12/20/2017, 12.00
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Pope: 'teach children to make the sign of the Cross properly”

The priest  "salutes the altar with a bow and, as a sign of veneration, kisses it and incenses it. Why? Because the altar is Christ and when we look at the altar we look at Christ ". "It is not a good habit to look at your watch and think “I’ll leave after the homily, I will have respected the precept'. That’s not the case".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Have you seen how many children make the sign of the Cross?", "They do not know what they are doing", they make a gesture that "looks like a scribble", "teach children to make the sign of the Cross properly" , Pope Francis recommended twice today during his catechesis for the general audience.

Eight thousand people were present in the Paul VI hall, for the latest instalment in Francis’ cycle on the Mass, this week dedicated to "Introductory Rites".

"Introduced by some preparatory rites and concluded by others", the celebration is "a single body and cannot be separated, but for a better understanding I will try to explain its various moments, each of which is able to touch and involve a dimension of our humanity. It is necessary to know these holy signs to live the Mass fully and to savor all its beauty ".

"When the people are gathered, the celebration opens with the Introductory Rites, including the entry of the celebrant, the greeting 'peace be with you', the penitential act 'I confess ...', the Kyrie eleison, the Gloria hymn and the Collect prayer, it is called Collect not because the collection of offerings, but because it is the collection of the prayers that are offered up to Heaven. Its purpose is to "ensure that the faithful, gathered together, form a community, and dispose themselves to listen with faith to the Word of God and to worthily celebrate the Eucharist" (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 46). It is not a good habit to look at your watch and think “I’ll leave after the homily, I will have respected the precept'. That’s not the case".

"While the entrance hymn normally takes place, the priest with the other ministers processionally reach the presbytery, and salutes the altar with a bow and, in a sign of veneration, he kisses it and incenses it. Why? Because the altar is Christ and when we look at the altar we look at Christ. These gestures, which risk going unnoticed, are very significant, because from the beginning they express that the Mass is an encounter of love with Christ ".

"Then there is the sign of the Cross. The priest who presides makes the sign of the Cross on himself as do all the members of the congregation, aware that the liturgical act is "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". And here another little thing: Have you seen how many children make the sign of the Cross?", "They do not know what they are doing", they make a gesture that "looks like a scribble", "teach children to make the sign of the Cross properly".

 

"The priest then addresses the liturgical greeting with the expression:" The Lord be with you "or something similar; and the assembly answers: “And with your spirit”. We are at the beginning of the Mass and we must think about the meaning of all these gestures and words. We are entering a 'symphony', in which various tones of voices resonate, including times of silence, in order to create the 'accord' among all the participants, that is to say that they are motivated by a single Spirit and for the same end. In effect, "the priestly greeting and the response of the people manifest the mystery of the assembled Church" (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 50). Thus the common faith and mutual desire to be with the Lord and to live unity with the whole community is expressed".

"The symphony of prayer that is being created immediately presents a very touching moment, because those who preside invite all to recognize their own sins. We are all sinners. This is why we ask for forgiveness at the beginning of the mass. It is the penitential act. It is not only a matter of thinking about the sins committed, but much more: it is the invitation to confess ourselves as sinners before God and our brothers and sisters, with humility and sincerity, like the publican at the temple. If the Eucharist really makes the Paschal mystery present, that is to say the passage of Christ from death to life, then the first thing we must do is recognize what our situations of death are in order to be able to rise again with Him in new life. This helps us to understand how important the penitential act is. And for this we will resume the subject in the next catechesis. Let's go step by step. But I beg you, teach children to make the sign of the Cross properly".

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