Whenever we talk about the liturgy it is always helpful to begin with the understanding that we gather together as a community to support one another with our witness of faith and our communal prayer. At the same time we give God honor and praise through worship in our prayerful participation in the liturgy. When we gather for liturgy we bring with us the totality of who we are; our experiences, our emotions, our needs, our joys, our concerns, our preferences, our opinions, and our spirituality. This is true whether we are 8yrs old or 88yrs old. Subjectively then, while we join in communal prayer at the liturgy, we each have a different experience of the mass.
There are wide variety of preferences, opinions, likes and dislikes when it comes to the celebration of the liturgy. However, we must always keep in the forefront of our minds the objective reality of the celebration of the mass, namely, that Jesus Christ, offers to His heavenly Father, through the ministry of His ordained priest, His body and blood which were sacrificed on the cross, for the forgiveness of sins and the redemption of the world. Keeping this objective reality present in our minds can help us move past superficial likes and dislikes and allow ourselves to more deeply enter into the sacred mysteries which we celebrate in the liturgy.
While this is true, the Church still does take into account the variety and diversity of her members when it comes to the celebration of the liturgy. Here at St. Patrick each priest, whether assigned or visiting, has his own style and manner of presiding over the liturgy. The different choirs and musical selections at the different masses illustrate the vast diversity of liturgical music as well as our 7:30am Sunday morning mass which is quieter in nature.
Whatever our preference might be when it comes to liturgical style or music, it is always helpful for a Church to reexamine how they celebrate the liturgy, from the standpoint of both the presider and congregant. We can all grow in our appreciation of the liturgical tradition of the Church and deepen our own participation in the communal prayer and worship we offer to God here at St. Patrick’s parish.