wrote in 1991: "We canít afford to ignore the patent fact that the most threatening Ďliturgical problemí we face is not in the liturgy but rather in our privitization of everything, inÖ our cultureís individualism-run-riot "The awesomely corporate act of public worship assumes, requires, demands a celebrating assembly of believing persons who have not lost the sense of being part of humanity, the sense of relation to, interdependence with even identification with every other human being - as consequences of the love of God. People who approach that act, who gather on Sunday as self contained units, individuals for whom all others are merely competitors or marks, as simply incapable of it."
These are challenging words. Thanks be to God in every age and in every parish there are those who have anticipated Hovdaís challenge. Indeed, his words could be seen as simply another commentary on St Matthewís vision of the Last Judgement (Mt. 25). Our awareness of each other, our response to the needs of others, will be the litmus test of our liturgy and the seal of our discipleship.
The liturgy of Holy Week will be a wonderful opportunity for us to explore again the experiences of Godís people and of Godís son in the unfolding of the plan of our salvation. I look forward to joining with as many of you as possible in the celebration of our parishís remembrance of these great events that shaped, and continue to form us into Godís people.
The rest of this issue may be uploaded - this upload 25th March, 2001