Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ten ways to do liturgical movement without breaking out the ballet slippers

Liturgical movement is not primarily the choreographed movements of trained dancers. It is the integral gestures the liturgical ministers and assembly members make together, such as the Sign of the Cross and the various processions of the Mass. Here are 10 ways to pay more attention to the liturgical movement already present in the Mass.

  1. Have a welcoming line at the entrances of the Church, not a barrier of liturgical ministers that people have to walk around.

  2. Model dignified genuflecting to the tabernacle (only before and after Mass) and bowing to the altar as you enter the worship space.

  3. Make processions look more like processions. “Choreograph” them with the same care as we do with wedding processions.

  4. Choreograph the liturgical ministers’ bowing/kissing of the altar at the gathering procession.

  5. Let the Sign of the Cross be done slowly and with large gestures.

  6. Train lectors and cantors to move slowly, confidently, and gracefully. If possible, have them avoid fumbling with unnecessary items (e.g., putting books under the ambo shelf; getting books out from under the ambo shelf; carrying sheet music to the ambo).

  7. Make the Gospel procession an actual procession.

  8. If they need it, practice incense skills with the deacon and presiders. If you don’t have a deacon, train older acolytes to incense the assembly gracefully and confidently.

  9. Train the assembly to bow at appropriate times, i.e., during the Creed, as they are being incensed, during the Consecration if they are standing, before receiving Communion.

  10. Practice the Communion Rite with the Communion ministers, the deacon, and the presider, especially the Fraction Rite and distribution of Communion to the extraordinary ministers of Communion. (Going to the Purell bottle, or receiving a squirt of antibacterial soap should not be a noticeable action during the Communion Rite.)

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