As we all know, the new revised order of Mass will be upon us from the first week of Advent this year. This will be a challenge for Priests and parishioners alike, especially those who have memorised the Liturgy by rote after years of repetition. All of a sudden, the familiar words have changed, and will necessitate a slower, more thoughtful reading, which can't be a bad thing. But for a while, I would expect a fumbling through Missals, or printed Mass sheets for a while...
But no, our Priest has decided that a PowerPoint screen above the altar with the revised words on will do.
When he announced this at the end of Vigil Mass on Saturday, there was an audible gasp which rippled around the sanctuary. He assured us that it wouldn't "get in the way of the Sacrament" but that it was about time the Church "joined the modern world". My heart plummeted like a stone, and I felt tears spring to my eyes, my reaction was so strong. The thought of having a PP screen hanging suspended above the altar, obscuring the view of the beautiful crucifix of the risen Christ, was just too much to bear. No consultation, no discussion, just a fait accompli. It will be fitted in anticipation of the changes this Tuesday.
I have examined my objections over the weekend, and just feel very strongly that there is another, better way. It is possible to buy laminated Pew Cards with the revised Liturgy on, for a the meagre cost of around £35 per 100. A screen would not only be distracting, but would detract from the visual imagery, symbolism and beauty of the Mass. PP screens may well work in protestant evangelical churches, but please, please not in the Catholic Church. My dismay just grows and grows.
There may be some who just don't *get* my objections, my sinking heart...but it is, in fact, just one more disappointment in a long line. I have struggled for 6 years to settle into my parish, which is not conducive to meditation or devotion due to the noise prior to Mass; I have tried to offer the distractions up, to be accepting and forgiving of those around me, to create a bubble around myself so that I can connect with God in the quiet of my heart before Mass. There have been times I've walked away only to be drawn back by my conscience and to persevere. I have thought often of dear, sweet, strong St. Therese offering up her fidgeting sisters, rattling their Rosary beads during Mass (oh if the only distractions I had to contend with were rattling Rosary beads!!) and given it another go. I have accepted the lack of spiritual formation, the infrequent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and the fact the when in need of forgiveness, you have to go and find the Priest who is never in the confessional at the allotted time. Perhaps I have accepted too much. But now...I honestly feel in my heart, I cannot attend Mass with a PP screen hanging above the altar. The pile has toppled over.
There is a small village RC Church a few miles down the road from me which I can easily get to on public transport (not being able to drive). I think it is about time I made a move. Of course, I shall let my Priest know my feelings, but I doubt it will make any difference.
If there are any Priests reading this, please, please don't go down this route. Please look at alternative methods of instructing the faithful. There are some, like me, who find all sorts of things a real distraction to worship, whether visual media, loud inappropriate music etc. We're not obstructive, or cranky. We just hope for an atmosphere which is conducive to entering into the Mystery of mysteries, the perpetual, unceasing sacrifice which is the Mass. I don't think it's too much to ask, do you?