"Un Ti Morceau"

"A Little Something," mini-lessons and reflections by our pastor, Father Paul Counce


Published September 02, 2012 by Fr. Paul Counce

In my last morceau I noted that genuflection is one gesture of respect which is quite noticeable at Mass. It’s done during the entrance procession, for example. Another is the profound bow that the ministers of the liturgy frequently perform.

Respectful bowing is one gesture of respect which is prac­tically universal. Western civilization shares this with most Asian and African cultures, for example. A solemn bow gives a clear sign of respect and even affection to someone or something else.

In church a bow is the appropriate mark of respect for eve­ry­one to the crucifix, the altar, and to the presiding priest. And it’s the easiest mark of respect to accomplish: even when carrying something it is possible at least to bow one’s head!

Frequently the gesture of bowing at Mass takes on the form of coordinated liturgical movement. While not exactly “dance” in the popular sense, the group experience of bowing together adds to the impact and drama of the worship. I encourage everyone in the congregation to consider “joining in” such gestures. More conscientious attention to these little details can add a great deal to our experience of the holy.

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