Jesus, after he Rose from the Dead said to his disciples “Peace be with You.” During the Mass, we recalls these words as well as the peace Christ has merited for us by his death and resurrection. We share a “sign of peace” which is meant to be a sign of the love, peace and communion that exists within the Christian community. Unfortunately at times, the sign of peace has lost this significance and is merely an opportunity to say “Hi” to others. Occasionally people break into conversation, which can be distracting immediately before communion.
Recently the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments released a “Circular Letter” to bishops regarding the Sign of Peace in the Mass. This letter reminds us that the exchange of peace is optional and may be omitted at times. It also corrects certain bad habits such as:
– Singing a “peace song” during the exchange of peace
– Individuals leaving their pews to exchange peace with others
– the priest leaving the sanctuary to exchange peace with some of the people.
– at certain celebrations, the sign of peace becoming an opportunity to greet others, offer condolences or congratulations.
There is plenty of time to greet our friends before and after Mass – please maintain an atmosphere of prayer during the exchange of peace.
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