From the Pastor 9/24/17
Why does it take longer to prepare the altar than to preach my homily? As the new guy on the block, I love to observe and ask questions. I am thinking that, either I have to preach longer, or change what we do during the offertory time. In preparing the altar, I am referring to that time from when we start the music as the ushers come up the isle with collection basket, until I have the bread and wine on the altar and pray “Pray brothers and sisters that our sacrifice may be acceptable…” The issue is that we often finish the offertory song before the gifts even begin to come up the aisle.
I know the ushers have a lot to do in a short time, passing the baskets through the pews, locating the people who are bringing up the gifts, combining the money all into one basket, getting everyone lined up in the back with the basket, the book of prayers, and the bread and wine. Then, there is the long walk up the aisle.
Our goal is to not have Mass run over an hour, especially when we are live on the radio at the 9:30 Waldo site Mass. In the “General Instructions” of the Roman Missal (which contains the norms for Mass) it does not state that we need to wait for the collection to bring up the gifts, or that we need to bring forth a parish book of prayers. So, I suggest that we leave our book of prayers on the stand and not include it in the procession. This will allow for people to add their prayers right up to the start of Mass and right after Mass. (Please note that we do already remember the prayers in our general intercessions as we pray for “all the intentions in our parish book of prayers.”) We bring up the bread and wine right away and the collection when it is done.
In summary, I really want to shorten the time it takes for preparation of the altar, rather than lengthen my preaching. For this to happen, the ushers will find out before Mass, who is bringing up the gifts and instruct them that they are to go to the back of church as soon as the music starts, pick up the gifts, and start down the aisle. (So, during offertory time, as the ushers go up the aisle, the ushers can make sure the gift bearers go to the back to bring up the bread and wine.) If there are two Mass intentions, the first intention brings the bread and the second intention brings up the wine. (Extra family members are welcome to walk in procession with the gifts.) Servers, deacon, or priest will move right away to set the altar as they already do. The presider will move down front to receive the gifts. Again, we will leave the book of prayers right where it is, not bringing it forward. When the ushers have completed taking up the collection, one of them will bring it forward and place it in the sanctuary.
I invite all parish members to share their thoughts, ideas and concerns with me prior to our implementation date of the weekend of October 7/8.
Rev. Doug LeCaptain