Different Parishes, Different Practices

Hi all - maybe I’m overthinking this. I just moved recently and am attending a new parish. My new parish only says the Nicene Creed - not the Apostles. [edited]

Strange? Should I just acclimate myself to these customs? I really like the parish and I want to enjoy the entirety of it, so just looking for someone to tell me it’s normal that there are these differences from church to church. :o

The Nicene creed is the standard for Mass. I think the Apostles creed is reserved for Masses geared toward children. [edited] People aren’t supposed to hold their hands in the orans position, either–just the priest.

It’s no problem in both situations. That’s what is good about the Catholic church, there is diversity but all celebrations have the same “backbone” which is around Jesus Christ.

I have noticed similar differences in my experience. I have attended maybe four different churches during my life because we moved from one part of the city to another and more recently because we moved to another state. It doesn’t really bother me I figured it had to do with the individual Priest. [edited]

Whoops. “Holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer” is a prohibitted topic (see stickies at the top of the forum) - better take that part of the conversation to private messaging. . . .

First of all, no one, not even the celebrant, has the authority to add anything to the Mass for whatever reason, even if it is the name of “diversity”. Please read what Redemptionis Sacramenutm says:

[6.] For abuses “contribute to the obscuring of the Catholic faith and doctrine concerning this wonderful sacrament”.14 Thus, they also hinder the faithful from “re-living in a certain way the experience of the two disciples of Emmaus: ‘and their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him’”.15 For in the presence of God’s power and divinity16 and the splendor of His goodness, made manifest especially in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, it is fitting that all the faithful should have and put into practice that power of acknowledging God’s majesty that they have received through the saving Passion of the Only-Begotten Son.17

[7.] Not infrequently, abuses are rooted in a false understanding of liberty. Yet God has not granted us in Christ an illusory liberty by which we may do what we wish, but a liberty by which we may do that which is fitting and right.18 This is true not only of precepts coming directly from God, but also of laws promulgated by the Church, with appropriate regard for the nature of each norm. For this reason, all should conform to the ordinances set forth by legitimate ecclesiastical authority.

[8.] It is therefore to be noted with great sadness that “ecumenical initiatives which are well-intentioned, nevertheless indulge at times in Eucharistic practices contrary to the discipline by which the Church expresses her faith”. Yet the Eucharist “is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity or depreciation”. It is therefore necessary that some things be corrected or more clearly delineated so that in this respect as well “the Eucharist will continue to shine forth in all its radiant mystery”.19

[9.] Finally, abuses are often based on ignorance, in that they involve a rejection of those elements whose deeper meaning is not understood and whose antiquity is not recognized. For “the liturgical prayers, orations and songs are pervaded by the inspiration and impulse” of the Sacred Scriptures themselves, “and it is from these that the actions and signs receive their meaning”.20 As for the visible signs “which the Sacred Liturgy uses in order to signify the invisible divine realities, they have been chosen by Christ or by the Church”.21 Finally, the structures and forms of the sacred celebrations according to each of the Rites of both East and West are in harmony with the practice of the universal Church also as regards practices received universally from apostolic and unbroken tradition,22 which it is the Church’s task to transmit faithfully and carefully to future generations. All these things are wisely safeguarded and protected by the liturgical norms.

[10.] The Church herself has no power over those things which were established by Christ Himself and which constitute an unchangeable part of the Liturgy.23 Indeed, if the bond were to be broken which the Sacraments have with Christ Himself who instituted them, and with the events of the Church’s founding,24 it would not be beneficial to the faithful but rather would do them grave harm. For the Sacred Liturgy is quite intimately connected with principles of doctrine,25 so that the use of unapproved texts and rites necessarily leads either to the attenuation or to the disappearance of that necessary link between the lex orandi and the lex credendi.26

[11.] The Mystery of the Eucharist “is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal ordering would be obscured”.27 On the contrary, anyone who acts thus by giving free rein to his own inclinations, even if he is a Priest, injures the substantial unity of the Roman Rite, which ought to be vigorously preserved,28 and becomes responsible for actions that are in no way consistent with the hunger and thirst for the living God that is experienced by the people today. Nor do such actions serve authentic pastoral care or proper liturgical renewal; instead, they deprive Christ’s faithful of their patrimony and their heritage. For arbitrary actions are not conducive to true renewal,29 but are detrimental to the right of Christ’s faithful to a liturgical celebration that is an expression of the Church’s life in accordance with her tradition and discipline. In the end, they introduce elements of distortion and disharmony into the very celebration of the Eucharist, which is oriented in its own lofty way and by its very nature to signifying and wondrously bringing about the communion of divine life and the unity of the People of God.30 The result is uncertainty in matters of doctrine, perplexity and scandal on the part of the People of God, and, almost as a necessary consequence, vigorous opposition, all of which greatly confuse and sadden many of Christ’s faithful in this age of ours when Christian life is often particularly difficult on account of the inroads of “secularization” as well.31

Regarding the Creed, Fr. McNamara from Zenit notes that:

Actually, the use of the Apostles’ Creed in the Mass liturgy is the novelty.

