I have found the liturgy in our parish to be beautiful. The singing and participation and attentiveness are wonderful, the reverence is obvious, and the Spirit is clearly working. Having been here now for a month, I find it a joy to pray here.
There is a change, though, that I would like to see in our parish liturgy. After the Lamb of God is sung, the practice in our parish has been to remain standing, and then to continue standing until everyone has finished Communion. I would like to ask that we change that practice, and instead kneel after the Lamb of God is sung. Let me share my rationale.
For many years, I think that standing was a reasonable option. The official instructions for the Mass are found in a document called the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. For several decades these instructions did not make it clear if people were supposed to stand or kneel at that point. In some dioceses, the bishops gave their own instructions, asking all of their parishes to do the same thing, either standing or kneeling. In our diocese, most parishes knelt, but I don't recall ever hearing an official position from our bishop.
However, the GIRM was revised a few years ago. The new instructions state that when the Lamb of God is complete, we should kneel (GIRM #43.) As the priest holds up the consecrated Host and announces "Behold the Lamb of God," there is a moment of adoration. The new instructions direct us to kneel.
These instructions (GIRM #42) also make the point that we should be unified in our posture. If some are standing and some are kneeling, we are left watching each other and wondering what to do, rather than focusing on prayer. I am seeing that. It was especially obvious on our recent holy day when we had many visitors. After the Lamb of God, there was much bobbing up and down as people were looking around and trying to decide what they should do. This was surely a distraction from our focused prayer.
As a benefit, I think that this change will allow us better hospitality. We can be a parish with unique character, but we should be a parish in which visitors are completely comfortable joining us at Mass. I have had visitors who were uncomfortable enough that they stopped me after Mass to ask about this.
One last note: we have many people for whom kneeling is not an option. For those with bad knees or problems with balance, please do not worry. A person can pray just as reverently while seated as kneeling, and very few others will notice that difference. The Lord sees what is in our hearts.