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|Meeting Christ in the Liturgy|
Instruction of the Roman Missal
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QUERY 1: In churches without an altar facing the people should the priest in the celebration of Mass turn toward the congregation as he says: «The peace of the Lord be with you always» and «Let us offer each other a sign of peace»? REPLY: Yes. The rubric in the Order of Mass with a congregation no. 128 directs that the priest speaks these words while facing the congregation: Not 6 (1970) 264, no. 39.
QUERY 2: In some places there is a current practice whereby those taking part in the Mass replace the giving of the sign of peace at the deacon's invitation by holding hands during the singing of the Lord's Prayer. Is this acceptable? REPLY: The prolonged holding of hands is of itself a sign of communion rather than of peace. Further, it is a liturgical gesture introduced spontaneously but on personal initiative; it is not in the rubrics. Nor is there any clear explanation of why the sign of peace at the invitation: «Let us offer each other the sign of peace» should be supplanted in order to bring a different gesture with less meaning into another part of the Mass: the sign of peace is filled with meaning, graciousness, and Christian inspiration. Any substitution for it must be repudiated: Not 11 (1975) 226.
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