Have you ever had a priest “introduce”/give backstory to the readings?
  • Some priests in the online Masses I watch give a mini-lesson on the first and second readings before they are proclaimed. I find this a bit odd. We had a priest that did this years ago at my home parish, too.

    When/why did this become a thing?
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,225
    Yes, it’s kind of annoying, though I believe it’s explicitly permitted in the GIRM. I don’t have it in front of me at the moment, though
  • Does the priest have SJ after his name? I've seen it done, but only by Jesuits.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,734
    31. [...] He is permitted, furthermore, in a very few words, to give the faithful an introduction to the Mass of the day (after the initial Greeting and before the Penitential Act), to the Liturgy of the Word (before the readings), and to the Eucharistic Prayer (before the Preface), though never during the Eucharistic Prayer itself; he may also make concluding comments regarding the entire sacred action before the Dismissal.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,183
    He is permitted... to give the faithful an introduction to the Mass of the day... he may also make concluding comments regarding the entire sacred action before the Dismissal
    I don't understand these permissions.

    Why can't the priest give commentary and make jokes and announcements outside of the Mass... right before it begins, with all the other announcements, or right after he has given the last blessing and Mass has officially ended?

    I just don't get why there is permission to hold the people hostage during Mass.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 782
    A priest who helped out here a couple times a year would give a summary of the readings and gospel at the beginning of Mass, along with perhaps a one minute pre-homily. Then there would be the homily after the Gospel. After Communion, he would summarize everything AGAIN and give another mini-homily.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 652
    Less commentary, more processions. ;)
  • Can be helpful, given vast biblical illiteracy. Could be done in homily, but then people have already tuned out the lessons.

    I am not always a huge fan of the pericopes, which often lack contextualizing detail.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 652
    The Mass handouts here in Rio de Janeiro generally have an introductory paragraph read by a lay person, which explains today's general lesson, saint, holiday, etc.; then before the readings there is another brief paragraph read by a lay person, which similarly sums up the themes of the readings. And at the end of Mass there is another thematic paragraph that might apply the themes of today's Mass to our Christian life, encouraging some action during the week to come. All of these are either read by a lay reader or skipped; I've never seen them read by a priest. But they are a fixed part of the Mass leaflets issued by the archdiocese.
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • Thomas Day called this the 'solemn high explanation Mass' in his 1990 book "Why Catholics Can't Sing." One of multiple factors underlying the condition diagnosed by his title.

    Personally, I do my best to stay away from that situation. However, I have experienced up to about seven such little interludes in one Mass. "Today is a special feast, so we'll sing the Gloria, because, ...reasons."
    Thanked by 1MNadalin
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,775
    Explanations, frequently, during Mass were explicitly demanded by Trent. Session XXII.
    One could argue that they are no longer needed now we have the vernacular.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • they are no longer needed now we have the vernacular.


    Of course, one could also argue that the faithful understand the faith so much better, since it is presented in the vernacular, and that Mass participation and attendance has much improved...... but, well, it wouldn't stand up to the smallest test of the truth.
  • Hawkins, surely, Trent was not asking the priest to pause in the middle of Mass in the VO to casually make instructional remarks to the congregation.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,775
    I can't be sure what they meant, but what they said was
    Session 22 chapter 8 : The Mass shall not be celebrated everywhere in the Vulgar Tongue. Its Mysteries shall be explained to the People
    Although the mass contains great instruction for the faithful people, nevertheless, it has not seemed expedient to the fathers, that it should be celebrated everywhere in the vulgar tongue. Wherefore, the ancient rite of each church, and [the rite] approved by the holy Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all churches, being in every place retained; and, that the sheep of Christ may not suffer hunger, nor the young children ask bread, and there be none who shall break it unto them, the holy synod charges pastors, and all those who have the cure of souls, that they frequently, during the celebration of mass, expound, either by themselves or others, some portion of those things which are read at the mass, and that, amongst the rest, they explain some mystery of this most holy sacrifice, especially on the Lord’s days and festivals.
    The bit about vernacular tongues is often mentioned, but the rest seems rarely to have been acted on. It is clear that more was demanded than one sermon on a Sunday.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,183
    ...that they frequently, during the celebration of mass, expound, either by themselves or others, some portion of those things which are read at the mass
    Surely, you don't think that's about frequently, throughout Mass?
    I'd say you should read that as saying:
    More often than not, pastors should probably, during their homily -where such things belong- make explanations about readings and the mysteries of our Faith.

