Performance at Mass

During his homily, our priest comes down 5 steps from the Sanctuary and strolls back and forth in front of the congregation. It is very distracting! Is this proper?

Umm, if he is the one giving the homily, you are supposed to be paying attention to him so how can that be distracting?

It is not proper for the priest to give the homily outside of the sanctuary.

From the Institutio Generalis Missale Romanum (GIRM)

  1. The homily is given at the chair or at the lectern

END

This signifies the teaching authority of the priest/bishop/deacon.

Obedient to Rome,

Adam

The “Phil Donahue” school of homiletics? Cannot stand it.

[quote=Arolison]During his homily, our priest comes down 5 steps from the Sanctuary and strolls back and forth in front of the congregation. It is very distracting! Is this proper?
[/quote]

I just experienced this with a visiting priest. Although he didn’t leave the sanctuary we was away from the ambo wandering back and forth. We have one of this poorly designed modern half circle layouts. I was curious whether this was his normal practice or whether he felt the need to walk back and forth in order to speak to the entire congregation.

We have a priest who wonders up and down the aisle also. He has been reminded by our Bishop that this is not acceptable, but he continues to do so. Word is he is leaving and being replaced. There have just been too many “do it my way” things with him.(wears no vestments when saying mass, calls the EMHCs up before the appropriate time, concecrates the wine in one big pitcher, hires open dissenters for parish positions, adds words to the liturgy, stops mass to expound on whatever is currently on his mind and I could go on…) He is not a diocesean priest, so he thinks he doesn’t have to listen to the Bishop. Pray for our Bishop to find us a good replacement!

As long as he stays in the sanctuary where he belongs, I don’t mind a priest stepping away from the ambo to preach.

I generally don’t mind it either, as long as he stays in the sanctuary, because it follows the rules, I guess, but if there was no rule against it then I wouldn’t mind at all. Our priests don’t always, but sometimes, step away from the altar reader thingy-what are you guys calling it, ambo? I think they’re just trying to use a different way to get people’s attention, which is not always a bad thing.

I wonder why this is a rule. Hmm. shrug.

When I was younger and attended all school Masses in the Lower grades, such as 1st through 4th, our Priest would walk have use perform skits to help pass on the Moral of the reading… Whether improper or not, I’d giv him a little credit for keeping our attention… Of course, our Sanctuary was looooooooong… So I don’t even remember him having to leave it… It’s was really maybe 1/3 of the actual Church building…

One of our priests says most of Mass outside the sanctuary during the week when there are not very many people at Mass. I have no idea why except maybe he things it’s more personal. When he has to be at the altar he is, otherwise he stands right in front of the first pew. I don’t like it, but I didn’t know until now that it wasn’t permissible.

[quote=Celia]I generally don’t mind it either, as long as he stays in the sanctuary, because it follows the rules, I guess, but if there was no rule against it then I wouldn’t mind at all. Our priests don’t always, but sometimes, step away from the altar reader thingy-what are you guys calling it, ambo? I think they’re just trying to use a different way to get people’s attention, which is not always a bad thing.

I wonder why this is a rule. Hmm. shrug.
[/quote]

It is a rule because, as I stated, the ambo and the chair are symbols of teaching authority. The ambo is a sign of teaching authority because the revelations revealed to the Church by God are declared to us in both scripture and the homily through the priest. The chair is a symbol of authority because it is where the priest sits as he presides over the people in persona Christi capitas (in the person of Christ as head).

All actions of the liturgies are designed to communicate the faith in the fullest form.

Adam

If he’s just walking back and forth, he may not even know he’s doing it. Pacing is a common gesture of people who are nervous- sometimes they realize they’re doing it and stop, sometimes they think it feels natural to do it. A homily is a speech, and should be given as if it were one (you aren’t supposed to pace or get carried away with gestures when you are giving a speech- but some natural gestures are ok).

One of our priests does that and I don’t mind it.

It kind of helps me transcend from today to the days of Christ…
it almost feels as though He’s walking through the village speaking in parables and we’re all eagerly following him so we don’t miss a beat.
Or I imagine Jesus walking back and forth among the crowds seated before him on a hillside as He spoke.

The other priests use the ambo, and that works just as well for me.

Interestingly enough, all three priests tend to start their homilies off with a personal story, lending insight into them as people, but everyone feels personally ‘closer’ to the one who speaks from the aisle. All three priests are well-liked and supported by parishioners, and they’re about the same age, too. All three are very, very reverent in how they conduct Mass, particularly during the Eucharistic prayer, but the homily is where they differ in approach, and it seems that makes a difference.

