Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Tag Archives: Ecclesiology

Encourage & Teach: 3 Priceless Pillars after 3 Years of Diaconal Service

GospelIt was one of the most profound moments of my life. The Bishop laid his hands on my head during the rite of ordination and everything changed. There were no fireworks, no tongues of fire, the heavens were not rent open and no voice was heard (as far as I know). My personal experience was one of a sense of peace and a sense that this was right and necessary for me to be whole…(Read more)

Considerations Among the Orthodox on Primacy

The following was reported by CNA yesterday:

Orthodox archbishop: we’re internally divided on question of ‘primacy’

Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Sep 30, 2011 / 12:51 am (CNA).- A leading Russian Orthodox official says the Eastern Orthodox churches have yet to resolve the question of authority among themselves, a condition for future progress on the issue of the papacy.

“I would say that there are certain divergences, and there are different positions, of the Orthodox churches on the question of the primacy,” said Metropolitan Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, in a Vatican Radio interview following his Sept. 29 meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo.

“As we discuss the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, within the framework of the next commission, we do not only discuss the primacy of Rome; but we have to touch the issue of the primacy in general,” noted the Orthodox metropolitan, apparently referring to future proceedings of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

“And here, of course, we have different traditions – not only between the Catholics and the Orthodox, because we never had such a centralized system as the Catholics have – but we also have some difference among the Orthodox, as to what should be the role of the ‘first hierarch’ in the Orthodox Church.” The Patriarch of Constantinople occupies that role, but his prerogatives are not fully defined.

Metropolitan Hilarion was scheduled to participate in the last session of the Catholic-Orthodox commission, held in 2007 to discuss the question of papal primacy. But an internal dispute between Constantinople and Moscow, over an Orthodox group in Estonia, prompted the Russian representative to walk out. The two churches also dispute the status of the Orthodox Church in America.

On Thursday, the metropolitan made an apparent reference to these types of difficulties between the Patriarchs of Moscow and Constantinople, saying that “if a particular Orthodox church will want to impose its own vision of this primacy on other churches, then of course we will encounter difficulties. And this is what is happening at the moment.”

Meanwhile, the world’s local self-governing Orthodox churches are also attempting to organize a historic Pan-Orthodox Council, comparable to the Church councils held in the Byzantine empire during the first millennium. The new gathering has been in preparation for 50 years, as the Orthodox world seeks to determine how the Patriarch of Constantinople should exercise his authority.

“We believe that his role should be the primacy of honor, and also he is afforded some coordinating role: for example, he can convene the Pan-Orthodox Council,” said Archbishop Hilarion. “Of course, previously – in the history of the ecumenical councils – it was not the Patriarch of Constantinople, neither was it the Pope of Rome, but it was the (Byzantine) Emperor, who convened the councils.”

“So we have this model (of primacy), which is emerging in the Orthodox tradition. But generally, for centuries we had a very decentalized administration. Each autocephalous church is fully independent from other churches in its self-governance. And therefore we do not have a very clear picture as to what should be the role of the primate in the Orthodox tradition.”

“Without having this clear and unified vision, we cannot easily discuss the issue of how we see the role of the ‘Primus Inter Pares’ (‘first among equals,’ an Orthodox concept of the papacy) in the universal Church,” Metropolitan Hilarion admitted.

The phrase “first among equals” signifies the typical Orthodox view of the Pope as having a primacy of honor but not jurisdiction. In his 2010 book “Light of the World,” Pope Benedict said the “first among equals” view of the Pope was “not exactly the formula that we believe as Catholics,” due to the Pope’s “specific functions and tasks.”

Until Orthodoxy clarifies its own systems of authority, Archbishop Hilarion said, hopes for progress on the question of the papacy between Catholics and Orthodox are “probably not too high.”

“But still, there is hope, because if there is willingness to accommodate different positions and to produce a paper – or several papers, maybe – which would clearly state the differences, which would outline the way forward, then we can progress.”

The Moscow Patriarchate’s ecumenical representative also expressed hesitation about a possible meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow, which has never occurred in the centuries since Moscow’s elevation to patriarchal status in 1589.

The following was reported by  CNS yesterday:

Orthodox archbishop: we’re internally divided on question of ‘primacy’

Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Sep 30, 2011 / 12:51 am (CNA): There are hopes that such a meeting could take place in 2013, on the 1,700th anniversary of Christianity’s legalization by the Emperor Constantine. But Archbishop Hilarion said Catholics and Russian Orthodox believers should not jump to conclusions about when a meeting may occur between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow.

