Blessed Feast of Easter

O splendor of the Father’s light
that makes our daylight lucid, bright;
O Light of light and sun of day,
now shine on us your brightest ray.

(St Ambrose, Gracia Grindal, trans., from the LBW, 1978)

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Holy Saturday Confessions

Pope Francis hears confession during a penitential liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican March 28. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters) (March 31, 2014)

Some parishes offer a confessor’s time. Others do not. Sometimes the reasons for either are good. Or well-intentioned.

For the record, a celebration of the Sacrament of Penance is not forbidden on Holy Saturday. I can’t honestly recall a parish where I’ve served that didn’t offer it–except for the one without a resident priest. You can check the 1988 reference here; we discussed it almost four years ago.

I will say that people leaving their observance of the sacrament to the very last day before Easter might create an opportunity for fatigue in a one-priest parish. Holy Saturday isn’t primarily about your confession. It’s about someone else’s baptism. If a priest were to choose to focus on the Easter Vigil, a critic would be hard-pressed to suggest laziness is present. If a priest were to choose to hear confessions during Triduum, I would think a hearty “thank you, Father” is in order before ending the celebration of the sacrament.

Another myth about Penance: there is nothing in the rite about confessing how long it has been since your last confession. There is a moment for the confessor to welcome the penitent. Immediately after this, a reading from Scripture follows. Then a confession of sins. No one week, one month, one year, or whenever.

I’ve noticed Pope Francis (for a Jesuit) has a more liturgical approach to the sacrament–tales of him suggesting that penitents be welcomed, not grilled. Welcome on this Saturday, and other days. And not be embarrassed about confessing how long it’s been.

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Why do we profess Jesus descending to the dead in the Apostle’s Creed? When I was a boy, I confess this seemed a bit strange. I didn’t give it much thought, though. The Bible gives a few hints (1 Peter 4:6 and Ephesians 4:9) but it’s not explicitly spelled out. At least it wasn’t until ancient and early medieval stories began spreading.

Today, it seems part of Jesus’ boundless mercy.

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On Good Friday

Good Friday quote from the 6th century from Saint Romanos the Melodist:

Let us lay aside
all tiresome arguments
and attach ourselves
to the one on the cross.
If it seems right,
let us all go along with Peter
to the house of Caiaphas,
and with him
let us cry to Christ
the words of Peter long ago–
“Even if he goes to the cross
and enters the tomb–
We suffer with you,
and we shall die with you and cry:
‘Hasten, Holy One,
save your sheep.'”

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My one great sadness for today: we do not wash each other’s feet at Mass. We’ve fussed and fought about women and non-Catholics. We assume people won’t want to take off their socks and shoes. We use the Pilate gesture as a compromise. We complain about too much time, yet we pray until midnight.

It’s about as close to a commandment as one can get. Take and eat; take and drink. And yet, it’s only once a year. And yet, many of us still leave it for clergy and a select few to do:

So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. (John 13:14-15)


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Christus Vivit 14-15: Older People Interacting With The Young

According to Pope Francis, the relationship between generations is not only important, but we have biblical examples to inspire us. Or keep us appropriate, as it were:

14. Let us also keep in mind that Jesus had no use for adults who looked down on the young or lorded it over them. On the contrary, he insisted that “the greatest among you must become like the youngest” (Lk 22:26). For him age did not establish privileges, and being young did not imply lesser worth or dignity.

This can be s difficult balance in modern culture. Some have the perception that young people have brushed others aside. But the motives are not always pro-elder person. Businesses hire younger workers on the cheap. Politics seems to lean to the elders, rather than newcomers. Maybe that is shifting in some ways.

15. The word of God says that young people should be treated “as brothers” (1 Tim 5:1), and warns parents not to “provoke your children, lest they become discouraged” (Col 3:21). Young people are not meant to become discouraged; they are meant to dream great things, to seek vast horizons, to aim higher, to take on the world, to accept challenges and to offer the best of themselves to the building of something better. That is why I constantly urge young people not to let themselves be robbed of hope; to each of them I repeat: “Let no one despise your youth” (1 Tim 4:12).

Any comments?

Remember to check Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on this link at the Vatican site. The text in color is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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OCM 48-50: Matrimony Within Mass, Second Form

Following up on one way to begin a wedding Mass, form 1, there is a second option, a simpler one:

48. At the appointed time, the Priest, wearing an alb and a stole and chasuble of the color of the Mass to be celebrated, goes with the servers to the place prepared for the couple or to his chair.

Some variation of this is the more common practice, at least as I’ve seen it in the US. It presumes the entrance of the couple in some manner in keeping with family, ethnic, or cultural tradition:

49. When the couple have arrived at their place, the Priest receives them and warmly greets them, showing that the Church shares in their joy.

I continue to tell couples I assist in preparing for their wedding liturgy that the Church has no preference as to how they enter. It can be formal with the ministers, as in OCM 45-46, or however they wish, according to paragraph 49.

The second form does foresee a song:

50. Then, during the Entrance Chant, the Priest approaches the altar, reverences it with a profound bow, and venerates it with a kiss. After this, he goes to the chair.

How would this translate into music? I imagine a “traditional” instrumental for the entrance of the wedding party, and a song sung by all present after the couple is in place.

Your comments?

The rubrics cited in red are from the English translation of The Order of Celebrating Matrimony © 2013, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

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