The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Check out this Catholic funeral

posted by jmcgee
After all the hand-wringing over Senator Kennedy’s funeral, a reader decided to send me something altogether different. I thought I’d post it and see what folks think. 
It’s the webscast of the funeral of a sister, held earlier this week at Loyola Marymount.  The person who sent this to me believes it to be both “faithful to the Rite,” and a great tribute to the person involved.   
But: Is it liturgically correct?  
Among other things, I was surprised to see lay people — presumably, family — set the altar before the presentation of the gifts.  I was even more surprised to see a female altar server preparing the priest’s chalice and filling it with wine.  I’ve never seen either of those done before.  (And, frankly, both are supposed to be done by the deacon –though, there wasn’t one at this mass.)  
Check it out.  Maybe I’m being picky.  But I’d like to hear some other opinions.  Thoughts? 


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Michele

posted October 19, 2009 at 6:28 pm


I found this from ZENIT by Fr. Robert McNamara…
The rite of offertory is described, among other places, in No. 139 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM). It states: “When the Prayer of the Faithful is completed, all sit, and the Offertory chant begins (cf. above, no. 74). An acolyte or other lay minister arranges the corporal, the purificator, the chalice, the pall, and the Missal upon the altar.”



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Jason

posted October 19, 2009 at 7:53 pm


Every day, 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes. (http://www.bread.org/learn/hunger-basics/hunger-facts-international.html) But what passes for a good Catholic blog entry these days is a mass where the laity get too close to the altar.
I thought this post was going to point out an inspiring tribute to a woman who gave her life to the Church. But no, you just wanted to wag your finger at the liturgy.
Deacon Kandra, sometimes I just get tired of this kind of thing on Catholic blogs. But from your blog, I guess I just want something more.



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Gabriel McAuliffe

posted October 19, 2009 at 8:07 pm


Funny it is that one cannot legitimatlely bring up proper liturgical questions. I suppose bringing up unpleasant statistics are supposed to quiet any discussion.
How sad it is that Jason wants to make sure discussion of proper liturgy is quelled.
Oh well, the next time Jason brings up a question on something not as important as the fact that many have died from abortion in this country since 1973, we’ll just keep him quiet too.
God rest the soul of this sister, and may proper liturgy prevail.



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DML

posted October 19, 2009 at 8:43 pm


I’m with Jason. It is particularly saddening to see your objection to a woman preparing the priest’s chalice Greg.



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted October 19, 2009 at 8:56 pm


DML…
The rubrics are unambiguous: “The deacon (or the priest) pours wine and a little water into the chalice, saying inaudibly: ‘By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.’”
Blessings,
Dcn. G.



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Jason

posted October 19, 2009 at 9:11 pm


As I reflect, my previous comment is a personal frustration after perusing some “Catholic” blogs today, and I shouldn’t have taken it out in this comment box.
Deacon Kandra, I apologize.



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted October 19, 2009 at 9:21 pm


Thanks, Jason. No apology necessary.
It’s a big church :-)
Peace,
Dcn. G.



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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted October 19, 2009 at 9:48 pm


Wow, I did not watch it all, but a lot of it. I thought it was a beautiful liturgy.
I am familiar with the lay altar dressing as well as the female server filling the cup in the absence of a deacon. I am not scandalized by it.



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Johanna

posted October 19, 2009 at 10:08 pm


It appears to me these types of abuses stem from inappropriate interpretation of the idea coming from Vatican II that encourages “active participation” in the Mass. I always took that phrase to apply in a mental and emotional way, but I feel as though many see it as applying in a physical way, that we’re supposed to do a lot of actions during the Mass.
The question for me is how much liturgical abuse is okay? If we allow a certain amount of abuse, that can be a slippery slope of just doing anything we want, but if we have a zero tolerance policy toward any type of abuse, we run the risk of being scrupulous.



