I’m currently apart of a retreat team and it was suggested that during our liturgy that weekend that maybe we have a priest do an explanatory Mass, where as he is celebrating he will pause at certain points and explain why he is doing this or that, or what this vestment means, or what scripture passage some response is referring too etc. The person suggesting this is a very orthodox Catholic but something gave me an uneasy feeling about it. I think I see it as altering the liturgy which I know is not be done, and that’s why I’m hesitant, but maybe this is different somehow…? Am I being overprotective?
General Instruction of the Roman Missal:
- It is also up to the priest, in the exercise of his office of presiding over the gathered assembly, to offer certain explanations that are foreseen in the rite itself…he may give the faithful a very brief introduction to the Mass of the day (after the initial Greeting and before the Act of Penitence), to the Liturgy of the Word (before the readings), and to the Eucharistic Prayer (before the Preface), though never during the Eucharistic Prayer itself; he may also make concluding comments to the entire sacred action before the dismissal.
- The following also exercise a liturgical function:
b. The commentator, who provides the faithful, when appropriate, with brief explanations and commentaries with the purpose of introducing them to the celebration and preparing them to understand it better. The commentator’s remarks must be meticulously prepared and clear though brief. In performing this function the commentator stands in an appropriate place facing the faithful, but not at the ambo.
As we can see, generally speaking, the Church prefers such teaching moments (when done by the presiding priest) to be done during the four occasions listed in the GIRM. However the GIRM does not speak in absolutes about this practice except to say that can never happen *during *the Eucharistic Prayer. However, later on in #105 the GIRM references a commentator and is rather vague about when he/she is to offer “explanations and commentaries.”
As long as there is no interruption to the Eucharistic Prayer and none of the explanations go on for so long they overtake the Mass then I would say as a one time thing or rare occasion what is being proposed is in accordance with the GIRM.