Fr Ray Blake on the Sign of Peace

For the record, we omit the Sign of Peace in our Ordinariate parish in Ottawa.  

Fr. Blake writes:

I am glad the Holy See has issued a new document on it and decided not to move too, to before the offertory, as in the Ambrosian Rite, after all the ‘sign of peace’ is intimately connected to Holy Communion. It is simple, if we are not in Communion with our neighbour, then we can’t possibly be in Communion with the Lord. It is I think the offering of ourselves at Holy Communion that is more important than our offering of cash at the offertory, it is then that we should be leaving our offering (of ourselves) at the altar in order that we might be reconciled to our neighbour. The procession to communion is about us coming to receive Christ in communion but it also about Him receiving us, bot individually but also collectively as the Church, pure and free from sin. The sign of peace should be a significant pre-Communion rite, therefore it should be solemn and holy, not lightly undertaken. One reason for it remaining where it is is the assertion by liturgical scholars that in ancient times the Pater Nosterended by a kiss of peace.

When I attended a Syriac Catholic service celebrated by Patriarch Joseph Younan a couple of weeks ago, I loved the way they marked the Sign of Peace.  At the altar, the prelates exchanged the peace with kisses of peace, or a nod towards a kiss.  In front of the altar stood four men in albs with sashes.  The peace was passed to them, and they carried the peace with their hands clasped in prayer-life fashion (kind of resembling a flame) and the men then proceeded to the first person in each aisle and tipped their clasped hands to that person, who with similarly clasped hands so their fingertips touched, as if passing the peace of Christ.  Then the person at the head of the aisle did the same thing to the person next to him or her, and so on, similar to the way we might light candles on Candlemass or the Easter Vigil.

Very beautiful and moving.  I would not mind our doing the Sign of Peace like that and when we had the rubrics explained of our Ordinariate Divine Worship we were told we were to use a similar way of doing it.

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