“We believe that such a meeting will take place at some time in the future. We are not yet ready to discuss the date, or the place, or the protocol of such a meeting – because what matters for us, primarily, is the content of this meeting.”

“As soon as we agree on the content, on the points on which we still disagree or have divergent opinions, then I believe we can have this meeting. But it requires a very careful preparation, and we should not be hurrying up, and we should not be pressed to have this meeting at a particular point of time.”

Despite his cautious attitude toward this meeting and other ecumenical matters, Metropolitan Hilarion spoke warmly of Pope Benedict XVI himself. During his recent trip to Germany, the Pope met with representatives of the Orthodox churches in the country, and spoke of a “common engagement” among Christians to ensure that “the human person is given the respect which is his due.”

“His Holiness is a man of faith and whenever I meet with him I’m encouraged by his spirit, his courage and his dedication to the life of the Church worldwide,” Metropolitan Hilarion said after his meeting with the Pope on Thursday.

“Of course I’m very impressed by his knowledge of the Orthodox tradition and the attention he pays to the dialogue between the Catholics and the Orthodox … I believe that this attitude of the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church will greatly help us in our way towards better mutual understanding.”

60 Minutes: Interview with Archbishop Timothy Dolan

Watch this fantastic interview with Archbishop Dolan. A very fair interview. If you do not know the new President of the USCCB this is a great introduction. Enjoy!

Voice and the Liturgy

Pope Benedict XVI said it best,

It is clear that in the liturgy of the Logos, of the Eternal Word, the word and thus the human voice have an essential role to play. (The Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 207)

Within the liturgy, there are a number of “voices” that are heard. You could break the various voices into the following:

  • Oratio – the priestly voice or mode of prayer
  • Lectio – the prophetic voice
    • Prophets: Old Testament reading
    • Apostles: New Testament/Epistle reading
    • Gospel: Read of solemnly sung at High Mass
    • Homily: Teaching voice of the Lord through the deacon, priest and bishop
  • Responsorials – the various responses of the Bride (assembled congregation) to the Bridegroom
    • Psalmady: The response of the Bride to the words of the Prophets encouraging her to act
    • Acclamations: These held great importance in the world of the ancient liturgy (Memorial Acclamations)
    • Antiphonal: The preparation of the Bride’s heart to hear the Word of the Lord
  • New Song – “the great song the Church sings as she goes off toward the music of the New Heaven and Earth(The Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 208)
    • Congregational Singing
    • Antiphonal Singing
  • Silence – the voice of the Bride, when because of the greatness of the mystery, she gasps and is silent yielding to the beauty and quickening of the spirit

As we begin our week, we will look at these various voices and their place in the liturgy. Each has a place and when balanced correctly, sounds like a magnificent orchestra.

The Second Vatican Council was clear. The human voice is the primary instrument of the liturgy. Why? It is an intelligent sound that is directly linked to the movements of the will.

Of all the sounds of which human beings, created in the image and likeness of God, are capable, voice is the most privileged and fundamental. Musical instruments in the Liturgy are best understood as an extension of and support to the primary liturgical instrument, which is the human voice. (Sing Unto the Lord: Music in Divine Worship, paragraph 80)

So, this week, let’s think about our voice and its place in the liturgy. Ever considered that?

Ecclesial Immigration

Did you know that you are a resident alien? That is what the word parishioner means. It comes from the Hellenistic Greek word παρоικια. The word was used in the Septuagint to describe the Jews as sojourners in a foreign land (cf. Gen 15:13, Exd 6:4, Deu 10:19).

As parishioners we should remember that while living here on earth, we are true citizens of the Kingdom of God:

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…(Eph 2:19)

Thus, we should not establish “roots” in the things of this earth but

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Col 3:2)

The Second Vatican Council in Sacrosanctum Concilium (par. 2) affirms this when she says,

It is of the essence of the Church that she be both human and divine, visible and yet invisibly equipped, eager to act and yet intent on contemplation, present in this world and yet not at home in it; and she is all these things in such wise that in her the human is directed and subordinated to the divine, the visible likewise to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, which we seek.

Sacred Scripture also shares,

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. (Heb 13:14)

Naturally, we should feel most at home during the liturgy when heaven and earth embrace through the Divine Mysteries. Did you ever wonder why we have a procession for anything and everything we do? We enter those Divine Mysteries through processions or as it is defined: an assembly on the move. On the move to what, where or whom? To the true love of our hearts, heaven, and the Most Blessed Trinity.

