At the 5 p.m. Mass on Saturday, November 26, Queen of Angels Parish will begin using new texts for Masses in English. The following is the third part in an ongoing series looking at the changed words we can expect to hear and pray at Mass.
What is the Communion Rite?
After the bread and wine have been consecrated to become the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharistic Prayer, the people of God are called to share in this tremendous gift during the Communion Rite. The Our Father, the prayer that unites all Christians, expresses our desire for unity as members of the body of Christ. The Sign of Peace, often expressed as handshake, hug, kiss or wave of the hand, is a sign of reconciliation and communion between members of the community. The priest breaks the bread in the Fraction Rite as preparation for giving it to the people as Jesus gave bread to the Apostles at the Last Supper. Then the people are invited to Communion, an impossibly perfect gift of which they declare their unworthiness but one which is offered to them anyway. In solemn procession, the assembly comes to the table of the Lord to receive the gift of Christ's own flesh and blood, given freely for the life of the world.
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The Sign of Peace
Following the Lord’s Prayer at Mass, the Sign of Peace is shared with one another. In the revised edition of The Roman Missal, this is how the priest celebrant invites us to exchange the Sign of Peace, as well as our response or acclamation to his offer of peace to the liturgical assembly:
Priest: Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles, Peace I leave you, my peace I give you; look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will. Who live and reign for ever and ever.
Priest: The peace of the Lord be with you always.
People: And with your spirit.
Priest: Let us offer each other the sign of peace.
Two things definitely stand out with the revisions. First, our response, “And with your spirit,” is consistent with our response during the rest of the liturgy. This is a literal translation from The Roman Missal of the Latin response Et cum spiritu tuo. The second is the explicit request for Christ’s peace that brings not only peace but unity. This Sign of Peace takes place within the Communion Rite. Therefore, Christ’s peace is one that brings people into union—into communion. This unity or communion is one that is “in accordance with [Christ’s] will.” Because we are sinful, we do not always have the peace of Christ foremost in our words and deeds.
Just before the Sign of Peace, we proclaimed the Lord’s Prayer. We named and prayed for our heavenly Father to “forgive us our trespasses, / as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It is our faith, the faith of the Church, which leads us to Christ’s peace. This sign, this rite, is one in which we are invited to turn from sin to ways of true unity—Christ’s unity. The priest, in his part of the Lord’s Prayer, which is technically called an embolism, proclaims: “Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, / graciously grant peace in our days, / that, by the help of your mercy, / we may be always free from sin...” These words that come immediately before the Sign of Peace flow naturally into the Sign of Peace. Christ’s peace overcomes the sin of the world that would bring disunity between one another and with the Triune God. This Sign of Peace is therefore also a sign of hope.
Christ’s offer of peace to us is one that brings peace, love, and communion with one another. As disciples, this experience of divine Communion within Mass, especially through the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ, is one that we are called to live daily. We become visible and tangible signs of peace, signs of unity, signs of hope in a world afflicted with sin, disunity, war, and despair. This world longs for peace, a peace that only the Lord Jesus Christ can bring about. The Sign of Peace is a rite that calls us beyond sin and disunity to Christ’s peace and communion. We are called as disciples to live this peace and communion that Christ gives us daily. This indeed becomes then a sign of hope for all peoples.
— Kristopher W. Seaman
|PART OF MASS||PRESENT TEXT||NEW TEXT|
The peace of the Lord
be with you always.
And also with you.
The peace of the Lord
be with you always.
And with your spirit.
Articles adapted from Preparing Your Parish for the Revised Roman Missal: Homilies and Reproducibles for Faith Formation © 2011 Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 3949 South Racine Avenue, Chicago IL 60609; 1-800-933-1800; www.ltp.org. All rights reserved. Used with permission. The copyright notice must appear with the text. Published with ecclesiastical approval (Canon 823,1). Sample Mass part comparisons adapted from Changes in the Parts of the People in the Order of Mass in the Roman Missal, Third Edition © 2010 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C., www.usccb.org/romanmissal. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved.