less is more

Oct 1, 2014

I noticed a New Zealand Catholic article this morning that shows a Palmerston North parish seeking to grow in appreciation of the liturgy. The brief article begins “Less is more. That is the policy of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit when it comes to projecting texts on screen during Mass.”

A couple of years ago the Liturgical Commission of the Christchurch diocese was asked by a parish for some guidelines for the use of projectors and screens in churches during the celebration of the liturgy. Our commission gave this a lot of thought, and acknowledged that while these can be useful for people who are learning to pray the Mass, too easily an unhelpful dependance can grow. It is unfortunate when in the heart of the Eucharistic Prayer the attention of worshippers is turned away from the altar and towards a screen to follow the text of the Memorial Acclamation.

In some parishes images and explanations are projected during the Mass, perhaps in an attempt to make the Mass more interesting? But these albeit well-intentioned aids implicitly suggest that the simple fact of Jesus present in Word and Eucharist is not interesting enough for our screen-centred society. A daily sign of this is the group of friends sitting together each focussed on their own social-media screen conversation.

Other communities have begun to use one of the many missals and hymnals available, giving worshippers a choice of how much or how little to follow the printed text depending on their familiarity with the prayers of the Mass.

The Palmerston North Cathedral article shows a parish seeking to be discerning about the use of technology during Mass. The parish Liturgy committee is leading this discernment, asking questions such as:  “maybe Mass time is the time when we have no screens. We focus on the people and the Word and the Eucharist.”

You can read the New Zealand Catholic article at this link: Palmerston North Cathedral Decides Less is More

The Newsletter of the Liturgical Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch: Guidelines for the Use of Projectors and Screens during the celebration of the Mass.

and for the parish or community looking for a good pew missal or hymnal, the website of a good friend of mine Adam Bartlett whose publications are sought after by parishes, schools and religious communities especially in the United States: Illuminare Publications



1 Comment

  1. I totally agree. In 1982, as a new Catholic, I wanted silent spaces in the Mass so I could reflect on the beauty of the liturgy. Now it is internalised and it remains an inner journey, connection with the Presence in Words, Eucharist and the people around me, feeding my soul. Technology has a separate kind of “noise.” We should use it with discretion.


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