“For the liturgy, “through which the work of redemption is accomplished,” is the means whereby the faithful may express in their lives, and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church…The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed and at the same time it is font from which all her power flows” (Sacrosanctum Concilium [Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy] 2, 10).

Why must we celebrate the liturgy of the Church?
It is abundantly clear from the quote above from Sacrosanctum Concilium (The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), one of four constitutions promulgated at the Second Vatican Council, which all hold the highest authority in the Roman Church, that the liturgy is the most important thing that we do as Roman Catholics. As the Liturgy Constitution is clear the “liturgy is the summit towards which all the activity of the church is directed and at the same time the font from which all her power flows” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 2,10).

What is the goal of all liturgical celebrations?
Sacrosanctum Concilium also makes it abundantly clear that when the liturgy is celebrated, “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people is their right and duty by reason of their baptismthis full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else” (14).

How is the current health pandemic affecting the liturgy of the Church?
Unfortunately our world is suffering through a health pandemic which has closed and locked church doors and stopped the gathering of the baptized (essential for liturgy to occur) and for most, their liturgical life has ceased.

What is Church doing to keep the liturgy alive and celebrated?
The most common occurrence that is happening in dioceses throughout the U.S. is the video taping (mostly live streaming) Mass. And so these videos/streams will obviously have an ordained priest as the celebrant with probably the least amount of other ministers necessary to keep from the spreading of disease.

Is this the best option to celebrate liturgy?
The question really becomes, “Is watching a video of these liturgical celebrations, even if it’s live, the best option for the baptized?” The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy greatly suggests an arousing, “NO!” It is literally an oxymoron to say one is “watching Mass” and taking part of the celebration if not physically present at the Eucharistic Table (the one exception being when Eucharist is brought to the sick or homebound directly from Mass, then those poor sick or homebound souls are taking part in the celebration of that Mass), other than that all one is doing at this point is watching a live stream or video, (not really much different than watching a live sport’s game). It is impossible to enter into that high level of physical and spiritual full, conscious and active participation described (which again is “the aim to be considered before all else” and is our “right and duty by reason of our baptism”) by watching a live video of Eucharist (Mass).

continue on to “Why Liturgy of the Hours and why especially now?”