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Mass Moment Enriches Understanding


St Agatha
Portland, OR
Archdiocese of Portland
United States

More Info

For more information, email Fr. Slider Steuernol.

The Mass explained one day at a time...

"I have done this for about three years and people really like it. It takes very little time, is easy to do, and can really help educate the faithful in the 'whys' of Mass which they may have never heard explained," states Fr. Slider Steuernol of Portland, OR.

The need it meets

Too many faithful parishioners just go through the motions at Mass, simply because no one has explained to them what the details of the liturgy mean. Small explanations can have a big impact on their level of active participation.

Where it came from

A member of the Pastoral Council made the suggestion and the pastor decided to do it.

How it works

The priest takes 30 seconds to a minute at the end of each Mass, just before the dismissal, and gives a "Mass Moment."

  • He explains the meaning of some part of the Mass or some sign or symbol used in the Mass.
  • It is fine to repeat.
  • It takes very little time, is easy to do, and can really help educate the faithful in the "whys" of Mass which they have never heard explained.

The results

The pastor has done this for about three years and has received much positive feedback. People have a greater understanding of why we celebrate the Mass in the manner we do, and they live the liturgy more deeply and personally:

  • "As a recent convert to the Catholic Faith from my protestant experience, I am intrigued by the rituals, historic, and inner-reflective moments that occur during Mass. "Mass Moments" give me perspective and insight into the big picture. Sometimes small tidbits about our faith cause me to look deeper at certain topics. Although RCIA was somewhat comprehensive, it isn't able to cover everything about the Catholic faith. I like to learn something new each and every day," said Brant Blodgett.

  • "I like the "Mass Moments" because they focus on things not in the homily. . . [They] detail things we do in Mass, and why we do them. It is helpful to know the reasons for what we do," stated Alison Sample.

Key elements

Keep it simple! Here are some examples which have been used as point of information for the parishioners:

  • Why do we cross ourselves over the forehead, mouth, and heart before reading the Gospel
  • Why we have times of silence after readings, homily, etc.
  • How to receive communion
  • The meaning of the liturgical vestments
  • Why we carry the Gospel into church at the start of Mass
  • What are holy oils and how are they used

How to implement it

Explain you will be giving a Mass Moment regularly at the end of Mass to help explain Mass practices, and then do it. You could ask people to request Mass Moments they would like to hear about.

Fr. Slider Steuernol is pastor of St Agatha.

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