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cathyf

posted October 19, 2009 at 11:32 pm


Johanna, it is a myth perpetrated by traditionalists that somehow the notion of active participation in the liturgy came from Vatican II. The council did not invent these things — it merely spread to the whole world what had been going on in the various Catholic Action movements for decades. Things like dialog Masses, congregational singing, frequent reception of Communion — which traditionalists had been fighting against for decades before Vatican II. It it wasn’t just the progressive parts of the church like Chicago — my dad recounts his wonderful 8th grade in a Catholic school in 1948-49 in rural Indiana where the entire focus of the year was to teach the students to understand Latin well enough that they could truly pray the prayers of the Mass.



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Dana MacKenzie

posted October 20, 2009 at 12:06 am


Sorry. Not loving it. I have a big problem with the lay people coming up to “set the table” for Communion. It emphasizes the meal over the sacrifice and diminishes the role of the priest (who have been diminished enough and should certainly NOT be diminished further, into acting like little more than a “consecrational stud” in this Year of the Priest). It also seem fussy, proud (not humble) and completely outside the scope of the laity within the offertory.
Especially within this year of the priest, could we perhaps begin to reestablish the PRIESTLY role of “celebrant” over “presider.” I’m frankly getting sick of this happy clappy liturgical abuse. I’m kind of glad the Anglican Rite might be becoming more common in the Catholic Church. Maybe I’ll move over to it, as the US church becomes ever-more horizontal, focused on a laity that sings too much about itself and puts itself way too much to the fore.



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Dana MacKenzie

posted October 20, 2009 at 12:12 am


And I am sorry to sound like such a crank, but I had to sit through one of these fussy liturgies in Rochester, and I found it distracting in the extreme, and a little on the pushy side.
Also, that was classy, Jason, to come back and apologize to the Deacon. You know, I used to be a lot more liberal, and coming in with both barrels blowing, insisting that because there were still hungry people in the world or still human rights violations in China, it meant we were not supposed to focus on anything else, or you know – have joy or be frivolous. I couldn’t sustain that level of anger. Sometimes I think the worst lie about liberalism is that it somehow gives one “moral authority” to judge others. Neither liberalism nor conservatism does that, though. It just makes us pains in the necks.



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Joe of St. Therese

posted October 20, 2009 at 1:23 am


May we pray for the Repose of her soul…Though the action was not Liturgically correct. Liturgy must be done by the books and it is not ours to mess with. Things should be done by the letter of the GIRM



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Friar Rick Riccioli

posted October 20, 2009 at 3:50 am


What a powerful liturgy in praise of God for the gift of a woman who gave her life in witness and service.
The setting of the altar by family and students was beautiful and the altar server who poured the wine was clearly the most proactive person at that altar… everybody else seemed overwhelmed by the liturgical clutter of multiple chalices and ciboria. But to focus on this blip in the liturgy, or that fact that it should have been done by a deacon is a little sad. For whatever reason there was no deacon. But there was a church filled with faith-filled young people who celebrated well.



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Fr. Paul Wharton

posted October 20, 2009 at 6:17 am


It seemed to me the most glaring example of ignoring rubrics was by the preacher who gave an expressly forbidden eulogy instead of preaching the gospel.



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted October 20, 2009 at 6:37 am


Good points, Dana.
This liturgy was obviously carefully thought out, and done with great love. But — and I know this will be heresy to some people — Kennedy’s funeral, for all its problems and abuses and liturgical gaffes, offered (to my way of thinking, at least) a deeper sense of the sacred.
Maybe it’s just a matter of personal taste.
Peace,
Dcn. G.