Next time you go to Mass remember that you are truly home in the Church. Additionally, as you consider the challenge(s) that the U.S. is grappling with concerning immigration (legal or otherwise) remind yourselves that you too are a sojourner in a land that is not your own.

Modernist Revisionism and the ‘Smoke of Satan’

Fr. Dwight Longenecker at the Standing on My Head blog published an insightful post, entitled, The Smoke of Satan:

There are many problems in the Catholic Church that might be thought to be the ‘smoke of Satan’ entering the church, but for my money one thing, above all others, has been the successful work of Satan, which has undermined the church, emasculated her ministry, sabotaged the aims of the Holy Spirit and captured a multitude of souls.

It is the modernist re-interpretation of the Catholic faith.

The reductionist results of modern Biblical scholarship and the infiltration of a modernist, rationalistic and materialistic mindset meant that the supernatural was assumed to be impossible, and therefore the Bible stories (and also any supernatural elements of the faith) had to be ‘de-mythologized.’ Everything supernatural within the Biblical account and within the lives of the saints and within the teaching of the church were assumed to be impossible and had to be ‘re-interpreted’ so they would make sense to modern, scientifically minded people.

So the feeding of the five thousand wasn’t a miracle. Instead the ‘real miracle’ was that everyone shared their lunch. Everything had to be questioned and ‘re-interpreted’ in such a way that it could be accepted and understood by modern people. So when we call Jesus Christ “God Incarnate” what we really mean was that he was so fully human, and that as he reached his potential as a man that he shows us what divinity looks like. When we speak of the Blessed Virgin we mean she was ‘a very good and holy Jewish young woman.’ When we speak of the ‘Real Presence’ we mean that we see the ‘Christ that is within each one of us.”

I hate this crap.

It’s the smoke of Satan, and it’s virtually triumphant within the mainstream Protestant churches, and sadly, the modern Catholic Church in the USA is riddled through with the same noxious heresy. The reason it is so obnoxious and disgusting is because priests and clergy of all sorts still use all the traditional language of the liturgy, the Scriptures and the creeds, but they have changed the meaning of it altogether. They never actually stand up and say that they have changed the meaning, and that they no longer believe the faith once delivered to the saints. They don’t discuss the fact that they have not only changed the meaning, but robbed it of meaning altogether. Instead they still stand up week by week and recite the creed as if they think it is true, but what they mean by ‘true’ is totally different from what their people mean.

So ‘Father Flannel’ stands up on Easter Day and says, “Alleluia! Today we rejoice in the glorious resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.” His people think he really believes that Jesus’ dead body came back to life by the power of God and that he went on to live forever. In fact what Father Flannel really means is that “in some way the beautiful teachings of Jesus were remembered and continued by his followers long after his tragic death.” The people don’t know why Father Flannel’s Catholic life is so lightweight and limp and they don’t know why his style is so lacking in substance, and they go on in their muddled way thinking that he really does believe the Catholic faith when, in fact, he doesn’t at all.

Consequently, Fr Flannel doesn’t really have much of a message at all. He doesn’t believe any of the gospel except as some sort of beautiful story which inspires people to be nicer to each other. All that is left of his priesthood, therefore, is to be a nice guy to entertain people with inspirational thoughts and get everyone to be nicer to one another and try to save the planet.

The poor faithful have swallowed this stuff for two or three generations now, and they don’t even know what poison they’re swallowing because the lies are all dressed up in the same traditional language the church has always used. It’s like someone has put battery acid into a milk bottle and given it to a baby, and never imagined that there was anything wrong with doing so–indeed thought it was the best thing for baby.

The faithful don’t know why their church has become like a cross between a Joan Baez concert and a political activism meeting. They don’t understand why they never hear the need for confession or repentance or hear about old fashioned terms like ‘the precious blood’ or ‘ the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord and Savior” The fact of the matter is Father Flannel doesn’t really think that sort of thing is ‘helpful’.

This is why evangelization of the American Catholics in the pew is probably the most difficult task of all. They don’t know what they don’t know. For three generations now they have been given watered down milk and been told it was wine. They actually think that Catholic lite is what it’s all about, and are astounded to think that there are some of us who think that they have actually been fed a version of Christianity that is scarcely Christianity at all.

