Sunday, August 2, 2009

Official posture for the Our Father at youth liturgies?

Anonymous brought up a Liturgy question about the official posture for the Our Father at youth liturgies...

I am assuming that since the question has been asked, that I have permission to make a separate blog article of this question. Here is the question posed by Anonymous. I have taken the liberty to divide the one into several paragraphs for easier reading.


"...Will the Diocesan Liturgy office please give us some guidlines regarding when we are to hold hands during the liturgy and when not to hold hands. It's fine that families adopt a costum of holding hands if that's what they wish but why extend to other members of the congregation during a prayer of petition like the "Our Father"?

Having gone to many youth liturgies across the diocese, it seems that holding hands is the official posture for the Our Father at youth liturgies. If this is the case, where is this written? If this is not the case, then why is this either being encouraged, promoted or not being addressed. It seems to me that the posture should reflect the prayer and handholding is not really a posture of petition, it shows unity which to me further confuses since we should be united through the entire liturgy, not just the Our Father.

The adults need to start catechizing the youth about this when teaching them liturgy; otherwise, we just get one more manufactured practice that our diocese is so noted for doing. What is the official posture for the Our Father at youth liturgies?"


Do we have a reader from the Diocesan Office of Worship here? Actually, I will email the Office of Worship and see if someone can respond to this question. Others, of course, may wish to have some input also...

12 comments:

Stu said...

I'm still confused by the notion of a "youth liturgy."

As to the holding hands that has crept into the liturgy, the simple answer is to remain with your hands in the prayer position and close your eyes. You will not be bothered. (Or you can go to Mass in the Extraordinary Form which solves that problem and countless others.)

standing maryanna said...

Update: I have sent an email to the Office of Worship inviting someone to check the blog entry and reply. I'm assuming that someone reads the Office email...

Anonymous said...

Stu,
With respect to your comment, I do not believe the only answer should be based on an either-or philosophy (either ordinary form with hand-holding or extraordinary form without hand-holding. It doesn't always have to be in extremes - not that either form is an extreme. The reason I asked the question is because in this era of "peer pressure" so to speak, most children follow, rather than choosing to stand out by not conforming to dominant practices (sanctioned or not). It would be wrong if youth are being instructed or suggested to do something that is not a universal or sanctioned practice since the liturgists or teachers who lead them are in a position of authority and perhaps have never considered instructing them to do otherwise. It would be interesting to see what guidlines children liturgists are given to teach our youth and how our children's liturgists are teaching children to participate in the liturgy; for example, is there room for parish liturgists to push their own preferences and biases or is this standardized with reliable oversight to make sure children across the diocese are being taught liturgy correctly and uniformly? Are parish liturgists allowed to push one legitimate option more than another? Again, where can we find the diocesan guidlines or children's liturgy "curriculum"? Or are we just supposed to sit back and not ask these questions? I believe people should ask questions out of sincere interest and love of the Church and its liturgy.

John Southworth said...

The CV had an article on this at least two years ago telling us not to hold hands or to limit it to one's family.

When Mrs. C-D from our diocesan Office of Worship visited my parish she told us that no one in the sanctuary should hold hands (servers/priest). She suggested the orans posture for those who wish to use it in the assembly.

Strangely, she also seemed to prefer a recited "Our Father" over a sung one. This is somewhat odd to me because the missal actually sees is as a sung ordinary.

Anonymous said...

If this is true and we are not supposed to be holding hands, then why is it so widespread across the diocese? Is it that the hand-holders are stubborn and refuse to soften their stance on handholding? Or perhaps more leadership from the Office of Worship is needed. I fail to see how an article in the Catholic Virgninian about hand-holding two years ago is sufficient catechesis regarding this widespread practice that has "crept" into the liturgy -especially if you take into account the fact that many Catholics in the Richmond Diocese today, were not in the Richmond Diocese two years ago. If the instructions regarding this practice were effective, then the results would indicate that...the proof is in the pudding...go to any diocesan liturgy - especially youth liturgies - and it cannot be denied. Are there other widespread liturgical concerns? Probably, but addressing some of these issues should start somewhere.

Mark said...

I too would like to know more about the "youth liturgies" apparently taking place in our Diocese. I'm familiar with the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Forms of the Mass, and know that the Extraordinary Mass has no such category.

Is the "youth liturgy" a subset of the Ordinary Form, and if so, how does it differ from it? Also, what's the motivation for such a liturgy, and where can one see its rubrics?

standing maryanna said...

Are the youth liturgies that some of you are speaking of, the Life Teen movement? Or liturgies taking place at youth conventions, etc.? Can someone clarify?

Anonymous said...

I'm referring to all of the above: parish children's Eucharistic Celebrations, CCD/Catholic school liturgies, Confirmation liturgies and any other occasion that includes our younger ones. Who are the people in charge of the liturgies that do not believe that any traditional traces have any place in a Catholic liturgy with youth. I guess I just think the extreme either-or attitudes that some people have towards liturgy should be avoided so that our youth can have some exposure to other aspects of our Catholic heritage (i.e. some basic Gregorian Chant?). It just seems a little out of balance when there are parishes with organs, yet there must be use of a piano if there are youth involved...I have nothing against pianos, but why is there this consistent pattern of prefernce with respect to liturgies with youth? Is it that directors believe an organ is not suitable and only guitars and pianos are desired by youth? I doubt our young people would protest if there Catholic music repertoire were broadened some and they were exposed to other treasures of our Catholic Heritage. It doesn't have to be either-or. Can't we have a little bit of both or is there no room in our Church for that? I'm starting to question these things because out of habit now, I automatically reach out to the people next to me during the Our Father. It has now become a thoughtless habit with me (as with many I'm sure). Our contemporary habits can become just as much a thoughtless habit as some of the traditional gestures were in the past. We need to stop and think.

Christine E said...

I have attended Mass in California, New Mexico, New York and Virginia in the past year, and I have yet to NOT see participants hold hands during the Our Father....

Stu said...

It was liturgical abuses coupled with novelties like holding hands during Our Father that made me look into the Old Mass. There is simply no room for such folly in the Extraordinary Form nor no desire for such things given the Catholic who are drawn to it. So for me, that is how I decided to "stop and think" and then react.

I still attend a Novus Ordo Mass from time-to-time during the weekdays so I do understand the desire to have these things addressed. But at the end of the day, I go where Mass is taken seriously and not treated as a performance or some venue for self expression or group identification (such as "youth liturgy"). Mass is about the Eucharist and should be approached as such.

Anonymous said...

I prefer the Ordinary Form; although, I believe there are only two parishes in this 33,000 square mile diocese that offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Doesn't leave many options for the geographically-challenged. I'm curious what impact the new missal will have on music and the way we worship in the Richmond diocese. I heard that we won't be able to change the words of the Mass with the new missal; if this is true, then pretty much that's going to affect almost all of the music we sing at Mass. What will the diocese do to prepare us for this? Or will our diocese be exempt from the Mass that the rest of the Church celebrates when the new Roman Missal is implemented? I'm sure there must be loopholes, considering that my parish is exempt from following the diocesan vessel purification rule. At the end of the day, do these little rules that most do not follow matter anyway?

standing maryanna said...

Update: I received an email from Catherine Combier-Donovan, Director of the Office of Worship. The response was too long for the combox so I have turned it into its own article.

I want to thank Ms Combier-Donovan for taking the time to respond to the question.