On the afternoon of Wednesday, February 7, 2024, the friars of the General Custody of the Sacred Convent of St. Francis of Assisi in Italy met at the Sacred Convent for the first of two training sessions, led by Friar Francesco SCIALPI, on the ars celebrandi [the art of celebrating the liturgy] for those who preside over the Mass.

After a brief moment of prayer and listening to the first part of the Gospel about the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Friar Francesco focused on some important introductory material before launching into the topic.
In what he calls his limited ministerial experience (although he has been ordained for about twelve years), he realizes that this is a topic that always comes with questions based on a priest’s personal experience as a presider.
“Why do we need to talk about the ars celebrandi?” To answer that question, he referred to number 48 of the Constitution of the Second Vatican Council Sacrosanctum Concilium.
“What is the ars celebrandi?” To answer that question, he referred in particular to numbers 38 and 40 of the Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis of Pope Benedict XVI.
It’s a temptation to think we know everything, that we are already “experts” in presiding over Mass and have nothing to learn.
Friar Francesco explained that during these two training sessions, he would only be focusing on texts that deal with presiding over Mass, rather than any other liturgical celebrations.
He then went on to analyze certain sections and moments during the celebration of Mass; namely, the introductory rites and the liturgy of the Word. He placed particular emphasis on the presider’s gestures at the beginning of Mass, such as kissing the altar and making the initial sign of the Cross.

Friar Simone TENUTI