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Sunday Mass and Participation in Its Rituals

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According to a poll conducted among the Francophone Catholics of Montreal, the rites of passage have taken priority over Sunday Mass. But, nonetheless, the eucharistic celebration continues to be considered as a participation in the pascal mystery. At the same time, the participation of mass-goers shows that there is a broad though selective acceptance of the gestures, of the response to those who preside over the celebration and of the changes in the ritual. The participation is based on an intimate religiosity which is expressed in a place considered before all else to be a social setting for a relationship with the divine. In this sense, a prayerful atmosphere is of primary importance. Hearing the Word of God has a central place in the concerns of the participants. They want the preaching to link the Word of God to the preoccupations of their daily life and to the world roundabout. On the whole, it seems that mass-goers refuse to let their religious experience be coopted by a rite whose institutional character serves to guarantee the historical continuity of a belief and a culture.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Pastoral Studies at the St. Paul University


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