Re-thinking Liturgical Roles…

This past Monday, my Pastor and I were kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament preparing for Reposition. During the singing of the Tantum Ergo, he turned to me and asked, “Do deacons repose the Blessed Sacrament?” I replied, “I have no idea. You are wearing the humeral veil… don’t you?”  We shrugged our shoulders and continued as usual with him reposing and placing our Lord back into the tabernacle. Afterward, he asked me to research his question.

So, I did. I was surprised to discover that it is the deacon who exposes and reposes our Lord even if a priest is present and/or he is not the presiding minister. The Order for the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist in paragraph 51, concerning reposition states:

If the exposition is to be interrupted, the deacon (or in his absence, a priest, even the presiding minister) immediately removes the blessed sacrament from the monstrance and places it in the tabernacle.

Paragraph31 in the ritual also states the same – even if the period of exposition begins during Holy Mass.

Once I shared my findings, a close friend asked, “How do we explain this to the parishioners since it would appear that the deacon is of a higher rank than the priest? Is it that deacons are like worker bees?” Initially I said said, “Sure” because it was a quick answer but then I realized the great disservice that would be perpetuated by such an analogy. So, I thought through a different answer and composed an email.

If you would permit me, I would like to share the email (although this version is cleaned up – DQ should never quickly write an email and hit send without proofing it, especially at 7 am):

Philoeucharista,

I thought about the worker bee image as an analogy to illustrate the relationship of service between a deacon and priest, especially during adoration. I think while the worker bee image makes it easier for everyone to understand, it is an incorrect one. I think the real challenge is that we are looking for the most efficient way to explain this relationship which translates to the quickest way and, thus, falls short of the theological truths that reveal the vocation.

The following explanation is longer to give to someone but I think it is much closer to the truth. The risk of the worker bee analogy is that it can easily cheapen the dignity of the vocation. It is like saying my wife is just a housekeeper or we are just admin assistants.The worker bee image implies a group working for the good of the whole completing whatever task is assigned to them. The service of the deacon, especially during a liturgy, has a very specific focus and service.

The role of the deacon is to serve the priest in all things that pertain to the altar and the liturgy. It is not a case of dignity (priest is higher than the deacon or that the deacon works for the priest) but a case of function. This type of service is what we were ordained for. The following is the mental challenge that I believe we need to overcome:

Many of the liturgical actions that our priests have been ministering are by way of exception not ministerial duty.

Our current state finds us positioned in such a way that particular duties have been ascribed to priests that are not part of their ministerial priesthood. Why can they function in them and not the laity? They were ordained deacons first. The greater can always serve in a lesser position, but not the other way around. Those who are not ordained have been a special gift to the Church – our Lord provided in our need. For these reasons, the pervasive attitude (which we have discussed multiple times) that Extraordinary Ministers of Readers and Holy Communion demand they have a right to serve and be seen, or to serve when and how they want – I find offensive. Not because I am ordained, but because none of us ever have a right to serve whether we are laity or clergy. The Church suspended a number of liturgical laws and traditions that date back to 494 (Leonine Laws) in order to find a way to assist the priest until the institutes (Instituted Lectors and Acolytes) and order (Deacons) could be reestablished – then phase the extraordinary ministries out. But sadly, and mostly because of lack of training and boundaries, everyone believes these are permanent delegations and they have a right to serve in these ministries.

Priests are ordained for sacrifice which is directly linked to the forgiveness of sins and governance. Deacons are neither coming in to take over priestly actions and duties, nor are we married “wanna be priests”. Some liturgical actions, or duties, were never intended to be fulfilled by them. But, as you know, the deprivation in vocations to the Permanent Diaconate has been basically lacking for 22 years in the diocese (Add to the fact that it was suppressed for 1000 years in the Western Church and we are all still learning how to relate to one another).

Within the liturgy, there are certain tasks and duties that are more perfectly seen and understood by someone serving in persona Christi[1] The deacon provides a sacramental image of Christ the Servant.

Deacon Rex H. Pilger, Jr., Ph.D. in describing the duties that are part and parcel of the deacon’s ministry, also reminds us that a priest and bishop are also deacons,

The munera[2] bestowed on the deacon: proclaiming, preaching, and teaching the Gospel, administering baptism, receiving wedding vows, burying the dead, custodian of the Most Blessed Sacrament, viaticum to the dying, care of the sick, and concern for the poor are still very much the responsibility of the priest and bishop. (The latter, of course, confers the munera.)[3]

This must be understood properly in order to maintain a clear functional and ontological separation between the deacon and the presbyterate/episcopate whose ministry is ordered to sacrifice. While service always requires self-donation, priests (includes bishops) through their actions and words (This is my body…) sacramentally offer themselves through a complete donation as Christ the Priest.

