A bishop who gets it on the liturgy

A bishop who gets it on the liturgy

Bishop Robert Morlino, previously of Helena, Mont, and now in Madison, Wisc., sent a letter to the priests of Helena earlier this year on implementing the new norms from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. He gives great reasoning and instruction on why we should kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer and during Communion. He also discusses the posture during the Our Father and other hot button liturgical issues.

It’s a model letter from a bishop to his priests on proper liturgy.

  • Yes, that part stood out for me, too. I guess the thinking is that the “orans” posture is an ancient for of prayer that has re-entered the culture. Personally, I don’t like it during Mass and generally stand with my hands folded in front of me.

    … Except in those times when I’m at my mom’s parish for Mass with her and she taps my hand, expecting me to hold hers during the Our Father. Liturgical preferences are one thing, but when it’s your mom what are you going to do?

  • I love this letter. But I’m thinking maybe there’s one tiny typo regarding the orans prayer position in which the words “in imitation of the priest” snuck by the proof reader.

    Because the “orans” position isn’t like the celebrant’s position during the Pater Noster at all. The celebrant’s arms are clearly outstretched. One using the orans position merely— I wish I could draw this—keeps his arms close to his sides, and, instead of having his hands closed in prayer he opens them, upturning them toward Heaven, so to speak.

    For me, it’s just simpler to folk my hands in prayer.


  • My question is why we are supposed to do something different during the Our Father as opposed to at all other times during the Mass. Is there something supposed to be peculiar about the Our Father that demands a different response than other prayers, like the Gloria, the Sanctus, or the Agnus Dei?

  • Although you might say the words of consecration are Jesus’ own words. But then we all aren’t saying them (I hope!)

    I guess I just never understood the significance of holding hands during the prayer. If it’s supposed to symbolize our unity as children of God, it’s redundant since the whole Mass is a communal act that unites us as children of God. We may as well hold hands during Communion since that’s the real sign of unity. I hope I didn’t just give some liturgist an idea I’ll regret.