November 17th (Liturgy Info Only)

I.  Introduction
   A.  The Purpose and Pastoral Goal of This Series
      1.  Understanding the liturgy and where we are in history
      2.  To help the faithful find peace and unity in the liturgy
   B.  The big picture
      1.  The East & West
      2.  The role of the liturgy in the church
         Preserves and presents the sacraments
         A wealth of sacramentality
        A sign and source of unity

      3.  The Roman Rite

Week Five:  The Roman Rite

Up to this point the role of the liturgy in the church has been presented regardless of Oriental or Latin origins.  Before proceeding it should be noted that within the Latin (Western) Church there are several rites other than the Roman. They are ancient local rites and are celebrated in the regions to which they are proper.  Among them are the Gallican, Ambrosian and Spanish rites.  As such they are largely unknown to the majority of Latin Catholics.  The dominant rite within the Latin Church is the Roman Rite.  The question we will consider, in brief, is what makes the Roman Rite of the Latin Church (the one we celebrated here at St. Thomas) unique?

First, the Roman Rite is the liturgy of Rome.  As already noted, because of the singular role of the Roman Church not only in the universal church but also liturgically in the West, the Roman Rite is the rite experienced by most Catholics world-wide.  Like all authentic liturgies, their core elements are derived from Christ and the Old Testament.  The regional influence, regulated by the bishops of the church, forged the rest.  Consequently our liturgy is distinctly Roman in its movement, tone, gestures and styles.  Adjustments are made to these elements throughout history as discerned by the bishops of the church.  It is important to note that the bishops normally act as a college through their head, the pope.  For the sake of unity, the bishops may not unilaterally alter the liturgy except in very limited ways in accordance with liturgical law.  For this reason the liturgy experienced here at St. Thomas is distinctly the same as that celebrated by the bishop in Charlotte or the Holy Father in Rome.  You should feel quite at home when tuning into to a televised Mass from St. Peter’s in Rome, whether it’s the midnight Mass at Christmas or the Easter Vigil.

Second, the Roman Rite has been traditionally characterized by “noble simplicity.”  These terms are relative.  What is noble or simple to one may be not be to another.  Therefore it is important to understand that these terms characterize the Roman Rite as compared to the Eastern (Oriental) Liturgies.  Eastern liturgies, compared to the Roman Rite, are usually more elaborate and lengthy.  If you have ever been to an Eastern liturgy then you understand.  I recommend going on YouTube and searching “eastern catholic liturgy” so that you have a point of reference.  Keep in mind that our liturgy and theirs are in their essence the same.  If you are inclined, you can join the Ukrainian Catholic mission of St. Basil in our parish chapel.  Monthly a priest comes and celebrates the Most Holy Eucharist for this community.  Please consider it a part of the richness at St. Thomas from which our parishioners may benefit. 

Fr. Winslow

Week #1 Week #2 Week #3 Week #4



Letters from the Pastor

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