So I thought that, while we are waiting for our opportunity to gather together for Mass again, we would review some aspects of the Mass in a Friday Potpourri series:
Interestingly, for the first time the new Missal has an instruction of what should take place before Mass begins. Number 45 in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal states in part, "Even before the celebration itself, it is a praiseworthy practice for silence to be observed in the church, sacristy, in the vesting room, and in adjacent areas, so that all may dispose themselves to carry out the sacred celebration in a devout and fitting manner."
My home parish was an ethnic parish and the community lived in the same neighborhood by and large, worked at the same places, belonged to the same clubs and, quite honestly, were probably related in some way with a good percentage of the congregation. So there wasn't a need to "connect and chit chat" at Mass. This helps explain why older church buildings tend not to have large gathering areas. That was neither needed by the community nor a function of a church building. Today with more isolated persons and busier schedules, Mass is a time people use to connect. This makes me wish we had a larger gathering area at St. Sebastian.
But there is needed a buffer between the bustle of getting ready for Mass, the hassle of driving there, the noise of conversations and the buzzing of concerns and worries in our thoughts. On time for Mass means being there early to become calm and to pray and prepare one's self to be present and call to mind what you have come to offer.