We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics. My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”
Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe
Oh! Those friggin’ sing-a-long Masses
That make the Devil dance and shout with joy to see Communion watered down to a ho-hum part of the service. I recently attended one at the Church of Saint Joachim in Rockport, MA.
The song leader, emcee and star performer was a large gray-haired woman who, during the hour long service, only relinquished the mike twice—for the reading and then the homily. Before distributing Communion, the priest announced, “We will first sing Communion hymn #1.” When the song was finished, he first gave Communion to the woman emcee who gulped it down like a dog getting a tidbit and then immediately resumed the mike with “We will now sing Communion hymn #2.”
Thus the entire service succeeded in not allowing five seconds of silence for prayer and meditation. Communion, one of the most sacred sacraments in our religion, was treated like an incidental side order during a dinner meal. No wonder the Devil is overjoyed to see the Church crippling itself by belittling the belief that Christ, who was God, can and will transpose himself into bread and wine to be consumed by true believers—the mystical union of the sacred (the Holiest of the Holy) and profane (man) becoming one.
This miraculous deed is so awesome that I doubt if anyone, including the Pope, can fully comprehend its fullness of meaning and purpose. But that doesn’t give ground for the Church to minimize its value with distractions and no quiet time. Parents often say, “Keep children busy so they can’t get into trouble.” Today’s Church practices, “Keep lay folks busy so they can’t think, pray or meditate.”
In Models of the Church, Cardinal Avery Dulles wrote, “The Eucharist is the climactic sacrament, signifying the deepest and most intimate union with Christ, who makes himself the life-sustaining food and drink of his spiritual family. The Eucharistic liturgy is structured in such a way that Christ addresses the congregation by word as he spoke to the disciples at the Last Supper, and then gives himself in sacramental form under the invocation of the Holy Spirit.” (Hey, pastors, are you listening?)
I would be embarrassed to take a potential convert to a sing-a-long Mass, because he would experience more spirituality in a service at a Unitarian church. (You readers, what are your thoughts about this? firstname.lastname@example.org)
– “Sanctifying, evangelizing and catechizing a parish” by Fr. Francis Peffley in the October Homiletic & Pastoral Review
– “Why I pray the Rosary” by Unagidon in October 8 Commonweal.
- What two pairs of the Apostles had the same name?
- Who is the new President of Catholic University, and the third lay person to serve in this role?
- What did Elijah ride into heaven?
News flashes and items
– When attending a funeral in a Presbyterian Church, I found a “Welcome” pamphlet in the pew with this message: This dynamic congregation is serious about following Jesus Christ through worship, study, service and fellowship. Our family of faith share laughter and tears a past of our mutual caring. We offer music programs, strong Christian education for all ages, and an active mission program in the local community as well as throughout the world. (Comment: (1) If you were searching for a religion, would this appeal to you? (2) Why don’t we Catholic do the same?
– The New York Times (10/9) The Pew Research Center Poll showed that one-half of the Catholics don’t understand Communion. (Comment: Wow! Whose fault is that?)
– Confirming today’s materialistic world, an article in the November Money magazine reporters that to “Get the Most Happiness for Your Buck” all you have to do is (a) eat frequently in expensive restaurants, rather than occasionally in expensive ones, (b) follow the herd and enjoy what others are enjoying and (c) be sociable and don’t be loner.
Facet Short Story
Mary was the mother of Jesus;
Mary was and is the mother of God.