Based on a true story
Non-Catholic Visitor with a Missal (NCVWM)
Someone from the back
Praise band drummer
NCVWM: When does Mass start?
Me: Pretty soon.
Organist finishes up prelude. Most people have gathered for Mass. The choir begins to sing the introit.
NCVWM: Was the organ the beginning or is this?
Me: The organ music was a prelude. An introit is the music and text that is prescribed to be sung as the priest enters to begin Mass.
NCVWM: Why isn’t he coming in?
Me: Because, at this parish, the introit is done as a sort of prelude. We’re lucky. In most parishes, they don’t do the introit at all.
NCVWM: But I thought the organ just did the prelude.
Me: Yes, but…
Choir finishes prelude. Cantor takes the mic in the sanctuary.
Cantor: Good morning!
People: (mumbling) Good morning.
Cantor: Today is the umpteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today’s readings reflect on how God… yada yada…
NCVWM: What’s going on?
Me: The cantor is welcoming us and inviting us to sing the gathering hymn.
NCVWM: Aren’t we already gathered?
Me: Yes, but…
Cantor: …please stand and greet our celebrant by singing Gather us in.
NCVWM: We sing the song to welcome the celebrant? Isn’t he sort of the host?
NCVWM: So is Mass starting now?
Pianist pounds introduction, cantor blasts through the speaker, and people melumble (verb: to mumble melodiously). Lay ministers enter carrying book and crucifix, followed by the priest. Priest reaches the altar, kisses it, goes to his chair and speaks into the microphone.
Priest: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
NCVWM: Ah, now Mass has really begun!
Priest: Good morning!
People (mumbling): Good morning.
Priest: Oh, it’s so good to be back from vacation. I really missed you all, but I had a great time. How about those Giants? Does anyone know how the game is going?
Someone from the back: Last I heard they were ahead by 4 runs!
NCVWM: This isn’t in my missal. Has Mass started?
Me: Well, sort of. I guess the priest is taking a time out.
Priest: At this time, I’d like you to turn to your neighbor and greet them.
People awkwardly greet their neighbors.
Priest: Are there any visitors today? Please raise your hand.
NCVWM: Should I raise my hand?
Me: Please don’t. Let’s get this show on the road.
Priest: Hi, Where’ya from?
Introductions go on for five minutes.
Priest: Today we gather to celebrate the umpteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time.
NCVWM: So. Has Mass begun?
Priest: Today’s readings reflect on how God.. yada yada. God’s merciful love… yada yada.
NCVWM: Hmm. Is this the homily? What happened to the readings and stuff?
Me: No, he’s still in time out. Or you could call this the second homily…
NCVWM: How many are there?
Me: There’s just supposed to be one, you know, after the Gospel. But give people a mic, and they will talk…
NCVWM: So. Has Mass actually begun?
Priest: As we come together to celebrate the sacred mysteries, let us call to mind our sins.
NCVWM: So, has Mass…
Praise band drummer (clicking drumsticks): One, two, three, four!
Praise band begins to play a rock Kyrie
NCVWM: I didn’t have time to call to mind my sins…
Me: Well, now they’re rushing to get us out in time for the end of the game.
NCVWM: But, Mass has really begun now, right?
Me: For now…
NCVWM: Why did we have organ and chant before Mass, and now we have a rock band during Mass?
Me: The church gives pride of place and high esteem, respectively, to Gregorian chant and the pipe organ.
Praise band begins Gloria. Cantor, in Disney princess voice begins, and people echo, melumbling.
NCVWM: But not during Mass?
Me: In theory, but not in practice.
Gloria ends. Priest prays an improvised prayer. The people say Amen and take their seats.
NCVWM: This is nuts. This is not what’s in your missal. Can he just make stuff up?
Me: He’s not supposed to.
NCVWM: Where can I find a Mass where they do what the missal says?
Me: Probably at an Extraordinary Form Mass, but then you’d need a different missal.