D) The Concluding Rites
90.To the Concluding Rites belong the following:
a) brief announcements, should they be necessary;
b) the Priest’s Greeting and Blessing, which on certain days and occasions is expanded and expressed by the Prayer over the People or another more solemn formula;
c) the Dismissal of the people by the Deacon or the Priest, so that each may go back to doing good works, praising and blessing God;
d) the kissing of the altar by the Priest and the Deacon, followed by a profound bow to the altar by the Priest, the Deacon, and the other ministers.
A priest friend sent that to me when I asked him whether it's permissible for me to do the Judas Shuffle (take the body then leave immediately), when I know there is going to be a dog-and-pony show after communion but before the final blessing. My friend said, "You shouldn't leave early like that, for fear of giving scandal to other Catholics, but if the closing rites are being abused, it's okay and, regardless, it's no mortal sin." (My summary; not an actual quote.) He also mentioned that I might want to remind my priest that the concluding rites are pretty straightforward and that they don't contemplate such things.
I say that as an introduction to my annual rant against 9/11 Days. Every year, I irritate people by linking to this Catholic Exchange article that I wrote back in 2005 (for some reason, the first paragraph or two of the column is missing). It's now 2013, and my parish is still playing that saccharine recording, so I'm obliged to rant once again. Excerpt:
Shortly after 9/11, my parish ran that touching, if sickly sentimental, “This is God talking about 9/11” audio. I’m sure you know the one. It’s where God says “I was with you when you dialed your wife to say, ‘I love you.’” A real tear jerker, intentionally so, but the message (God’s omnipotence and omniscience) is good, and, even better, accessible to anyone with a third grade Sunday School education.
But then they played it on New Year's Eve, at the Mass of Holy Mary, Mother of God. It’s a Holy Day of Obligation.
I was annoyed. It delayed my New Year's Eve festivities by 10 minutes, but no big deal.
And then they played it again on the same Holy Day in 2002.
And again in 2003.
Now I was losing my mind. Apparently, someone thought the audio is one of greatest things they ever heard, so they made the decision that the rest of us should hear it… four times.
Which is fine, if done properly. If you think it’s so great, make a general announcement: “After Mass, we’re gonna listen to that melodramatic ’This is God talking about 9/11’ audio.’ Feel free to stick around and cry with us.”
But they didn’t do that. Instead, they fired it up before the final blessing. Which is, of course, before a good Catholic feels comfortable leaving an obligatory Mass.
They, in other words, took advantage of a captive audience . . .
Such coercion is not, to be blunt, cool. If you don’t like this column, link away. If you don’t like a TV show, click away. This is America, where not everyone is going to share your emotions or your need to cry in public.
But as near as I can tell, there are some people who are so cocksure about their emotional state, that they think the rest of us must share it.
If my parish plays the recording yet again, in 2013, it will mark the 15th time (not counting the fact that it is presumably played multiple times each September, at the various Masses).
But I don't mind anymore. I know how to do the Judas Shuffle, and I know I'm justified.
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Yikes, glad my parish hasn’t done anything like that.
Incidentally, they recently moved the announcements from just before the blessing to just before the start of Mass. I like that better, they always seemed awkward sandwiched in between the post communion prayer and the dismissal. Before that, they were right after the prayers of the faithful…
Thankfully, we have been spared from this. I can understand your frustration, however. Have you approached the Pastor about it? Maybe an alternative suggestion would be a Rosary following Mass, for the repose of the souls and for world peace (per Pope Francis re: Syria)….
Maybe finally someone sent your pastor the link to your blog or that article. He presides over the Mass, so he must have felt it was a worthwhile addition to it. I sure hope they didn’t decide to move it to this weekend.
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