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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted October 20, 2009 at 7:26 am


One of the challenges of blogging… and faith and life God knows what else, while we are at it, is the tendency to want to quickly address things. I am the queen of this lest anyone think that I am casting stones, which I am not. I am just pulling this through. In what may yet be another ridiculous comment. If that is the case, my apologies.
What strikes me as I read through these comments and the comments on many posts (my own comments included, mea culpa) is that they are so brief and superficial. And what we speak about here is such a sacred mystery and has such a long rich arc.
An arc that is dynamically still alive. Forgive me, I am not a theologian, so the words that follow may not make total sense.
We are not finished… The Body of Christ, meaning all of us who *are* the Body of Christ are ever in motion moving forth towards whatever is to come. Whatever is to come is beyond us and we are here to be that Body of Christ in the world.
As someone with a particular interest in liturgy I wonder what the point of – spiritually and theologically – trying to set the liturgy in some kind of stone.
Now there are standards and they must be fulfilled according to the teachings of our church. However, most of us – and I do mean most of us – are hard pressed to be able to say exactly how this should be done.
Now before someone comes after me, please know that I am not suggesting that it is that unclear. But liturgy is alive and dynamic, not static.
Full, active and conscious participation of all sorts is what is required of us as stated by the liturgy documents at this moment. That has not changed. How that is lived out varies and in a mirror of our lives, living that out is done with hope, but it is not done perfectly.
A brief study of liturgical practices over the past 2000 years shows many changes from the early home churches to what we have today. And I suspect it will change more as we are called ever deeper. That is why we are Catholic and we have the Magisterium to guide us in the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
That is ultimately done through human beings… broken and hopefully blessed as we do what we do. It is easy to scoff at this liturgy and equally easy to scoff at a liturgy with the priest in a fiddleback vestment facing away from us.
No liturgy of the Catholic Church should be scoffed at with such ease. If we are called to be One, then we are doing a pretty sad job of it.
I don’t know what the answers are, but I do believe that if we keep excluding and mocking one another, we are farther from ever realizing the unity and the diversity that is called for in our Trinitarian faith and religion.
Liturgical abuses? Please. To me some of the worst are how we treat one another, again myself included, God forgive me, God forgive us all.



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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted October 20, 2009 at 9:07 am


I drove to work and was compelled to come amend my words.
I said:
We are not finished… The Body of Christ, meaning all of us who *are* the Body of Christ are ever in motion moving forth towards whatever is to come. Whatever is to come is beyond us and we are here to be that Body of Christ in the world.
What I really want to say is that the fullness if realized in Christ Jesus. In our human state and with our limited understanding we are trying to understand and move into the fullness in ways that have just not completely happened.
The liturgy, Eucharist is dynamic and alive and we along with it as the Body of Christ in the world.



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Chris

posted October 20, 2009 at 2:35 pm


The Mass isn’t the setting for ad libs or for self-expression, however intense or appealing is the emotion. It’s not all that hard to “say the black, do the red.” The Mass is not about us in the pews at the moment — it reaches from those present to those in heaven and purgatory, back to Calvary and to the little group gathered in the “upper room.” Every phrase and movement has been thought out and codified, with plenty of alternatives allowed (see all the varied Eucharistic prayers).



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Deacon David Ford

posted November 2, 2009 at 5:57 pm


Dear Greg:
You asked for others’ opinion and so here it is. I am appalled that someone would take a fellow believer’s funeral and “use it” as an example to critique and analyze and pick apart. (liturgically or otherwise)
You placed this on your blog Greg and ‘ran with it.’ Dare I say, you are better than this.
You speak of a “sister.” Greg, this was a woman with a NAME and a STORY and life of service to God’s Church. And someone sends this in to “analyze” like a “specimen” in a medical students’ lab? How very sad indeed.
And then, one’s analysis focuses on whether or who “poured the water into the wine” and who “placed the gifts on the altar” – This is sad indeed as well. It speaks unfortunately of where some are as Church with so many focused on rules and rubrics and dare I say, completely missing the “forrest for the trees.”…human dignity….
This woman had faith, and a sacred story, and she deserves much much better treatment from the “armchair liturgists” and and self-appointed ‘guardians of liturgical orthodoxy” whether they be laymen or Deacons.
I was frankly ashamed of this kind of treatment.For shame, Greg.
rest in peace sr. peg dolan, may her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen
Deacon David Ford



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted November 2, 2009 at 6:19 pm


Thank you, David.
I appreciate and welcome your candor.
Blessings,
Greg



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