Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Repeat: Advent Basics - Getting Back to Liturgical Essential

Here's a post from the infancy of this blog.

De-Clutter your church
to let its primary purpose shine through

Clean up the vestibule area of your church.
  • Remove old flyers, bulletins, and pamphlets. Organize the area so that the first thing people feel when they walk in is welcome.
  • The primary purpose of this area is for gathering and welcoming people. Make sure there is enough room for this purpose.
  • Move extraneous things like tables of books and leaflets away from gathering and walking spaces to another area where people can browse and learn more about the community through pictures and announcements. Organize these materials neatly.

Clean up the choir area.

  • Avoid storing books and equipment here because the primary purpose of this area is first of all worship.
  • Even if the choir is in the loft where no one can see them, the place where the choir exercises its ministry needs to look more like a place that enables reverent worship than a storage area.

Clean up the sanctuary area.

  • The primary purpose of the sanctuary area is for the presidency of the assembly’s worship, the proclamation of God’s Word, and the celebration of the Eucharist. Therefore, the primary objects in this area are the altar, the ambo, and the presider’s chair. Everything else is secondary.
  • Remove extraneous tables and chairs.
  • Put only the altar cloth, corporal, bread and wine, and Sacramentary on the altar.
  • Do not put water glasses for the presider, papers with Mass announcements or intentions, candles or flowers, Purell bottles, or envelopes with Mass stipends or prayers on the altar.
  • If the presider needs water, use a side table.
  • Mass announcements or intentions can be included in the bulletin or in the presider’s or commentator’s binder.
  • Candles and flowers work best when they are placed away from the altar so that the celebrant, deacon, and other ministers can easily prepare for Communion without twisting around candle and flower stands.
  • Also, be careful that the placement of decorations does not act as an altar rail, dividing the “holy space” from the “not holy space.”
  • Read about what to do with Purell bottles here.
  • Envelopes with Mass intentions are seen most visibly during November when the dead are remembered. It is good to remember the dead, but using the altar to display these envelopes is not the most appropriate solution. Instead, display these envelopes with the Book of the Dead at a side niche or entry way, or at the baptismal font, on in the shrine of your parish patron saint.