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Two Farewell Masses

Yesterday I saw two priests saying farewell at Masses.

The first was Father Richard Leonard S.J. His Mass was broadcast on Channel Ten in "Mass For You at Home" at 6.00 am. After eight years "off and on" of celebrating the Mass he is doing studies overseas. The show has been going for 31 years and Channel Ten in Melbourne should be commended for this.

But a lot could be done to improve the way the Mass is celebrated. The only role for the altar server was to hand over the bread, chalice, water and wine. There was no setting up or clearing of the altar and no holding the missal. Nearly everything happened at the altar, the priest was not show sitting in a chair. Flowers were placed on the altar, despite the 2002 Roman Missal having clear instructions that they are not to be in n. 305.

Father Gerard Dowling celebrated his last Sunday Mass as Dean of the cathedral.

I was impressed that he stood for the Kyrie and Gloria, despite the incorrect example that has been given by Archbishop Hart. I was disappointed that the altar servers decided to sit, while the priest and congregation stood, but their confusion is understandable.

Of course there were imperfections. Father Dowling imposes "Jesus the Christ" on the congregation where the book has "Jesus Christ". Rather than remaining in the sanctuary for the Sign of Peace he went up and down the aisle. But at least the "Prayer After Communion" came after communion, not after the announcements.

For me the most serious problem remains that instead of using an instituted lector who was available -- me -- Harry did the readings. This is what the Tribunal case against Father Dowling was about.

By J.R. Lilburne, 6 January 2003. I give what I have written on this page to the public domain.

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Father Dowling's Kairos Column