By Stephen Page
(Editor’s Note: Father Stephen Page, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in DeWitt and Ss. Philip & James Parish in Grand Mound, wrote the following response to a June 15 guest opinion by Morgan Davis, director of faith formation and evangelization for Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf.)
The guest column on the editorial page of last week’s The Catholic Messenger challenged me to review my life experience in the short time I have been received into the Roman Catholic Church, as well as my short time as one of her presbyters.
It is very sad to read that the writer might have had an experience or two of his participation in the holy sacrifice of the Mass that may have (?) included the use of Cinnabon and peach wine from an international food retailer, let alone the exuberance of liturgical dance and strobe lights. Whether he heard of this or saw it or experienced it, it is sad.
When St. Pope John Paul II of happy memory would visit different countries, many times there were even natives dancing appropriately during Mass. His countenance beamed with joy! I can state with firm memory and confidence that in my major seminarian formation (at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota), this subject of experimentation had never been tried nor suggested in our community’s celebration of the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
In fact, the simple reminder of “read the red” (instructions: rubrics) and “say the black” (the prayers) was stressed but not to the point of being legalistic or pharisaical in implementation. Unbeknownst to me, before I received the sacred Chrism on my hands from the bishop during the Mass of Ordination, there are also directions that specifically say what the active, conscious participating community is to say and do besides the old adage of “pay, pray and obey.”
I realized that as a steward of the sacred liturgy, holy mother Church has entrusted much to the ordained in the ars celebrandi. It might be helpful for all the faithful, young and old, etc. to recall why we gather as the body of Christ to celebrate the body of Christ, so that as we all go forth into the world, the body of Christ can be experienced by a waiting world in ways that they can comprehend and believe Christ is truly risen and with us, until the end.