Would you like the Readings with that hymnal?
About 60% are reporting that it is either essential or very important to have the texts of the Scripture (not the prayers of the mass) during mass. We are not really discussing those who are hard of hearing. Surely the printed word can be made available for them as needed, they can purchase large print missals, or sit strategically near either a loudspeaker or the altar. (An induction loop hearing assist system has been on our memorial list for over one year.)
I"ve been reviewing the responses and have some observations:
Many people mention that following the text along with the lector helps comprehension. Fair enough, but we don't usually have scripts for the plays or movies we attend or the television we watch, and I'm guessing those who don't need it have the closed captioning turned off on their electronic devices. Most of our daily verbal communication is not accompanied by the printed word.
It may be difficult at times to hear or understand the readers or the priest, but that is a function of training and decent sound systems. If these are lacking, printed texts are only a poor substitute for addressing these. Sometimes there is a lot of noise during mass. Are printed texts a solution to this?
Church liturgists emphasize the proclamation of Scripture at mass. Not simply reading Scripture aloud, but proclaiming it dynamically which depends on our active listening to this life-saving news. Nothing much interactive happens when the congregation have their heads down to read.
It was amusing at mass in the old Church to hear the sound of synchronized page turning, seamlessly built into the Gospel proclamation. "And Jesus said to his disciples, " <<sound of 200 pages turning>>, "Love one another." Or the oddity of someone who can't find the proper page for the reading distracting everyone around them by swishing through the entire missallette.
Personally, I find a book of texts more distracting than not having one. I find it frustrating to read along at the pace of the proclaimed word, and will often skip ahead to read or look at the clip art, play with the ribbon, etc.
With all the handy devices we have these days, it's easy to check out the readings days or hours before the mass and come prepared to hear them proclaimed. There are also printed missals available for those who want their own copies. Some subscribe to The Magnificat which contains the texts of the weekly readings.
On the other hand...
For decades, church liturgists ranted about not saying the rosary during mass by asking everyone to follow along with the mass in their missals. Since Vatican II we're not supposed to follow along in the missal, but participate by actively listening. It's totally possible, I suppose that the pendulum will swing and the Church will decide that seeing and hearing the Word is best, so that printed texts will become recommended or required. Maybe someday we'll all be bringing missals to church again - or a Bible!
Be sure to take our survey to help us plan the purchase of our permanent hymnals.
At this first, brief meeting we will get acquainted, review the tasks ahead and watch a specially edited video presentation about the three patron saints of Ireland, Patrick, Brigid, Colum. The video includes beautiful scenery from their place of birth, some Irish chant and harp. It runs approximately 35 minutes.
Please use either the online form, or complete the printed forms and send them to the parish office.
Here's an update of the hymnal survey, with an interesting new feature, a word cloud of the most often used phrases in written responses. It gives you a quick impression of the many responses without having to reproduce each one.