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Catholic Doors Ministry


The revised liturgy of the Second Vatican Council introduced for the first time into the liturgy of the Eucharist (meaning "the Holy Mass") the sign of the cross. The sign of the cross not only invokes the Trinity but also reminds the members of the assembly that they worship together as a people baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit upon them. This sacred sign is a prayer in itself for it is a sign of our redemption and of our dignity as redeemed people. We make the sign of the cross before we pray to collect and compose ourselves and to fix our minds and hearts and wills upon God. We make this sign when we are finished praying in order that we may hold fast the gift we have received from God. We use this sign to ask God for his strength, his grace. This sign is used to invoke God's blessing upon us. This sign should be used with great reverence. When we use this sign at the beginning of our liturgy, we should use a large cross, taking time, thinking of what we do. When you trace this sign on your body, let it take in your whole being, body, soul, mind, will, thoughts, feelings, you're doing and not doing, and by signing it with the cross strengthen and consecrate the whole in the strength of Christ, in the name of the Triune God.

After leading the assembly in making the sign of the cross, the presider (meaning "the priest") greets the assembly with the formal greeting. The greetings listed in the sacramentary are all based in Scripture. Some presiders, in an effort to be more personable, substitute a colloquial greeting like "good morning" for these biblical texts. While sush an attempt is understandable, it manifests a lack of understanding of ritual language and behaviour. In the context of worship and prayer the greetings given or other biblical formulas are much more appropriate.

[Source: St. Paul Roman Catholic Parish Bulletin, Saskatoon, SK, Canada, February 10, 2008]

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