The renowned liturgist and writer, Robert Hovda, reminds us, “To speak of the environmental and artistic requirements in Catholic worship, we have to begin with ourselves—we who are the church. While it is common to use the same name to speak of the building in which the assembly of believers worship, such use is misleading. In the words of ancient Christians, the building used for worship is called domus ecclesiae, the house of the church.”
Hovda stresses that Catholics must continue to bring about the depth of the reform which was the real business of the Second Vatican Council. One of the primary focuses was the realization that “the church gathers as one body” and, “the most powerful experience of the sacred is found in the celebration and the actions of the persons celebrating—the action of the assembly.”
“The entire assembly is the primary minister in liturgy. Thus, we need to question ourselves when we regard the church building as a service station for individual Christians rather than as the gathering place of the faith community. The multiplication of masses on Sunday is a clear example of how necessity is the mother of corruption. Somewhere along the line we asked for a second Sunday liturgy to accommodate our growing numbers. This reluctant concession to necessity became the norm and now we think there’s something wrong if don’t offer a separate Eucharist for every different time schedule and preference.”
Last fall, in writing about “the opportunities” that have come to us along with the tragic consequences of the pandemic, I stressed the powerful beauty and witness of ALL OF US being together at the table of the Lord. There is a unique blessing that happens when the “local church” gathers as one. It is like the experience of the first Christian communities. One bread, one cup, one meal…. And those who were homebound, were brought their share of the meal by “diakonos,” servants who cared for many through their outreach.
I recognize how the Sunday gatherings at Resurrection are growing. This is grace, a blessing to be sure. And, no doubt, we may one day need to consider “options” out of necessity. But while we have this moment, I give thanks to God, and to you, the Church of Resurrection. You are loving, strong and wise.
Fr. Greg Corrigan