Furthermore, the Directory for Masses with Children notes that the Apostles Creed may be used when children make up the majoriity of the faithful at Mass. Majority here does not mean 50% + 1. They need to make up a significant majority at, let’s say, a school Mass. Thus, the default should be the Nicene Creed.


Re. the Creed, it depends where the OP lives. In English Canada we have an indult for the Apostles Creed its use is the norm. Why? I haven’t a clue. In French we usually use the Nicene.

First of all, no one, not even the celebrant, has the authority to add anything to the Mass for whatever reason, even if it is the name of “diversity”.

That’s not what the post you responded to said, though. There is legitimate diversity within the rubrics.

But, the issue of hand-holding is not one of them.

And again, this is a forbidden topic. (Do we have a “zipped mouth” smiley?)

That is why I was trying to explain this in a round-about way without mentioning it outright. :shrug:

Sorry - my fault about not realizing one of my questions was a ‘forbidden’ topic. Didn’t mean to incite anything - was just asking in a friendly fashion. :shrug:

No big deal. :slight_smile:

lucky you aren’t on the catholic.org forum . . . you’d have had your post deleted already with a stern warning from one of the Gestapo. Glad this forum isn’t so heavily censored.

Yea, the fact that the Catholic Church is a “big tent” is a good thing. There’s room for many points of view, priorities, etc. But, from where I’m sitting in the tent that doesn’t seem to be the right way to describe OP’s situation.

It’s more like, Mass at the local parish has been hijacked by the illicit innovators. So, where’s the space in that parish’s tent for people who want Mass without illicit innovation?


Traditional Latin Mass: Translation and Grammar

To the OP, a tip-toe through the General Instruction of the Roman Missal is always a wise way to get information that is accurate and free of “interpretation.” The language of the GIRM is not of such difficulty that one needs an advanced degree in Theology or Divinity either.

I believe (and I could be wrong, I don’t have it handy right now), that it speaks of reciting a Profession of Faith and is somewhat loose on what that means. In the US, it has come to mean the Nicene Creed, unless a Baptism occurs during the Mass. I seem to recall that the Apostles’ Creed is an acceptible Profession of Faith when children are the majority of the Faithful gathered or on Sundays during Lent.

In general, that which is not proscribed is generally not allowed. If you are curious about whether or not you should do some “thing” or “action” because others are and the GIRM doesn’t direct you to do it, best to abstain.

Forbidden topic. GEEZ. Do we have a “censored” smiley? :shrug:

I’ve always felt that message boards would run better if there was a moratorium on mini-modding, but then again, since all we seem to do around here is mini-mod our priests, why shouldn’t we be allowed to mini-mod each other?

[edited] To answer the OP’s question, I move quite frequently and have had the pleasure of spending time in many different parishes, in addition to the Masses gone to while out of town or what have you. And yes, there are different customs wherever you go. The essentials remain identical- or they should. But in the little things, you do see some variation. I try to follow the “when in Rome” approach, unless I know for a fact that a certain custom is not what one is supposed to be seeing at a Mass. [edited] When I am called before our Lord to give an account of what I have done with my life, I really doubt that “little custom x or y” will be what I have to worry about, if you know what I mean. My advice is to just do your best with what you know, relax, and remember why you are there- WHO you are there for- if the little differences start to trouble you. (Now, BIG differences- that’s another thread!)

I too have been in many Catholic churches and observed all kinds of differences, even between parishes and between the different Masses at the same Parish! So what the OP described is common to most of the parishes I am familiar with; in fact, I am surprised about the Apostles Creed, since that is the one to be used in most liturgies, as already mentioned.

I would recommend that if you almost always participate in the Mass at just one Parish, you need to get out more and visit other Churches. My two most memorable experiences: Attending a Mass at a small church in Quebec, entirely in French, with the most beautiful singing I have ever heard. The other was a mariachi Mass at a mission church in Texas. Out of dozens and dozens of churches in various states and countries, not one Mass was EXACTLY the same as another. But for the most part they were all perfectly good Catholic liturgies.

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