The Gift of the Holy Spirit in the LiturgyHome > Fr_Thomas > The Gift of the Holy Spirit in the Liturgy
We are many parts but still the same body. I love this image of a mystical body that St. Paul uses in his letter to the Corinthians. We are an organic, living and breathing entity, each a part of something larger than our individual self. We are many parts but still the same body.
At St. Thomas More Newman Center, we have five distinct parts yet are still one body. Those distinct parts are the five services we celebrate each weekend. The Saturday 5:00 PM Vigil, the 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM Sunday Masses are each distinct, even at Newman. The music groups are different, the songs are different and each seems to have its own constituency. Resident parishioners seem to dominate the Saturday Vigil Mass, as well as a large number of parishioners from the other two Columbia parishes. This Mass also has the greatest range of worshippers depending upon athletic events at Mizzou. We have had as few as 80 parishioners to as many as 450. The 9:00 AM Sunday morning Mass is the “Family Mass” and caters to the young families of the parish with a Children’s Liturgy of the Word. The 11:00 AM Mass is our largest with resident parishioners predominating, but with a growing student population. This Mass has a more traditional choir format with almost a full orchestra. The Sunday 5:00 PM Mass is the Life Teen Mass with a focus on high school students. There are many college students at this Mass and local townspeople who missed earlier Masses. The music tends to be more contemporary and “Christian.” The 8:00 PM Mass, during the academic year, is the Campus Ministry Mass. The lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, musicians and other ministers are college students. Each Mass has its own personality, and in a very distinct way represents a different part of the Body of Christ. We are truly many parts but the same body.
Diversity seems to be the true gift of the Holy Spirit, at least according to St. Paul’s understanding as written in his letter to the Church at Corinth. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same spirit. …To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” The Church has often appeared both attracted to, and repelled by, difference. It likes uniformity of worship, i.e., we all kneel or we all stand, yet acknowledges that different gifts do in fact exist. What I feel is missing today is a belief that we must all worship the same in every church and that there can be no individuality in the Roman Rite. Liturgical diversity can be seen as a gift of the Holy Spirit. We have that diversity in five Masses at Newman. Now just imagine that diversity in the universal church!