I think a greater temptation for our parish is not that the deacon is higher than the priest but “Why do we need deacons? Laypeople can do whatever needs to be done.” The sacramental grace communicated at ordination provides the Church with a living sign or a living icon of Christ the Servant. The deacon’s simple service of the altar, word and charity is wrapped up in the word serve.

Here again, Deacon Pilger sheds some light on the “why” which may be seen in the:

practical dimensions of diaconal ministry. In the Roman Rite, deacons, together with bishops and priests, are ordinary ministers of Baptism. And, it is through the initial sacrament that the call of Christ the Servant comes: the baptized are called to serve God and neighbor. It is through diakonia that the minister of Baptism — bishop, priest, deacon, or even, in emergency, a layperson — communicates the call. At the beginning of Mass, the deacon may lead the assembly in penitence — pleading the mercy of Christ on his people — the (non-sacramental) forgiveness of sins….. At the altar, the deacon visibly serves, and, as he kneels from the Epiclesis through the first elevation of the chalice, leads the rest of the assembly in adoration as Christ becomes especially Real under the appearance of the gifts of bread and wine. (The deacon’s ordination also involved an epiclesis over the kneeling ordinand, the invocation of the Holy Spirit that strengthens the gifts received at Confirmation.) The deacon elevates and ministers the chalice, the Blood of the new Covenant, shed for the forgiveness of sins. He invites the Sign of Peace. And, finally, he may dismiss the faithful with the most appropriate commission: “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”

The three orders serving in their unique liturgical roles together, provide an HD picture of the person of Christ and the Blessed Trinity. I do not think these are the exact words we need to say but what we need to communicate. I hope this helps. Thanks for asking the question. Maybe we can continue the discussion to figure out the best way to “package the message” for those who have questions.

DQ


[1] Omnium in Mentum, October 26, 2009: Article II makes a clarification to separate the ministerial functions of the Bishop/Priest and deacons “Those who are constituted in the order of the episcopate or the presbyterate receive the mission and capacity to act in the person of Christ the Head, whereas deacons are empowered to serve the People of God in the ministries of the liturgy, the word and charity”. Presently, there is an argument concerning the nature of the clarification. The understanding of this author, who entrusting himself to the explanations of the diaconal formation team and canonists, is that the deacon serves in persona Christi by way of imageo dei and not as capitas or the head.

[2] Munera: assigned service, function, duty

[3] Pilger, Jr., Ph.D, Rex H., Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, November 2006 (pp 23-27)

What’s in a Blessing: Latin Rite Deacons

Well, I have survived the first week. Yep, you betcha! One week ago, by the grace of God the Father, Bishop Paul S. Loverde, ordinary of the Diocese of Arlington, counted me among the sixteen men he ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons. I am still reflecting on the profundity of the day and what it means to be ontologically changed – that’s another post!

In the meantime, my assignment to St. Mary of Sorrows in Fairfax, started upon ordination. I served my first Divine Liturgy the day of ordination with my Bishop and then preached my first Mass the following day at St. Mary’s. Reflecting on the past week, I found it curious what most people requested (Hint: Look at the title of this post.) A large part of my public service this week has been to provide the People of God blessings. I have been asked to bless a countless number of people and articles – some weirder than others (Yes, I turned some of them down). To many Catholics, blessings make sense, but to non-Catholics (or non-sacramental churches) this liturgical action is a bit of a mystery.

Fr. John Hardon, SJ, in the Modern Catholic Dictionary, defines a blessing this way (separation of the definition by the author):

1. As found in Scripture, it means praise, the desire that good fortune go with a person or thing, dedication of a person or thing to God’s service and a gift.

2. In liturgical language a blessing is a ritual ceremony by which an authorized cleric in major orders sanctifies persons or things to divine service, or invokes divine favor on what he blesses. The Church’s ritual provides for over two hundred such blessings, some of which are reserved to bishops or members of certain religious institutes.

