Dear Friends in Christ,
In the service of helping everyone participate more deeply in divine worship …
Upon entering the church, please a dip a finger into the holy water near the door, and then trace the sign of the Cross on your forehead, heart, and shoulders. This is a remembrance of Holy Baptism by which we were born again and of Lord’s Cross by which we are freed from our sins.
Upon reaching the pew, please face the tabernacle and genuflect by bending one knee down to the floor and standing back up. This is an act of worship and a confession of faith in the real presence of Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar reserved in the tabernacle. For those unable to genuflect, a profound bow of the upper body from the waist is appropriate, and for those unable to do either, another sign of the Cross will suffice. The important thing is that the heart and mind be lifted up in adoration of Christ present in every tabernacle of the world.
After taking a seat, please still your mind and voice and prepare to enter into the sacred mysteries by recollecting all thoughts and feelings and directing them to the Throne of Grace. For some people, silent prayer is the best to do this; for others, reading the scriptural lessons for that Mass is a good preparation. But all should prepare.
Being a participant in the sacred liturgy is different from being a spectator of other people praying, so each participant should stand, sit, bow, and kneel when indicated, and those who cannot do these things in the body can do them in the heart. Everyone should also speak or sing each text of the ritual when appropriate, remembering that in the liturgy, we speak slowly, thoughtfully, reverently, and deliberately. Rushing through the Confiteor, the Creed, or the Our Father like a train running downhill is not conducive to peaceful worship, so be mindful of the need to SLOW DOWN in liturgical speech.
The confession of unworthiness which we all make before the Communion procession begins is composed of four sense lines, not two. So please be careful to pause after each of the four segments: Lord, I am not worthy (PAUSE) that you should come under my roof (PAUSE) but only say the word (PAUSE) and my soul shall be healed.
Finally, each person who receives Holy Communion should clearly say “Amen” after the acclamation “The Body of Christ” and before the act of receiving Communion. The “Amen” should be loud enough for the Communion minister to hear because it is a confession of faith which must precede the administration of the sacrament.
Through all of these means we worship the living God in spirit and truth.