The lucky parishioners at St. Caliban's parish in Chuckapockee, Wisconsin were among the first to preview the new USCCB guide for "full and active participation" at Mass.
The new guide offers parishioners a chance to score themselves on how their journey to "become Church" is going. Below are the rules for self-scoring:
Each participation requirement offers a score of 5 points, which is causing some preliminary confusion, since no one at the USCCB has explained how a single point can be earned for the minimum 36 score.
A couple of case studies can prove helpful:
Janie Schmoitz was late for Mass because of a traffic detour, so she missed the opening hymn. She DID, however, serve as a lector, but failed to make in on time to march in the opening procession. She also hugged enough people during the sign of peace, waved to at least two people on the way to Communion, received Communion on the hand. She sang the Communion hymn AND the recessional hymn. This gave her a base score of 35. However, since she was late, she could not get an aisle seat (the people sitting on the aisle refused to move over, and made her cross over them into the pew), foisting her plans to shake hands with Father when he walked down the aisle at the end of Mass. Her cell phone went off during the Our Father, which left her fumbling in her purse to turn the ringer off, leaving her unable to hold hands OR use the orans gesture. There were no new people at Mass for her to greet, so she failed to fully and actively participate.
Irv Sinclair was on time to sing the opening hymn, but his four year old son, Trout, had to go to the bathroom, leaving him unable to sing. He made up for it by raising his hands during the Our Father, and he also hugged everyone around him during the sign of peace. He waived at his friends on the way to Communion, received in the hand, sang the Communion AND recessional hymn and shook hands with Father as he was processing down the aisle at the end of Mass. This gave him a base score of 40. However, since he forgot to have his son go out for the "Children's Liturgy" he took a 5 point penalty for keeping an underage child in Church for the entire Mass. Another failing grade.
Irma Hesselback, 92, is totally deaf. She can, however, read which hymns have been selected on the board behind the lector's podium, so she sings at every Mass, loudly and off-key. Although she is neither a lector nor Eucharistic Minister, she likes to March in the procession and often does so, even though Father has repeatedly asked her not to. Mrs. Hessleback also likes to raise her hands and dance during the Our Father and spends so much time hugging people at the Sign of Peace that she is often still hugging people who are trying to get up for Communion. She not only waives at people on her way to Communion, but often gives them a loud, "Good Morning!" She receives Communion in the hand and often takes to Host to the chalice and intincts it herself. When Father walks out during the recessional, she not only shakes his hand, but walks out with him, singing the recessional hymn as loudly as she can. She then runs back into the Church and looks around in the pews for dropped items to add to her collection that she keeps on her nightstand in the convalescent home where she lives next to the Church. Father has repeatedly asked the administrators at the home to please not let Mrs. Hessleback out for Mass, but she continually finds ways to escape. Mrs. Hesselback had a score of 55 Sunday, an admirable example of full and active participation for all parishioners to follow.
Congratulations, Irma Hesselback!
Hopefully, this program will soon be implemented in all of our parishes, to counteract the repressive effects of the coming new translation of the Mass.