What is Liturgy? Part I
What is Liturgy? Part I

This column was initiated in January of 2002 with a series on “The Liturgy.”  The series has been reworked and is presented again for those who may have missed it the first time or would like to revisit the material.  Thank you for your support of Liturgy Matters. Your opinions and comments have been very encouraging.  

One of the results of the Second Vatican Council was the desire of the Church Fathers to revitalize our worship experience by reforming the ritual actions of the Mass. 
Their aim was to bring about full, active and conscious participation by the people, who, although they faithfully attended the celebration of Sunday Mass, were often times unaware of all that was taking place in their midst.

The word liturgy comes from the Greek word lietourgia meaning the work of the people.  Liturgy refers to any official form of public worship. 

In his book, “Worshipping Well: A Mass Guide for Planners and Participants”, Fr. Lawrence Mick helps us to look at our liturgy by stepping back to gain a larger perspective.  We begin by naming the four basic elements of any human celebration:

A gathering of those who will celebrate together
Communication between those assembled, taking a variety of forms
Sacred ritual, commonly involving food and drink
Some kind of leave taking or dismissal

These elements happen in a variety of forms and are found in any “get-together”, from a tea party for a child’s imaginary friends to a formal banquet, from a group of teens gathering together to “party” to the official inauguration of a president.

To illustrate this, over the next few weeks, we’ll make a comparison of these elements as found in our Eucharistic celebration (Mass), as well as in our common experience of gathering for a family dinner party.  Along the way perhaps we may improve our understanding of the Mass and further enrich the continued implementation of vibrant, meaningful worship here at Holy Trinity.     (May 1, 2005)

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