Church lenten No No’s

Good morning, good people,
May the Lord give you His Peace!

Since becoming ordained in Easter Week of 1983 I have lived in two Dioceses (Ordained for Brooklyn, NY, and Incardinated into the Savannah, GA, Diocese after moving here), and have visited a great many others both in the US From Massachussetts to Florida and over to Kentucky and Missouri and in the West Indies and Europe.  I have assisted at Masses as Deacon in almost all of these and simply attended from the pews in others.  I have seen much and have cringed a great many times.  I have been edified and scandalized.  I have complained many times to no avail because of the pastor’s listening to his so-called “Liturgist” or Liturgy Committee (who read some wild ideas somewhere on how to make this or that part of the Mass “more meaningful”) instead of reading/saying the Black (the actual words of the prayers as printed in the Missal) and doing the Red (the “stage directions” printed in the Missal) or the the actions as outlined in the General Instruction to the Roman Missal (GIRM) or the changes to the GIRM that are approved by the Conference of Bishops.  Lent and Holy Week seemed to be especially vulnerable to these wild ideas – examples:
sand in the Fonts in place of the Holy Water, 
washing everybody’s hands on Holy Thursday,
staging a “Passion Play” in the Sanctuary on Palm/Passion Sunday and Good Friday instead of the reading of the Passion Narrative,
excluding the Deacon(s) and/or Priest(s) (who are present) from reading the Passion with only laity taking the parts and having a woman specifically taking the part of the Christ
Organ accompaniment behind the reading of the Passion
the choir/congregation singing some sort of non-liturgical “antiphon” at various places during the Passion Narrative or other Gospel Readings  (example: Singing “Take the stone away, come out, come out.” at various places during the Gospel that recounts the Raising of Lazarus {Year “A” Readings)
I could go on and on….But here is something specific in this regard:
In 1988 the Holy See published a circular letter on the Easter celebrations. No. 33 deals with the readings of the Passion:
”The passion narrative occupies a special place. It should be sung or read in the traditional way, that is, by three persons who take the part of Christ, the narrator, and the people. The passion is proclaimed by deacons or priests, or by lay readers. In the latter case, the part of the Christ should be reserved to the priest.”
Deacon Dennis, OFS

6 Liturgical No-No’s During Lent

by Jimmy Akin Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Should we have holy water in the fonts during Lent or should they turn into little ash trays? What does the Church say?
Like other liturgical seasons, Lent has its own special rules, and there are certain things that should not be done in Lent.
Here are 6 of them . . .
1. Instrumental music with no singing
In some parishes, instrumental music is used at certain points during Mass. A passage will be played on an organ or on another instrument or instruments, even though nobody is singing.
But not in Lent (with a few exceptions).
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) states:
313. In Lent the playing of the organ and musical instruments is allowed only in order to support the singing. Exceptions, however, are Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts.
2. Singing or saying the Gloria
Just after Sunday Mass begins, it is common to sing or say the Gloria (“Glory to God in the highest”).
But not on the Sundays of Lent.
The General Instruction states:
53. The Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) . . . is sung or said on Sundays outside Advent and Lent, and also on Solemnities and Feasts, and at particular celebrations of a more solemn character.
3. Singing or saying the Alleleuia before the Gospel
During most of the year we sing or say the Alleluia before the reading of the Gospel.
But not in Lent.
The General Instruction states:
62. a) The Alleluia is sung in every time of year other than Lent. The verses are taken from the Lectionary or the Graduale.
b) During Lent, instead of the Alleluia, the verse before the Gospel as given in the Lectionary is sung. It is also possible to sing another Psalm or Tract, as found in the Graduale.
 4. Flowers on the altar
It is common for the altar to be decorated with flowers during most of the year (that is, there will be flowers around the altar, though not on top of the altar table itself).
But not in Lent (with a few exceptions).
The General Instruction states:
305. During Lent it is forbidden for the altar to be decorated with flowers. Exceptions, however, are Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts.

5. Emptying holy water fonts
In recent years, some parishes have taken the holy water out of the holy water fonts during Lent. They have even filled them with sand in some cases.
The idea, they say, is to convey the thought that Lent is a time of spiritual dryness–a “desert” experience–that precedes Easter, in which we refrain from using the sacramental of holy water.
Despite its popularity in some places, this practice is not permitted.
It has been the Church’s practice to empty the holy water fonts during Triduum, but for a different reason. It is not permitted to have them empty through the whole season of Lent.

The Congregation for Divine Worship has stated:
This Dicastery is able to respond that the removing of Holy Water from the fonts during the season of Lent is not permitted, in particular, for two reasons:
1. The liturgical legislation in force does not foresee this innovation, which in addition to being “praeter legem” [i.e., “apart from the law”] is contrary to a balanced understanding of the season of Lent, which though truly being a season of penance, is also a season rich in the symbolism of water and baptism, constantly evoked in liturgical texts.
2. The encouragement of the Church that the faithful avail themselves frequently of the sacraments is to be understood to apply also to the season of Lent. The “fast” and “abstinence” which the faithful embrace in this season does not extend to abstaining from the sacraments or sacramentals of the Church. 
The practice of the Church has been to empty the Holy Water fonts on the days of the Sacred Triduum in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil, and it corresponds to those days on which the Eucharist is not celebrated (i.e., Good Friday and Holy Saturday) [3/14/03: Prot. N. 569/00/L].
6. Veiling crosses and statues before the Fifth Sunday of Lent
In recent years, some parishes in the United States have veiled or otherwise removed crosses and statues as soon as Lent begins.
They’re jumping the gun.
This practice is permitted beginning with the Fifth Sunday of Lent, but not before.

The Roman Missal states:
In the Dioceses of the United States, the practice of covering crosses and images throughout the church from this [Fifth] Sunday may be observed.
Crosses remain covered until the end of the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, but images remain covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.
Notice that the practice is option (the practice “may be observed” not “is to be observed”).

If it is not observed, in a particular parish, from the Fifth Sunday of Lent, there is additional encouragement to do remove or veil crosses after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday.

The rubrics in the Roman Missal for that day state:
At an appropriate time, the altar is stripped and, if possible, the crosses are removed from the church.

It is expedient that any crosses which remain in the church be veiled.
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