Q: Two weeks ago, I played for a funeral Mass. I was a bit caught off guard when the priest prayed the Eucharistic prayers with his back to the congregation. But what surprised me the most was when he didn’t invite the congregation to extend the “sign of peace” to each other. Is that an option in this form? It’s the first time I’ve experienced this.
A: The Order of Mass 128 says that the deacon or priest invites people to exchange a sign of peace “if appropriate.” It is not required. But I personally feel that it is always appropriate. At a wedding mass, those two words are omitted. In that case, the sign of peace is considered appropriate and should always be included.