Monday, November 28, 2011

"Agnus Dei" as filler

                                                                      Agnus Dei

At the local parish, having found that it takes a long time to fill up all the chalices of consecrated wine and the silver bowls of hosts for the use of the eucharistic ministers, it has been decided to camouflage this halt in the proceedings by extending the "Agnus Dei" with more or less improvised verses.  So, in addition to the well known "Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world," we listen to the gesticulating woman at the microphone sing "Lamb of God, who does this," and "Lamb of God, who does that" until the priest and permanent deacon (who does most of the actual work) have had sufficient time to complete their task.  Yesterday, I counted 14 persons besides the priest standing about the altar, so this interval filled several minutes.   Didn't seem especially dignified, much less reverent.  This is followed by the next halt in the proceedings, which I call "the Communion of the In Crowd," as the fourteen persons standing about the altar, plus the organist and choir, communicate under both species.  This dead stop is camouflaged by having the gesticulating woman at the microphone sing the communion hymn, to which the congregation responds as kindergartners do to the distribution of blankets and pillows at naptime.