It’s un-neccesary. It’s not traditional. It’s Protestant. It’s not Catholic. It’s disobedient. It’s distracting. Need I say more?

Glory to Jesus Christ!

[quote=NetNuncio]It is a rule because, as I stated, the ambo and the chair are symbols of teaching authority. The ambo is a sign of teaching authority because the revelations revealed to the Church by God are declared to us in both scripture and the homily through the priest. The chair is a symbol of authority because it is where the priest sits as he presides over the people in persona Christi capitas (in the person of Christ as head).

All actions of the liturgies are designed to communicate the faith in the fullest form.

Adam
[/quote]

Actually, Adam makes a great point here, the liturgical actions teach and reinforce the Church that our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ left us. Unfortunately, modern church architecture sometimes obscures these lessons.

For instance, initially Adam called the ambo a lectern. I don’t fault him for this, because it probably looks like a lectern. An ambo is an elevated structure from which the Gospel is proclaimed (both in the text, AND in the homily). An ambo has stairs going up one side, and down the other. But we don’t see ambos (or even pulpits) in churches these days. Nonetheless, whatever serves the purpose of the ambo in a Catholic church is in fact, an ambo.

The presider’s chair is actually a symbol of the bishop who offers the Eucharist. Lots of chairs look like regular chairs, and not distinctive, as one should properly expect. Prior to VCII, they all looked like thrones. Today they are specifically NOT supposed to look like thrones, but they should still be distinctive. That would remind Catholics that the bishop offers the Mass, even if he is not physically there. If he’s not there, the presbyter (priest) offers it for him by proxy. He shares in the ministry of the bishop in this manner.

Incidently, in Eastern Christian Churches (both Orthodox & Catholic) the bishop’s chair is left empty when he’s not there, the priest does not sit in it, he just sits in the chair next to it. This underscores again the bishop’s presence over the Divine Liturgy, even when he’s not physically there.

As a deacon, I always preach from the ambo, but when our archbishop is here, he always preaches from the chair. I like it like that, as it reminds us of Jesus preaching to the crowds – rabbis often taught their disciples from the teaching position.

Architects and liturgists and interior designers ought to learn more about the faith before minimizing or destroying teaching aides that have been in our tradition for centuries.

Have a blessed day,

Deacon Chris

PS: What is the difference between a *liturgist *and a terrorist? Answer - you can negotiate with a terrorist, that’s what!

Deacon Chris-

I used the term “lectern” because I directly quoted the General Instruction. I haven’t spent enough time with the Latin original so I have not been able to compare the original to the translation.

I agree with the liturgist comment. It’s one of those things that is funny because it’s true! I always shun that title.

Adam

Next, they’ll have scorers up in the front pew to rate the homily, just like the Olympics.:banghead:

If the priest comes down and talks to the congregation, what is wrong with that? Especially if there is a small attendance. I know a priest that does this often, gets down with the people and really knows how to deliver a good message.

Adam:

I did not mean to infer that you didn’t know the difference between a lectern and ambo, but rather to underscore the problem – the GIRM uses the term “lectern” because way too many churches have what looks like lecterns in them. It’s a shame.

[quote=NetNuncio]Deacon Chris-

I used the term “lectern” because I directly quoted the General Instruction. I haven’t spent enough time with the Latin original so I have not been able to compare the original to the translation.

I agree with the liturgist comment. It’s one of those things that is funny because it’s true! I always shun that title.

Adam
[/quote]

And it provided a teaching moment for those who don’t know what an ambo is. Churches should be built today with proper liturgical design as the guiding principle, not by interior designers matching the “furniture” to coordinate with other pieces. It’s a pet peeve of mine.

And while on the topic of what “liturgists” do to minimize teaching elements of churches, I might add this:

Altars should look like altars, and should either be made of stone, or at least have the mensa (top) made of stone. Too many modern altars are really just tables with little distinction or detail to help people understand that they are places of sacrifice.

Since so many Catholics limit their knowledge of the faith to a short 10 minute window (homily) during the weekend Mass, ANYTHING that reinforces the tenets of the faith inside the church is laudable:

[list]
*]An ambo that looks like an ambo, or alternatively a pulpit
*]A presider’s chair that is set off, distinctive, and draws attention to the office of he who sits upon it
*]Stained-glass windows, especially rose windows that recall a story from Sacred Scripture
*]Statues & icons that reinforce the breadth of the Communion of Saints
*]and most of all, an altar that looks like an altar and features at least a mensa of stone
[/list] God bless you all for your attentiveness during the Eucharist!

Here is another performance, but thse are sisters:http://www.csasisters.org/site_uploads/gallery/photo893_1.jpg

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