Religion: January 2003 Archives

Mass Today


I went to a parish I haven't been to before. Something about needing to go early enough to make it down for day 2 of 8 in the training I am doing. I got there a little late, just as Father was starting the homily. I admit I was a little concerned, especially after I looked up the hymns listed on the board. I was blown away by the homily, though. I wish that I had brought a tape recorder or taken notes. Basically, Father talked about the human tendency to think that we can solve problems by either throwing money at them and/or by hiring tons of experts to solve the problems. He went on to say that most of us will only pray when we have tried to fix things ourselves and it doesn't work. Then Father got into the meat of the homily. "What we must do, and do first, is to pray. We are in a war, and we do not battle against people but against powers and principalities. And here is our weapon", at which point he pulled out a Rosary and held it up. "And our other weapon is here in the little house of gold. Eucharistic Adoration, the Rosary, daily prayer - these are our weapons." I was absolutely blown away. Turns out this parish has volunteered to build a space and coordinate stuff so that we can have a 24 hour perpetual (yeah, I know that is redundant!) adoration chapel. What a great start to the day.



Is anyone out there a permanent deacon? Would you care to share what the discernment and formation process was/is? I have a friend who is wondering if he is called to this vocation. Thanks.

Inclusive language


Madeleine L'Engle, a writer I greatly respect even when I disagree with her, has this to say:
"One of the most pusillanimous things we of the female sex have done throughout the centuries is to have allowed the male sex to assume that mankind is masculine. In The Irrational Season she goes on to insist," It is not. It takes both male and female to make the image of God."
I heartily concur. See Genesis 1:27.
In Penguins and Golden Calves: Icons and Idols L'Engle goes on to say:
"...our attempts at inclusive language (which thus far) have been inconclusive and unsuccessful...In language, as in life, male and female need to love each other...We need more poets, more artists who understand how to express in metaphor and icon that which cannot be expressed in finite words."
Totally ignoring (for now) the very real theological errors brought in by the inclusive language movement, far too many of the changes it has wrought have been downright ugly. Asexual language is bleak and deprived.

More thoughts on liturgy


An interesting opinion on the Novus Ordo mass from a student at Franciscan. Thanks to Jeff at El Camino Real for the link. Jeff also comments further at Caritas Unitas et Veritas.
Pete Vere from Envoy Encore (and other sites!) asks us to look at CIEL-Canada and I also suggest CIEL-UK.
Does anyone know if there is a similar group based in the USA? I am very frustrated by the way in which the ICEL has butchered the translations of liturgy. I have a lengthy rant to make some day about the idiocy of so-called 'inclusive language'.

Music and Liturgy


This has been a hot topic around St. Blog's lately, and seems to get almost as much air time as the death penalty and the rad-trad/neo-con debate. Over on Caritate Dei , Ad Orientem, Victor Lams, and even Exceptional Marriages one can find good natured debate and hair-pulling angst. Michelle at And Then had something to say about applause during Mass. All this was percolating in my brain during Mass this morning.
When I got home from work this morning, things were running late, and we couldn't make the 1030 at our usual parish (the one where we are in the choir). So we attended 1100 Mass at the big parish in town, the one with the regional Catholic elementary school. Many of our daughter's High School friends and teachers attend, so she is always bugging us to go there. I've been to Mass a few times in this Parish before. Daily Mass is usually OK and pretty well attended because it is at noon. I have winced my way through Sunday Mass there a few times, but today I really was upset.
We got there late (getting teenagers out the door can be brutal), just in time for the first reading. We couldn't get into a pew - there were spaces but they were behind the pillars and no one would move over. OK, it's our fault anyhow for being late. Standing through Mass is penance for running late - that's fair. There was no choir at this mass, just a cantor and a keyboardist. The responsorial song was nearly unsingable even for us, I couldn't hear anyone in the congregation joining in at the response. IT was from the back of the OCP Music Issue. I don't really understand how anyone can take the Psalms and uglify them to that degree. The celebrant kept emphasizing every third word or so, and I didn't recognize the Eucharistic prayer he used. I found myself listening closely to be sure that he didn't omit important stuff in the consecration. It was so 'politically correct' - instead of disciples he said 'friends' and the like. The mass parts were decently sung, and the communion song was "Shepherd Me O God", which I happen to like. I am not sure how appropriate it was to communion, though. I see it more as a responsorial psalm, as the verses are pretty tricky for the average congregation to sing. What really got to me happened right after communion. When everyone was back in the pews, the cantor launched into a solo piece of music, not even a particularly beautiful hymn or one that had really meaningful text (actually, all I remember was the repetition of Allelulia) and sang 4 verses with refrain. At the end, the congregation applauded. My husband had to physically restrain me. I was sick at heart and disgusted. The celebrant then launched into an amusing anecdote, the announcements, and the closing prayer. Only obedience kept me from storming out of the building when the applause started.
Why is it that so few people seem to realize that Mass is NOT performance art?

