Read the diocesan message for Advent 2011 which introduces a common practice of ‘posture’ at Mass and announces a K&L Diocesan Eucharistic Congress in March 2012.

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Celebrating the Eucharist Together

Advent 2011

Message from Monsignor Brendan Byrne, Diocesan Administrator, Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin

My dear friends,

The new English edition of ‘The Roman Missal’ comes into full use on the First Sunday of Advent. There is no doubt that the new translation sounds different. It has a more formal, somewhat elevated tone in comparison to the translation we have been using since the 1970s. In many ways, the changeover has made all of us pause and re-focus on the great mystery that we are celebrating. This goes deeper than spoken words.

One of the tremendous graces within our celebration of the Eucharist is our experience of communion with Christ and with one another. At the Lord’s Table, we are brothers and sisters. We need to do everything we can to nurture this unity, to keep that precious sense of sharing the same Mass wherever we are.

With that in mind, I have decided that this is a suitable opportunity to introduce a uniform practice in this diocese regarding our posture at Mass in accordance with the Missal. We have all had the experience of discovering, sometimes to our embarrassment, that churches have different customs about when people stand, sit or kneel. When the liturgy changed in the 1970s, some churches held on to some of the older practices; for example, kneeling at the beginning of Mass. However, there is no good reason why we should not all follow what is set out in the Missal. Like the new responses in the Mass, it will take some time before it will become second nature to us.

Again the purpose of this change is to deepen our sense of unity and hospitality within our celebration of the Eucharist. We hope that a common practice will help make people feel even more welcome and at home in whatever Church in our diocese that they attend.

As I stated above, our celebration of the Eucharist goes deeper than spoken words. However, it is fair to say that, more often than not, we don’t honour the place for silence within the Mass. Along with our active participation, our responses and singing, there are specific times when we are called to collect ourselves silently before God. These are precious moments.

Therefore, along with the new instructions regarding ‘posture’, we are also taking this opportunity to highlight the place for silence, the times when we can just be still in God’s presence.

To help people learn and adjust to these changes, we have produced and circulated a new diocesan ‘ORDER OF MASS’ which contains all the responses and prayers of the people at Mass. It also indicates when to stand, sit or kneel and the places for silence. We have also circulated posters that offer insights about the meaning of silence and our posture during Mass. All this material is on our diocesan website – www.kandle.ie

As everyone is aware, the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC 2012) is being held in Dublin from 10th – 17th June. We hope to assist a large number of pilgrims from our diocese to attend the week-long events in the RDS and the closing ceremony in Croke Park. For more details about how to book please contact your local parish or see www.kandle.ie

Like other dioceses, we have decided to hold a Diocesan Eucharistic Congress in the lead up to IEC 2012. Our Diocesan Congress will be held in Carlow from 9th – 10th March. It will feature a number of keynote speakers – Baroness Nuala O’Loan, Fr Michael Drumm and Fr Peter McVerry – along with a wide range of workshops and a special youth section culminating in the celebration of the Eucharist in the Cathedral on the Saturday evening. Full details will be made available in the New Year.

In conclusion, as we enter the Advent season, I pray that once again the wonder and joy of welcoming Christ our Saviour as the child of Bethlehem will fill our hearts. In these difficult times, when so many have financial and personal worries, may the Lord bless us once more with his gift of peace.

Monsignor Brendan Byrne
Diocesan Administrator

Our Posture at Mass

Posture unites our bodies with the spirit of our prayer. The posture we undertake at the various moments in the Mass is part of the prayer. Our actions of standing, sitting and kneeling outwardly express our inner prayer and intention.

We stand at various parts of the Mass including the Introductory Rites, the Gospel and finally the Concluding Rites as we show our readiness to go out and live what we have prayed.

We sit at various parts of the Mass including during the readings prior to the Gospel and during the homily. These are moments of listening and reflecting.

We kneel at various parts of the Mass including during the consecration. These are moments of humble adoration. Likewise, when we kneel after receiving Holy Communion.

Our shared posture expresses the communal nature of our prayer – we go to God together in our worship.

Silence within Mass

Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote the following: –

We are realising more and more clearly that silence is part of the liturgy. We respond, by singing and praying, to the God who addresses us. But the greater mystery, surpassing all words, summons us to silence.

It must, of course, be a silence with content, not just the absence of speech and action. We should expect the liturgy to give us a positive stillness that will restore us.

(Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000)