As my time here as pastor I have tried to make sure that Sunday Mass is celebrated well. The Mass should be an experience of mystery and love. First, our love for Almighty God and God’s love for us revealed in the Sacred Mysteries. Our prayers, our singing, our silence, our standing, and our kneeling draw us closer together into the Body of Christ, the Church.
You may also remember that I have on occasion stood on the same side of the altar as the faithful in the pews as allowed by the Rubric of the Mass, the red directives in the Missal which guides the priest during Mass. I did hear a few comments about having my back to the people but, in reality, we are all facing the same way, looking ahead towards the coming of the Lord who will come from the east, symbolized by the rising sun. (the back wall of the sanctuary is considered east no matter which true direction the compass points) Think of our pilgrimage as we are all walking together to meet the Lord. In the military group, the captain leads knowing that the troops are right behind him. So it is with the priest at the Altar facing the same way as the faithful in the pews. He knows that the faithful are following right behind.
Perhaps folks in the pews should not consider themselves an audience, but as a more supporting cast in the unfolding of the drama we call the Mass. It is the people in the pew who gather behind the priest at the altar. When I offer the bread and wine, you too are invited to offer your spiritual gifts to God our heavenly Father. So who might we consider the audience if it is not the people in the pew? To whom are all the prayers addressed? It is Almighty God and in some sense the rest of the world. When you as faithful members of the Church recognize your role to play in the Mass, it becomes more meaningful and important. If we are just spectators in the Liturgy of the Mass we do a disservice to Almighty God.
Blessings, Fr. Dooley