    And if you'd like to hear/read examples of such a way of doing what your quote calls for, I'd encourage you to look up the homilies of the Reverend Fr. J David Carter, which he gives at both VO and NO Masses. He explains not only the readings and/or the saints celebrated, but also intricacies of the Sacraments and of the Catholic Faith.

    If people need to make announcements of any sort, they should be outside of the initial and final blessings/signs of the cross. It shouldn't be,
    "the Lord be with you."
    "and with your spirit."
    "....please be seated while I sermonize or while Billy Bob tells you about the next youth group outing."
    Thanked by 2tomjaw ServiamScores
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,775
    Synodus pastoribus et singulis curam animarum gerentibus ut frequenter inter Missarum celebrationem vel per se vel per alios ex his quae in Missa leguntur
    Some have argued this calls for commentators at Mass! shudder
    What is clear is that the commission to reform/restore the Mass did not follow up on the instruction; plus ça change
    I think it would have been very helpful if the 1570 Missal had said in the rubricae generales at least something about how to handle this.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 360
    My very favorite priest ever would start his Masses something like this:


    Sign of the Cross
    “Today, the Sunday/feast of N., the Lord calls us to learn/consider/remember that X and Y. The introit expressed this by saying A. Out first reading gives an example of N bravely choosing to do X, while the epistle presents Y and teaches us how to live it out. Jesus shows us in the Gospel that X and Y go together in Z way. And so, brothers and sisters, let us call to mind our sins, and so prepare……”

    Thereafter the Mass was exactly as it stands in the Missal, with no interjections. I quite liked this practice; doing what I do for a living, I consider myself to be reasonably educated in matters theological and liturgical, but his introductions always helped me make sense of 1) what he was going to be after in his homily, 2) what’s going on in that unusual and obtuse first reading from Maccabees, and 3) what he wanted to emphasize to the people.

    3) is actually very useful for improvisers. You don’t want to play in a grand and pompous manner after the Gospel if you can tell he plans to preach on humility. You don’t want to play sweet nothings at the Offertory if he wants the people to consider the Last Things. Usually these things are self-evident from the propers of the day, but ambiguities are possible.

    And surely the people who don’t spend 40 hours a week staring at the Lectionary and Graduale were given something to hang their hat on, something to pay attention to, at the beginning of a Mass with so many spoken words to digest.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,097
    I don't mind if the priest has something to offer that isn't plainly evident by the readings themselves... what annoys me is when priests give a summary of the reading right before we are about to hear it. This is unnecessary. Don't say (like I'm an idiot) "we are about to hear how Moses wandered through the desert". duh, padre. If he wanted to say, "while we listen to Moses's trials in the desert, ponder how his struggles prefigure those of Christ who fasted for 40 days and suffered all the trials and discomforts of His human frame." There's a big difference between those two examples. Unfortunately, I've almost exclusively experienced the former rather than the latter.
  • Caleferink
    Posts: 369
    Isn't that what the homily is supposed to be for?

    Seriously, my newly-retired pastor, while he didn't do this for the readings, insisted on trying to explain any unusual rituals (RCIA stuff, various parts of Holy Week) in his "scripts" for these, and all it does is disrupt the whole flow of the ritual itself.
    Thanked by 2trentonjconn CCooze
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,775
    The Missal itself provides pre-scripts for those special occasions, which need no further expansion.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,862
    It's The treachery of images: This is not a ritual.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,775
    No it is not ritual, but perhaps it is what Trent called for, and did not get (explicitly in the Missal).
  • The necessity of Trent's request, and the obvious fact that vernacular liturgy has not ameliorated this, reveals that the long-standing problem is really catechesis, from which can be traced almost every illness ailing the Church. Putting on a "mysterious" show for the Eucharist, as some UA advocates embarrassingly reduce it to, will do nothing to teach Catholics what is truly occurring at that point. Similarly, if the readings go in one ear and out the other, it matters little what language they are in or how they are introduced.

