Monday greetings to all.
It was 72 degrees here in Chicago late last night. And tonight's temperature will be 32 degrees. Ah, the Midwest in the Spring.
I wanted to ask a question of the readers of Gotta Sing Gotta Pray.
I was quite surprised at Mass yesterday. When the time came for the proclamation of the Gospel (The long section from John that proclaimed the story of the Man Born Blind), the deacon announced that we were invited to be seated because of the length of the Gospel and so that we could meditate on the Gospel. Maybe I am just getting to be liturgically crotchety, but I found this to be disconcerting. I left my seat and stood against the back wall, trying not to look like I was making any kind of statement of protest. I just felt strongly that I needed to honor this great Gospel story by remaining standing.
The "please be seated" instructions I have heard over the years when the Passion was proclaimed on Palm Sunday and Good Friday has always irked me as well. I remember standing for these long Gospels when I was a kid and it was something that helped form my own "Catholic DNA." I have since been in too many places where we are all invited to be seated for these Gospels. I firmly believe that, perhaps of any Gospel proclamation, the proclamation of the Passion necessitates our standing in honor and praise for what is being proclaimed.
I realize that the invitation to be seated is made primarily as a gesture of hospitality and kindness to those (the elderly and those with disabilities) who would find standing for such a long time a real burden. But I also honestly feel that when people find it difficult to stand for a long period, they will simply choose to be seated. And I know that this might be embarrassing for them, or make them feel quite self-conscious. While I completely understand this, I think that perhaps an announcement before Mass begins or perhaps a mention in the worship program might alleviate their discomfort. Something like: "The proclamation of the Gospel at today's Mass is quite a bit longer than usual. For those who find standing for a long period of time to be quite difficult, please feel free to be seated during today's Gospel."
I guess that this all points to the fact that it might be a good idea to do some general catechesis with parishioners regarding the postures we use at Mass. I wonder how many people even realize why we stand at some points, kneel at others, bow at times, and kneel at other times.
So, please feel free to weigh in on this. What is your opinion?
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.