In colloquial terms, when someone says at work, home or with friends, “You are blessed,” they are referring to the first sense of the definition. But, what people ask for is found in the second sense of the definition. Clerics bless those objects which assist the individual in living a life of grace and drawing them closer to the Lord. This also includes setting apart people and objects to assist in the welfare of the People of God. The following are the blessings that a Deacon may administer:

Blessings Pertaining to Persons

  1. Order for the Blessing of a Family
  2. Order for the Annual Blessing of Families in Their Own Homes
  3. Order for the Blessing of a Married Couple outside Mass
  4. Order for the Blessing of Children
  5. Order for the Blessing of Sons and Daughters
  6. Order for the Blessing of an Engaged Couple
  7. Order for the Blessing of Parents before Childbirth
  8. Orders for the Blessing of a Mother before Childbirth and after Childbirth
  9. Order for the Blessing of Parents after a Miscarriage
  10. Order for the Blessing of Parents and an Adopted Child
  11. Order of Blessing on the Occasion of a Birthday
  12. Orders for the Blessing of Elderly People Confined to Their Homes
  13. Order for the Blessing of the Sick
  14. Order for the Blessing of a Person Suffering from Addiction or from Substance Abuse
  15. Order for the Blessing of a Victim of Crime or Oppression
  16. Order for the Blessing of Those Appointed as Catechists
  17. Order of Blessing for a Catechetical or Prayer Meeting
  18. Blessings of Catechumens
  19. Order for the Blessing of Students and Teachers
  20. Order for the Blessing of Ecumenical Groups
  21. Order for the Blessing of Organizations Concerned with Public Need
  22. Orders for the Blessing of Pilgrims
  23. Order for the Blessing of Travelers

Blessings Related to Buildings and to Various Forms of Human Activity

  1. Order for the Blessing of a New Building Site
  2. Order for the Blessing of a New Home
  3. Order for the Blessing of a New School or University
  4. Order for the Blessing of a New Library
  5. Order for the Blessing of a Parish Hall or Catechetical Center (by delegation from the pastor)
  6. Order for the Blessing of a New Hospital or Other Facility for the Care of the Sick
  7. Order for the Blessing of an Office, Shop, or Factory
  8. Order for the Blessing of Centers of Social Communication
  9. Order for the Blessing of a Gymnasium or a Field for Athletics
  10. Order for the Blessing of Various Means of Transportation
  11. Order for the Blessing of Boats and Fishing Gear
  12. Order for the Blessing of Technical Installations or Equipment
  13. Order for the Blessing of Tools or Other Equipment for Work Order for the Blessing of Animals
  14. Order for the Blessing of Fields and Flocks
  15. Order for the Blessing of Seeds at Planting Time
  16. Order for a Blessing on the Occasion of Thanksgiving for the Harvest
  17. Order for the Blessing of an Athletic Event
  18. Order for the Blessing Before and After Meals

Blessings of Objects that Are Designed or Erected for Use in Churches, either in the Liturgy or in Popular Devotions

  1. Order for the Blessing of a Repository for the Holy Oils
  2. Order for the Blessing of Articles for Liturgical Use (shorter rite outside Mass)
  3. Order for the Blessing of Holy Water outside Mass

Blessings of Articles Meant to Foster the Devotion of the Christian People

  1. Order for the Blessing of Religious Articles
  2. Order for the Blessing of Rosaries

Blessings Related to Feasts and Seasons

  1. Order for the Blessing of an Advent Wreath (outside Mass)
  2. Order for the Blessing of a Christmas Manger or Nativity Scene (outside Mass)
  3. Order for the Blessing of a Christmas Tree
  4. Order for the Blessing of Homes during the Christmas and Easter Seasons
  5. Order for the Blessing of Throats on the Feast of Saint Blaise
  6. Order for the Blessing and Distribution of Ashes
  7. Order for the Blessing of Saint Joseph’s Table (March 19)
  8. Order for the Blessing of Food for the First Meal of Easter
  9. Order for Visiting a Cemetery on All Souls Day, Memorial Day, or on the Anniversary of Death or Burial
  10. Order for the Blessing of Food for Thanksgiving Day
  11. Order for the Blessing of Food or Drink or Other Elements Connected with Devotion

Blessings for Various Needs and Occasions

  1. Order for the Blessing of Those Who Exercise Pastoral Service
  2. Order for the Blessing of Readers (with delegation by the pastor)
  3. Order for the Blessing of Altar Servers, Sacristans, Musicians, and Ushers (with delegation by the pastor)
  4. Order for the Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (outside Mass, with delegation by the pastor)
  5. Order for the Blessing of Officers of Parish Societies (with delegation by the pastor)
  6. Order for a Blessing in Thanksgiving
  7. Order for a Blessing to be Used in Various Circumstances