    Trent's request went beyond the homily as one commenter insisted, but to see this as anything more than a Band-Aid solution is weird to me. We should ask ourselves how this was ever deemed necessary by an ecumenical council that was otherwise highly reactionary.
  • So was this catechesis problem ever not a problem? Was it catechisis problems in 19th cyentury Russia? Was the “show” in Constantine’s St Peter’s or Egerria’s Jerusalem also embarrassingly mysterious?
  • My issue is not with the Canon being one way or another but that some individuals think that by presenting it a certain way, we will magically solve the current crisis in belief, as if "putting on a show" to make the Eucharist seem otherworldly is a) why we do it and b) sufficient to restore belief in the Real Presence. If you reduce solemn Mass to a series of theatrical gestures designed to make people feel "spiritual", you are seeing liturgy no differently than those who put on a show for the youth with bad music, funny homilies, and so on. That attitude is what embarrasses me. Solemnity derives naturally from the gravitas of the sacraments, not the other way around.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,097
    True, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to make it more mysterious. Jesus had the last supper in a small private room with His chosen band… He didn’t do it when He multiplied the loaves and fishes in front of thousands (which He could have, had He chosen to do so).
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,775
    Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes for a crowd he had been teaching. The Mass of the Faithful follows after the Mass of the Catechumens. Trent desired that the faithful communicate (receive communion) at Mass, after receiving instruction/catechesis they commanded/mandat during the first part of the Mass.
    There is a clear two part structure. Not to be confused as in the TLM Low Mass by ignoring the congregation and using the altar as a bookstand. Nor as in the NO by continuing to focus on the congregation/audience during the Holy Sacrifice. RotR !
  • toddevoss
    Posts: 156
    RotR!! Glad to see others wishing this back after it was deserted in the last 8 years as many became absolutist Restorationists and the PrayTell crowd continued to view RotR as a "rejection" of the Council.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,862
    RotR!! Glad to see others wishing this back after it was deserted in the last 8 years

    It wasn't deserted: It died. Some of us are still working as morticians for RotR. I noticed that some who were supportive of RotR during the reign of Benedict stopped after the conclave: Not because they became "restorationists", but because the Flavor of the Week had changed.

    I do believe that a Reform of the Reform is needed, but I know that I won't live to see it. And until a real Reform of the Reform happens, what passes for RotR is simply choosing one legitimate option from among many legitimate options, and is doomed to failure, because it's really just a matter of window-dressing: some prefer lace, others checks or plaid.

    As I mentioned on a facebook comment (to paraphrase):
    By the time any real Reform of the Reform does happen, everyone currently on this message board will be as dead as Thomas Cranmer was when Percy Dearmer wrote "The Parson's Handbook". We are still in the age of revolution and upheaval: there will not be any stability until the all clergy and laity who were alive before 1990 are gone, i.e. those who remember the Council and its immediate aftermath. Once there is stability there will be reform. I don't foresee any real Reform of the Reform beginning until around 2169 or later---200+ years after the N.O. was promulgated.
    Thanked by 2trentonjconn tomjaw
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,775
    We have had some small but significant changes already. The paten and chalice are, according to the revised rubrics, no longer treated as dishes to be washed by the female EMsoHC, but as sacred vessels to be purified by ordained ministers. The sign of peace, according to the rubrics, is not a general greeting of friends and cronies. Along with the enhanced speech register those work to raise the dignity of the ars celebrandi. Though it may take time for these to bed in.
    I was already 34 by the time the NO was implemented in English, so I have little prospect of seeing substantial reform. A lot of the disaster was because bishops who served through the sixties would not countenance further change, ICEL thought they were producing a short term fix, not that it would take 40 years to amend.
    BCP - 1st edition 1549, enduring revision 1662.
    Thanked by 1Schönbergian
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,097
    The paten and chalice are, according to the revised rubrics, no longer treated as dishes to be washed by the female EMsoHC, but as sacred vessels to be purified by ordained ministers.
    If only this were true. Sigh.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • EMsoHC?

    I know what EMH and EMHC are. What do the extra letters mean?

    (EMH = Emergency Medical Hologram)
    (EMHC= Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion)
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,744
    Guessing: EMs(plural of EM)o(of)HC
  • Some priests in the online Masses I watch give a mini-lesson on the first and second readings before they are proclaimed. I find this a bit odd. We had a priest that did this years ago at my home parish, too.


    I have seen this last Christmas, in Paray-le-Monial. Quite odd a thing.