Para Liturgy

I recently came across the term Para Liturgy in a Sunday bulletin. I have no idea what it is so here I am asking if someone could define Para Liturgy for me.
Thanks and God Bless!

I don’t know very much about Para Liturgy, but I think it can be defined as a formal prayer-service. Such a liturgy is not Mass, and it is a liturgy which is not contained in the Church’s Liturgical Books - the Missal, Breviary, Pontifical or Roman Ritual. Thus, vespers, for example would not count as a Para Liturgy as it is contained in the Breviary. So if, for example, a parish was celebrating the feast-day of its patron saint, they might like to organise a prayer service which could perhaps contain reflections on the life of the saint - it could also include scripture readings and music - and this would count as a Para Liturgy as the liturgy was not taken directly from a Liturgical Book.

Paraliturgical celebrations are those which draw on the ceremonies and the form of the liturgical celebrations but are not officially authorised.

An example of paraliturgical services are certain novenas (the ones that consist of more than the novena prayer). Once, I read an article advocating another type of paraliturgical celebration - a psalm, followed by a reading, Magnificat, intercessions and a prayer. The intention here was to undertake the nucleus of the idea of the Liturgy of the Hours. Thus the structure was loosely copied, and the basic idea was the same, but it was not approved and a lot more flexible.

I posed this question to one of our priests about 6 months ago. He explained it as those events or services which are commonly celebrated in the church, but are not found in the Sacramentary (like was stated earlier). The example he gave would be a group rosary or the Stations of the Cross during lent. Celebrations which a non-ordained minister can lead.

I don’t know how his explanation compares to others out there, but it made sense to me.

another example would be some type of prayer service in a CCD class that is NOT liturgical prayer (liturgy of the Word or LOTH). Catechist publications are full of such things, they have whole books devoted to them and DREs for some reason love them. look for banners, ribbons, “rhythmic movement”, ad hoc songs, and invented rituals like handwashing in a bowl of tinted water, painting rocks, writing your sins on a piece of paper and burning them, and little kids organized in groups doing cute things.

Para liturgy = two liturgies.

Ta da boom.

Sorry, couldn’t resist. Never actually heard of it.

LOL! That is how I first heard the term – from our DRE, just a few weeks ago. I had never heard of the term before either, and I gathered from the context of what she was saying that a para liturgy is basically a laity-led prayer service.

There is no such thing as “para” liturgy. It is either liturgical or it is not, in which case it would be considered devotional.

The Liturgy of the Hours IS Liturgy. The rule is simple: if the prayer is regulated by an official liturgical book, then it is a form of liturgy (Mass, benediction, the liturgy of the hours, blessing of sacramentals, etc.).

If it is not regulated by official liturgical books, then it is devotional, e.g., rosary, divine chaplet, adoration, etc.

Practicing Catholics should be both liturgical and devotional. Both practices complement each other.

Thank you all for your replies. I did some investigating by going to this particular parish’s website. I did not like what I found. This parish has Mass, Monday through Friday, at 4:00pm and 6:00pm on Saturday and 3 Masses on Sunday!

On Saturday morning they have what they call a Para-Liturgy. It is no more than a Communion Service! I cannot :shrug: understand why in the world they need a Communion Service led by lay persons when they have all of these Masses and 3 Priests!!!

Just doesn’t make sense. The only thing that could possibly do is serve some lay person’s ego …

Pax et bonum,

A para-liturgy (it ought to have the hyphen) is something that is “almost” a liturgy or “akin to” a liturgy. In other words it’s something that has some resemblance to a liturgy but is not a liturgy.

As Lepanto states, that would make it a kind of devotional. But “para-liturgy” has a more hip, ‘modern’ sound to it.

(Yeah, I know the word ‘hip’ is dated. Why do you think I used it?)

This is a term that hasn’t been used much since the seventies, and I always thought is referred to a Mass-like ritual conducted by groups of laypeople in private homes to recreate their idea of early Church liturgies. It might also refer to liturgical activities conducted while skydiving.:smiley:

Makes a lot of sense. Daily morning Mass people may not be able to make the 6:00 PM vigil Mass so they have a communion service in the morning with no priest either because it is his day of rest or he is otherwise not able to celebrate a morning Mass on Saturday. :slight_smile:

if they have a communion service according to the proper ritual book it is Liturgy, not para-liturgy

Attending Mass on Saturday morning does not count for the Saturday anticipated Mass nor the Sunday obligation. And Communion services are not encouraged when Mass is readily available. See Redemptionis Sacramentum nn. 162-167, specifically: “Likewise, especially if Holy Communion is distributed during such celebrations [services when Mass is not possible], the diocesan Bishop, to whose exclusive competence this matter pertains, must not easily grant permission for such celebrations to be held on weekdays, especially in places where it was possible or would be possible to have the celebration of Mass on the preceding or the following Sunday.” (n. 166)

See my post (above this one); you’re right to be concerned… it’s not generally encouraged by the Church.