St Peter Chanel, Hastings West, is - after that little jewel, St Patrick's Waipawa, and St Joseph's Dannevirke - the church I appreciate more than any other in Hawke's Bay,because the tabernacle is where it's meant to be: dead centre.
These three are the only churches I can think of in the Bay which meet the requirements of church law and the logic of faith. If the Eucharist is the source, centre and summit of our Catholic faith, where else could the Blessed Sacrament reside?
Last Sunday, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, must have been a Youth Mass. The young voices, both singing and speaking, were beautiful and well-rehearsed.
But Holy Mass is not an entertainment. We are not there to be entertained, we're there to take part in the renewal and perpetuation of the Sacrifice of the Cross, the fountain of grace opened by Jesus on Calvary. The Victim is the same, the Priest is the same; the only difference is that in Holy Mass no Blood is shed.
The Encyclical Mediator Dei tells us to "participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, not passively, carelessly and with distractions, but with such ardour and fervor that we shall be closely associated with the High Priest.
- Pretty girls proclaiming the Readings are distraction enough. (But thank you, St Peter Chanel girls, for wearing appropriate clothing, not just frills around your waists.)
- Choirs up front and centre are distracting. Choirs should be to one side, or even better, at the rear where they encourage the congregation to sing.
- The style of singing - Gospel chapel, invoking 'Gard' - was distracting.
- Pretty coloured pictures, constantly changing, displayed on the overhead screens are distracting
. Six 'Eucharistic Ministers' (actually Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, EMHC for short) are, as well as distracting and probably themselves distracted - by worries about doing it right, and/or the people to whom they give Communion who might well walk away carrying the Host and what are they to do about it, and what if someone drops the Host etc - are completely beside the point. There's no need to offer the Chalice; everyone receives the Lord, Body and Blood, in the Host, and Father could well distribute the Host to everyone himself. Especially if everyone were lined up kneeling (or standing, seeing so many have apparently lost the ability to kneel) at an altar rail.