Blessings Pertaining to Persons

Order for the Blessing of a Family

Order for the Annual Blessing of Families in Their Own Homes

Order for the Blessing of a Married Couple outside Mass

Order for the Blessing of Children

Order for the Blessing of Sons and Daughters

Order for the Blessing of an Engaged Couple

Order for the Blessing of Parents before Childbirth

Orders for the Blessing of a Mother before Childbirth and after Childbirth

Order for the Blessing of Parents after a Miscarriage

Order for the Blessing of Parents and an Adopted Child

Order of Blessing on the Occasion of a Birthday

Orders for the Blessing of Elderly People Confined to Their Homes

Order for the Blessing of the Sick

Order for the Blessing of a Person Suffering from Addiction or from Substance Abuse

Order for the Blessing of a Victim of Crime or Oppression

Order for the Blessing of Those Appointed as Catechists

Order of Blessing for a Catechetical or Prayer Meeting

Blessings of Catechumens

Order for the Blessing of Students and Teachers

Order for the Blessing of Ecumenical Groups

Order for the Blessing of Organizations Concerned with Public Need

Orders for the Blessing of Pilgrims

Order for the Blessing of Travelers

Blessings Related to Buildings and to Various Forms of Human Activity

Order for the Blessing of a New Building Site

Order for the Blessing of a New Home

Order for the Blessing of a New School or University

Order for the Blessing of a New Library

Order for the Blessing of a Parish Hall or Catechetical Center (by delegation from the pastor)

Order for the Blessing of a New Hospital or Other Facility for the Care of the Sick

Order for the Blessing of an Office, Shop, or Factory

Order for the Blessing of Centers of Social Communication

Order for the Blessing of a Gymnasium or a Field for Athletics

Order for the Blessing of Various Means of Transportation

Order for the Blessing of Boats and Fishing Gear

Order for the Blessing of Technical Installations or Equipment

Order for the Blessing of Tools or Other Equipment for Work Order for the Blessing of Animals

Order for the Blessing of Fields and Flocks

Order for the Blessing of Seeds at Planting Time

Order for a Blessing on the Occasion of Thanksgiving for the Harvest

Order for the Blessing of an Athletic Event

Order for the Blessing Before and After Meals

Blessings of Objects that Are Designed or Erected for Use in Churches, either in the Liturgy or in Popular Devotions

Order for the Blessing of a Repository for the Holy Oils

Order for the Blessing of Articles for Liturgical Use (shorter rite outside Mass)

Order for the Blessing of Holy Water outside Mass

Blessings of Articles Meant to Foster the Devotion of the Christian People

Order for the Blessing of Religious Articles

Order for the Blessing of Rosaries

Blessings Related to Feasts and Seasons

Order for the Blessing of an Advent Wreath (outside Mass)

Order for the Blessing of a Christmas Manger or Nativity Scene (outside Mass)

Order for the Blessing of a Christmas Tree

Order for the Blessing of Homes during the Christmas and Easter Seasons

Order for the Blessing of Throats on the Feast of Saint Blaise

Order for the Blessing and Distribution of Ashes

Order for the Blessing of Saint Joseph’s Table (March 19)

Order for the Blessing of Food for the First Meal of Easter

Order for Visiting a Cemetery on All Souls Day, Memorial Day, or on the Anniversary of Death or Burial

Order for the Blessing of Food for Thanksgiving Day

Order for the Blessing of Food or Drink or Other Elements Connected with Devotion

Blessings for Various Needs and Occasions

Order for the Blessing of Those Who Exercise Pastoral Service

Order for the Blessing of Readers (with delegation by the pastor)

Order for the Blessing of Altar Servers, Sacristans, Musicians, and Ushers (with delegation by the pastor)

Order for the Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (outside Mass, with delegation by the pastor)

Order for the Blessing of Officers of Parish Societies (with delegation by the pastor)

Order for a Blessing in Thanksgiving

Order for a Blessing to be Used in Various Circumstances

Thanksgiving and Communion

Happy Thanksgiving! If your family is like mine, today will be a day of family, feasting, and fun. And, that is the way it should be. Meals are incredibly important to our understanding of who we are and our communion with others. Jesus’ own ministry demonstrates the importance of meals.

His great respect for food and drink can be seen throughout his public ministry. His first public miracle was changing water into wine. He understood our need for bodily nourishment. When He raised Jarius’ daughter from the dead, he did not wait for thanks, but told them to get her something to eat. When the crowds came to hear him teach and Jesus saw they came without food, He provided it for them.

