Liturgy is an encounter with the Lord that brings a change of heart
Pope Francis on Feb. 14, 2019 met with 80 participants in a plenary assembly discussing the liturgical formation of the people of God. The assembly was for the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
The Pope emphasized that we must rediscover the reality of the sacred liturgy, and not reduce it. "The starting point is to recognize the reality of the sacred liturgy," he said. "It is a living treasure that cannot be reduced to tastes, recipes or current trends. It must be welcomed with docility and promoted with love as an irreplaceable food for the organic growth of God's people. The liturgy is not a 'do it yourself,' but the Epiphany of ecclesial communion.”
The Holy Father spoke of the need to provide a liturgical formation of both the faithful and clergy so that they may encounter the Lord in the liturgical celebrations that can bring about a change of heart. “We know that it is not enough to change the liturgical books to improve the quality of the liturgy. For life to be truly a praise pleasing to God, it is necessary to change the heart,” Pope Francis stated. “The Christian celebration is oriented towards this conversion, which is the encounter of life with the ‘God of the living’.”
Since "liturgy is life that forms, not an idea to be learned" and it can lead to a conversion through the embracing of the Lord's way of thinking and behaving, the Pope said that liturgical formation is not simply about offering knowledge or safeguarding the proper fulfillment of ritual disciplines.
In the liturgical formation, the Holy Father said, both the pastors and laity should learn to grasp the liturgy's meaning and symbolic language, including art, song and music in the service of the celebrated mystery.
LECTORS proclaim the Word of God to the liturgical assembly. The ministry of the Word, properly done with clarity and conviction, can awaken faith in those who hear the Word proclaimed.
COMMUNION MINISTERS serve the Body and Blood of Christ, the consecrated bread and wine, during the Communion rite. Some of them are trained to bring the Holy Eucharist to the sick and homebound at their own homes, or at Westgate Convalescent Home.
ALTAR SERVERS are boys and girls who have been trained to assist the priest and the liturgical assembly at Mass. The role of the altar server is not merely functional, but is integral to the normal celebration of the Mass.
USHERS greet and welcome the assembly before Mass. They also take up the collection at Mass, circulate timely envelopes or seasonal materials, and can assist with seating the congregation.
MUSIC MINISTERS are not performers although they should have the necessary skills. “The primary role of music in the Liturgy is to help the members of the gathered assembly to join themselves with the actions of Christ and give voice to the gift of faith.” (Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship; USCCB, 2007.)
SACRISTANS are trained to set up the church for Mass. These men and women are present before every Mass, weekdays and weekends, setting up the altar, along with other miscellaneous duties, and then doing the clean-up following the Mass.
THE ALTAR SOCIETY is a group of ladies and men who devote time once a month to care for the altar and church. A few of their duties are to dust and change altar cloths when needed, fill the holy water stoups, remove wax from brass candle holders, wash and iron purificators, dust the Sacristy, change flowers, etc.