How Much Use for the 1998 Missal?

I noticed on PrayTell some discussion about the 1998 Sacramentary centering on how much it gets used. I think some churchfolk would be surprised at how much it is utilized.

As a resource containing prayers, I will freely admit I’ve used it now and then for years. It’s more or less like any other prayer book published, and probably a bit better than prayers I might compose myself.

I’ve used some of the Advent and Lent collects for communal Penance liturgies. Likewise the occasional Sunday prayer for the occasional small group prayer service. It’s a good resource. My thinking is that like a lot of books on my shelf, it’s not approved for use at Mass, but there seems to be nothing wrong with using it for other occasions.

How about any of you in the readership? Getting any use out of the MR2 in English? Or another language?

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Swans Soar Late

swan-in-attack-mode-2I caught a full Swansea Saturday match in real time for the few times–often I’ll have church duties on a Saturday.

I thought losing to Aston Villa was a real prospect, given the way that team has played under new management. But the Swans held firm and picked up a late goal.

I wonder if they will have a training tour of the US again this summer. I wonder if I’ll be living somewhere near to where they will make an appearance.


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Reflecting on the Liturgy

New reader Karen DiNoto made a query I’d like to draw out and offer some extended commentary.

I am a new catechist and going to be doing the dismissal and lesson this week and need some thought provoking questions on how they felt during and after the scrutinies. Any suggestions?

I offer a disclaimer first: I am not a catechist by vocation. I would have two hopes at this stage of the catechumenate year. First, that the liturgies would be good in the sense of having the richness of music, Scripture, homily, and even environment to reflect upon. Second, that the elect have, by now, been formed to look at liturgy with an attitude of reflection.

By the time the elect have reached the fifth Sunday of Lent, they should be well into a period of scrutiny and reflection. A good catechist would remind the elect to look and listen for items that will strike them during the liturgy. It can be a matter of feelings–“I felt relief, forgiveness, affirmation …” or it can be insights–“I noticed Jesus did this, I heard in the song this …”. I would treat the beginning of the dismissal period as a second go through the Liturgy of the Word, allowing the elect to relive the experience and reflect on it.

As a dismissal leader, I would mostly let the insights of the people guide the time together. I would be prepared to comment on one or two aspects if the elect didn’t raise the points. Those would be the purpose of the scrutinies, and I’d ask what was uncovered and healed, what was brought out and strengthened.

By this time of Lent, the experience of the forty days as a retreat should be well-established. I’d treat the liturgy as an experience upon which to reflect.


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DPPL 253: Great Dignity and Religious Sensibility

STA altar at night smallThe Church gives us three important cautions, lest all you-know-what should break loose.

253. Every stage of the rite of obsequies should be conducted with the greatest dignity and religious sensibility. Hence, it is necessary for:

  • the body of the deceased, which was the Temple of the Holy Spirit, to be treated with the utmost respect;
  • funeral furnishings should be decorous and free of all ostentation;
  • the liturgical signs, the cross, the paschal candle, the holy water and the incense, should all be used with the utmost propriety.

Propriety does not mean stinginess. Appropriate use of liturgical symbols is always generous, free, and indicative of God’s boundless generosity and mercy.

Remember to consult the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy online at the Vatican site.

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Svalbard Gets Totality

If I remember my geography right, Svalbard has a few thousand people living on its islands. Those inhabitants, plus some astronomical thrill-seekers got to see the year’s main total solar eclipse earlier today.

For Americans, the big one is still a bit more than two years away. And less than seven years after that, citizens of western Kentucky and southeastern Missouri will get their second experience of the moon totally blocking the sun. I’ve been waiting a long time to get my first.

There was this thrilling experience when I lived in Michigan. And when I was a boy, Carly Simon captured the essence of the excitement here. My mom shut the shades and kept my siblings away from the windows where outside, we were getting noticeable darkening at 89% of the sun blocked out. I don’t think I helped when I commented that the sun was nine times safer because the moon was absorbing all the harmful radiation that would damage earthling eyes in our neighborhood.

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How Long Does Discernment Take?

Liam broke the news here a little while ago. The major Catholic internet news outlets are already on it.

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of the rights and privileges of a cardinal … presented by His Eminence Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, after a long period of prayer.

cardinal dedecusKeith O’Brien, you will recall, was doused in scandal near the very end of Pope Benedict’s term, and declined to participate in the 2013 conclave after the outrage broke. So it has been a “long period” of prayer indeed. What I haven’t seen among the journalists or commentators yet is the question, “Why so long?”

For a major life initiative, the Jesuits would suggest thirty days. Many Catholics observe forty-plus-a-few days of Lent for an annual taking-stock. After two years, the archbishop emeritus can wear red hat and cape around the house, but that’s it. This discernment, which didn’t change very much at all, took hundreds of days?

I think there is blood lust in the Church the man be made an object lesson, but perhaps the Pope Francis way is better. The title and the pomp are really meaningless, and the retired prelate and the occasional houseguest are the only ones who will notice them. I imagine that will be a rather empty experience as the years roll on.

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DPPL 252c: Committal

STA altar at night smallAfter the funeral, a particularly difficult moment: that last farewell of the beloved’s earthly body.

• the Rite of committal, the funeral cortege, and burial; at the committal, the deceased is commended to God, “the final commendation by which the Christian community says farewell to one of its members before his body is buried” (OCF Praenotanda 10). In the funeral cortege, mother Church, who has sacramentally borne all Christians in her womb during their earthly pilgrimage, now accompanies the body of the deceased to his place of rest, while he awaits the resurrection (cf. 1 Cor 15, 42-44).

The images of the committal prayers confront us with the reality most of us find difficult, and occasionally impossible: letting go.

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.

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