Thirty Years


On January 12, 1973, I was received into the Holy Catholic Church. My sacraments were administered by Fr. Randall Roche, S.J., in the Huesmann chapel on the campus of Loyola Marymount University, El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora Reina de los Angeles (better known as L.A.). It was my 18th birthday.
My parents met in the choir of a Protestant Episcopal church in San Diego CA. They married, young, in that same church. I was born 46 minutes after the end of my mother's 17th birthday. Happy birthday, mom, and thanks for choosing life for me and for my brothers and sisters. I was baptised at an Episcopal church in the SF Bay area when I was a few months old. My dear godmother (with whom I still keep in touch) is Russian Orthodox. I lived in England from age 3 to age 6, attended Episcopalian day schools until I was 10 years old, and was confirmed and communicated as an Anglican. I was very happy as an Anglican, and I still miss the liturgy and the small church community feeling. I also miss the music and the chant. I visited other churches (notably Lutheran and Methodist) as a child, and even attended a few Latin Masses with friends (which I found very disappointing).
So how did I end up Catholic?
My family was posted to France when I was 10. We left our Anglican parish behind. We were living out in the country as the only English speaking family in the small village of Premontre. I should mention that this village is home to an Abbey that I later found was founded by St. Norbert .
If we wanted to go to church on Sunday, we had 3 choices. The generic protestant service at the military base, Mass at the base, or Mass in the village. My parents stopped going to church entirely. I was scared to go to the local mass (still in Latin) so I quit going to church, too. I was angry that MY church seemingly didn't exist. What was it with these Catholics? Everywhere THEY went, they had the comfort and familiarity of their specific liturgy, but I could only get mine if and when a liturgically minded Protestant pastor came to base. It just wasn't fair.
Back in the states, my parents continued not to go to church, and I continued to go to various churches on occasion. The various Protestant churches of my friends had great youth groups and lots of fun activities. I went on a camping trip with some Baptist friends. They were miffed that I wouldn't answer the altar call. I told them that I was saved when I was baptised as a baby. I also refused to hand out tracts to the other campers.
By the age of 14, I was really seriously confused by this whole religion thing. I met my first serious boyfriend at a school dance. I was a freshman at the public school, he was a junior at a Jesuit high school. He believed and lived his faith. We went out for 6 months, and then my family uprooted again and I ended up 3000 miles away. At the same time I was dating this young man, I was also regularly babysitting an Orthodox Jewish family's children. I threw myself into learning about religion and history.
My next boyfriend was Anglican but his parents had sent him to Lutheran schools. That didn't make a lot of sense to me. I continued to study but didn't reach any conclusions. My third boyfriend was raised Catholic, and I went to Mass with him and his family at least partly to impress his family. But it all started to make sense, then, all the studying I had done. At the age of 16, I decided that the only two religions that made any sense at all were Orthodox Judaism and Roman Catholicism. Since I had accepted Jesus as my Messiah and saviour, that left me no alternative.
On my own, I signed up for the 'Inquiry' classes at my boyfriend's parish. I went through the process, and wanted to enter the church at Easter, but my parents threw a fit. They told me I didn't need to leave the Anglican church, they trotted out the branch theory, and they finally forbade me to enter the Roman Catholic church. I frankly was surprised, since they had left church to the point where they hadn't even baptised my baby sister. I took the issue up with the pastor. He told me that the I was to honor my parents, and that while I was legally a minor, I could not join the Church. The only exception would be if I were in danger of death. Sadly, I agreed.
I broke up with that boyfriend around the time we both started college. I chose to go to a Catholic school, and my parents didn't object because it was close to home. The moment I hit campus, I sought out a chaplain and explained my situation. We were able to get the needed permissions from the Diocese and so, the day I turned 18, I was in!
The last 30 years have been a bumpy road. Becoming Catholic and learning what it means to be Catholic are very different things. I have not always been obedient to the church, I am certainly a sinner and I am so grateful that Purgatory is an option! As I age, I am becoming more appreciative of the sacrament of Penance. God has been generous to me. Shortly after my reception into the church, He sent me the wonderful man to whom I am married, and as fruits of that marriage, 6 wonderful children. I was able to celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony with the assistance of the same priest who heard my first Confession, Confirmed me in the faith, heard my profession of faith, and gave me my first Holy Communion.
I will close this longish memory with a quote that certainly applies to me. "To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant."
One last note - my husband's birthday is the Feast Day of Saint Norbert. God has a strange sense of humor!

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This page is a archive of entries in the Religion category from January 2003.

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