Sunday, September 9, 2007


I was speaking just the other day with a liturgist. Fairly solid fellow, though not a big supporter of Latin use. It struck me afterward that in the future anyone who hopes to call themselves a liturgist will have to get with the program, the Holy Father's program.

It almost certainly will mean that in the future it will be expected in most places, and certainly at basilicas and cathedrals, that liturgists will have familiariarity with the Mass in both its forms. And not just both its forms, but in all its permentations. After all there is a great difference between a low mass and a Missa Cantata, not to mention all of the possible options permissible in the Mass of Paul VI. A well trained liturgist will have to be familiar with the requirements for all of these, as well as having a passing familiarity with liturgical music, even if there is music minister, because both forms of Mass have versions in which some or most of parts can be sung.

As with seminary programs which will train future priest, programs in which liturgist are trained will have to change. Meanwhile those presently working as liturgist will have to find their own resources and programs to get up to speed. It is not unreasonable to expect that there will be more support in some diocese than others.

Meanwhile where does the catechist stand in all this? One of the biggest problems that faces catechist in general, and especially those who deal with teens, especially young teens, is the sacramental student. That is the student who is only sent to formation when it is "time" for them the receive one of the sacraments. So we see second graders who once they have received First Reconciliation and Eucharist do not darken our doors again until eleventh grade when they go into confirmation classes.

Such students do not typically attend Mass regularly. Their parents typically do not attend Mass regularly. Their understanding of the liturgy is often stuck at a second grade level.

That makes it important that we include liturgical formation in our programs, no matter what other subjects we are also covering. We'll only get adults with adult understanding of liturgy if we catechize our teens before they become adults. (Addressing the present adult population is a problem for another post.)

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