Some questions that have come up since the use of the Sequence at Mass this past weekend:
What is the Sequence and why did we do it? A few times during the year a sequence is part of the Liturgy of the Word. It follows the second reading and is either sung or read. Both Easter and Pentecost — the bookends of the Easter season — have required sequences while other celebrations have optional sequences (e.g., the Body and Blood of Christ). The Easter Sequence, known as Victimae paschali laudes in Latin, is a beautiful and ancient poem, telling a short narrative story of Resurrection morn, set to a wonderful Gregorian chant melody. It is claimed that historically the Sequence fulfilled the congregation’s desire for an extended expression of the beauty within the Liturgy of the Word, as processional music as the deacon processed from the celebrant to the ambo to proclaim the Gospel and as a preemptive meditative piece preparing one for the Gospel.
I chose to use the optional Sequence to help highlight the significance of the Liturgical Celebration. I could have used other elements, such as the sprinkling rite or incense to heighten your senses with the hope of increasing your attentiveness to the liturgy. (It is often ‘good’ to get lost in prayer during the Mass, especially during Ordinary Time; however, the hierarchy of feasts in the Church does teach us important elements of our faith and I think using permitted options is a wise practice.) It was, however, simply my choice to go with the reading of the Sequence rather than to “smoke you out,” although I do love using incense. Hopefully, the addition of the Sequence caught your attention and reminded you of the importance of our celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
Another question asked was: When a part of the Liturgy is not followed exactly as required has the Sunday obligation of the people in attendance been fulfilled? For example, if due to human error a different reading is proclaimed or a different responsorial is sung or a sequence is omitted, or the celebrant accidentally skips a prayer, is the Mass valid? The short answer is… yes. Accidental mistakes in the Mass do not affect the validity of the Mass. The Church is wise enough to know that things happen and realizes that the liturgy belongs to the Church Universal and not simply to one individual. Do not let a small mistake cause you stress. I promise you that I would not allow anything to happen˗or fail to happen˗that would impact the validity of the Mass.
Another Thank You: We held a very nice social gathering this past week for our college students. Hopefully, we will continue to reach out to these parishioners and better serve them. I would like to take this opportunity to say Thank You to the parishioner who donated a picnic table for our Parish Center patio. It was a great addition to our campus and worked wonderfully for our event (until the bad weather forced us indoors).
Thank you to everyone who helped with the Parish Festival, either by volunteering or supporting the event. (As I write this the festival has not yet begun but know that I am praying for its success and that you and your family and friends will have a wonderful time.)