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Don M

Actually, maybe working the crowd is important, first to try to include the community in the celelbration, and second, to focus on the "mass," small "m," aspect of the prayer being celebrated. To me, the outreach of the celebrant to the community at this time in the ritual is very appropriate as a real sign of the inclusion of the community as celebrants. For the priest to remain at the altar or in the designated safe and segregated ground, the sanctuary, is a very strong sign of the exclusion of the community from their primary role at this celebration. Just one more put-down. Even the "disruption" is appropriate, to pull individuals together, out of their isolating pryerful moods, at this most important sharing point of the meal ceremony.

Mass is first and foremost a community celebration of Christ's covenant with us in the form of a meal, bread and wine. All other ritual actions of the Mass that are decribed in the Roman Missal, the sacrificial actions, the adoration actions, or the like, are secondary to the core act of the community's sharing of Christ as Word or God revealed, and as a meal as God shared. The sign of peace as a communal action is not some incidental action but is truly part of the Christ sharing celebration.

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