He believed in the dignity of all creation and particularly food. The devil tempted Him in the desert to turn stones into bread and, though hungry, He refused. Jesus recognized that the stone was something real and should be respected and likewise with the bread. He showed the great potential of water becoming more than itself by becoming wine.  Through the multiplication of loaves, He used it to show the ultimate potential of bread.

It is interesting to note that our Lord taught the meaning of forgiveness, the supremacy of love, and the dignity of service in the context of meals. Remember Zacchaeus once he came down from the tree?  Perhaps when he visited Mary and Martha for a meal and had to calm Martha’s anxiety over the preparation? Of course, one of my favorites is the Samaritan woman at the well when our Lord said that while the water might refresh, He could give a drink that would quench her thirst eternally.

At the Last Supper, His self-gifting became the context for giving us the His Body and Blood. Through this Paschal meal, he brought to fullness all the Passover Sedars; the manna in the desert that had been celebrated since the captivity in Egypt. The Last Supper is replete with meaning and emphasizes the sacredness of every meal that He had partaken of in Nazareth, Bethany and Capernum. Notice that after the Resurrection, He revealed Himself to the Apostles in the intimacy of a meal on the beach.

The family meal is so important. Growing up, regardless of the dive or track meets, the meetings or getting home late from work, we always ate our meals together. If dad was getting home late, a snack could hold us over. In my own family, we also eat our meals together. The family meal is one of the most important, and overlooked, moments in our lives. Sr. Timothy Prokes, FSE in her chapter on Real Food and Virtual Nourishment says,

It is difficult for persons who have not experienced the simple, consistent ritual of family meals to know the significance of Jesus’ revelations and actions being integrated within meals.

Faith is more caught than taught. For Jesus, the best place to be with His companions (which incidentally means “together with bread”) was a meal. They were not only teaching moments but moments of community. So, as you gather to be thankful for God’s blessings and time with your family, remember to talk about the things closest to your heart. It is during this time that you will be learning and teaching the most profound aspect of the theology of the Trinity…Communion. Happy Thanksgiving!

Are They Really Catholic?

This is the most lucid response I have heard concerning the relationship of the Eastern Churches to the Latin Rite. I think Bishop Kevin Farrell’s (Diocese of Dallas) makes a great point expressing the frustration of the Eastern Churches that the Latin Rite often refers to herself as the Roman Rite. They are in union with Rome too. The funny thing is that “Roman” Rite was a slur for several centuries. I guess we didn’t care and turned an insult into a badge of honor. I will be making a concerted effort in the future not to refer to the Latin Rite as the Roman Rite from this day forward.

Here is Bishop Farrell’s blog post:

Are they really Catholic?

Media coverage of the recent tragic bombing of the Syrian Catholic Church in Baghdad and the Middle Eastern Synod last month has reminded many Catholics that the term “Catholic” extends beyond the Roman and Latin Rite to which we belong. Some have even asked of Eastern Rite churches: “Are they really Catholic?”

The answer is a resounding yes, although their histories are very different than those of the Roman Rite. There are some 20 Eastern Rite churches, that have their own hierarchy and their own canon law, but all are in communion with the Pope. With the exception of the Maronites and elements of the Italo-Albanian Byzantine Catholic Church, the roots of Eastern Rite churches are in Orthodox or Oriental churches that separated from Rome. Parts of those separated churches later were reunited with Rome and compose the Eastern Rite Catholic churches.

Division among Christians began early with the first separations occurring as a result of the Council of Ephesus in 431 a.d., and others after the Council of Chalcedon in 451. In 1054 the Great Schism between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church occurred. Those churches that resulted from the earlier divisions are generally referred to as Oriental churches and those from the Great Schism as Orthodox churches. About half of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches find their roots in the Oriental Churches and the others in the Orthodox Churches. All are sometimes referred to as “uniate,” meaning that they are in union with the Pope.

While the liturgies of the Eastern Rites are very different from the Roman Rite, the essential Eucharistic celebration remains the same. All adhere to the same teaching or magisterium, but the hierarchical structures vary. Most Eastern Rite Churches are found in the Middle Eastern countries and are minority churches in predominately Muslim countries. Some are under siege, others enjoy greater religious freedom.

Many have congregations in America, including in the Diocese of Dallas where we have Eastern Rite communities from both the Orthodox and Oriental traditions.

Yes, they are really Catholic with a capital C , but they also demonstrate how the church is catholic with a small c.

To learn more about our Eastern Rite Catholic churches visit the Catholic Near East Welfare Association website at www.cnewa.com.

+ Kevin Farrell