A firestorm is erupting around the new Missal, as people are discovering that their local priest or bishop is not following the new script. The requirement in some areas to stay standing after communion is causing a lot of angst.
If this is a problem in your parish, my advice is to start by learning what your bishop is mandating. It is only after you know that the requirement to stay standing is coming from your bishop that you should contact the Nunio and the Vatican (adresses provided below).
Why do I emphasize this? Because a priest’s actions do not always reflect the bishop’s marching orders.
Last Sunday, I attended Mass at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Ottawa. During the homily, the priest explained some of the changes to the Mass, noting that we were “invited” to stay standing after communion. Most people figured that “invited” was church-speak for “required”. So many people, including me and my friend, stayed standing after communion, out of obedience. I hated it. I couldn’t pray because I was so upset about this militaristic requirement.
After Mass, I read the Cathedral’s parish bulletin. It contained a letter written by Archbishop Prendergast in which he explains some of the changes in the new Missal. He explained that standing after communion was not mandatory:
Some liturgical experts have suggested that the congregation remain standing until the lasts person has received Holy Communion at which point people kneel or sit in reverent prayer. When queried whether people may kneel or sit on returning to their place after receiving Holy Communion as, generally speaking, we have been accustomed to doing, the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship said that the expression of unity should not be so emphasized that people are not free to kneel or sit in prayer after Communion.
So the Archbishop wasn’t forcing people in Ottawa to stay standing. The priest should have been clearer in his explanation about the matter.
If your parish is forcing you to stay standing, consult with the diocese to receive the official position of the bishop. If the bishop is mandating this, then its time to go to a higher authority. Fr. Z provides some excellent tips on writing to the Vatican here. Follow his tips.
Here are addresses.
Archbishop Pedro López Quintana
Apostolic Nuncio to Canada
724 Manor Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K1M 0E3
Tel.: (613) 746-4914
Fax: (613) 746-4786
Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera
Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Palazzo delle Congregazioni
Piazza Pio XII, 10