I am prompted to write after reading Michael Gilchrist's article (February AD2000) on the Church in Australia. I have just returned to Sydney after ten days in Victoria and having attended Mass in a regional city parish not understand why the readings and Gospel were not as in my Missal. It seemed to be someone's personal interpretation of these into common language
Admittedly it is something I would take particular notice of as almost everyone at my regular parish has a Mass book. In fact this parish of South Mount Druitt - which is a small one with just one priest - from observation is pretty rare as we do not have other than our priest to distribute Communion. He walks back and forth along the foot of the altar and one has time to consume the sacred host before returning to one's seat.
Also there is confession several times during each week, with visiting priests on Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons. On Friday nights during Lent there is an extra Mass, and during November a special Friday night Mass when parishioners are invited to bring forth the names of loved ones to be read out for whom the Mass is being said.
Some places I have attended are like three ring circuses, with too many people on the altar and no semblance of reverence at Communion. The talking in church in many cases is disgraceful - I'm waiting for Our Lord to appear and "toss out the money- changers"!
Priests should clamp down on this practice. Most of the conversations have nothing to do with church and should occur outside the building. The church is the place we enter to pray before the tabernacle, the home of our God.
Glenmore Park, NSW