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What did you hear?

posted by awelborn

Sorry about the delay. Right after that previous post went up, Typepad went kaput, and so I went to bed.

What was the liturgy like where you were this weekend? Did the presider make jokes about being hungover from celebrating? (Not him…the congregation). Which of the several themes available did the homilist and liturgy focus on?

We had another "straw man" homily – the homilist sets up a situation which supposedly describes how his listeners feel and then corrects the error. In this case it was the, according to him, widespread feeling that Mary could never identify with us and our difficulties, which was certainly news to me. He basically went through the difficulties she did experience, and then said, see, she is someone to identify with. I’m doubtful that most people share the straw man’s feelings, and seems to me there were richer veins to mine than that one, but ah well. Music was mostly Christmas…Good Christian friends, rejoice….

To me, the best part of Mass was having another person around to hold the baby, the novelty of which fascinated the baby as well. Oh, and he (the baby) also attempted singing. He kind of wrinkled his nose, squinted and sang "Ahhhhhh" with a rather pained expression.



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Dick Rood

posted January 2, 2006 at 8:07 am


Excellent sermon about the Memorare and then a meditation on Mary who supplied the flesh for the Christ – the hands which healed the Leper the feet which allowed him to seek out the sinner – the arms to stretch upon the cross. A beautiful homily from an ailing retired Monsignor who had a cold and excused himself from distributing the Host. Music; we joined a soloist who had a lovely voice. Parish in South Jersey.



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Rob

posted January 2, 2006 at 8:35 am


St. Gabriel the Archangel in Colorado Springs
Sermon was about making New Year’s resolutions and recommended that we look to Mary as our example and make a resolution to know and live our Catholic faith.



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meg

posted January 2, 2006 at 8:50 am


St. Martha
Point Pleasant, NJ
Mostly Christmas songs. During the collection the Little Drummer Boy was played with a full set of drums and the closing song was They’ll Know We are Christians by Our Love (ugh!) The sermon by the pastor was good. He went through the readings and then focused on how Mary was one of us and that God became one of us through her. He also discussed other implications to our life of this event



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meg

posted January 2, 2006 at 8:52 am


Just a note about the Christmas masses. The trees have finally been lit and it looks much better.



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alicia

posted January 2, 2006 at 9:05 am


Immaculate Heart of Mary, Concord NH (home of the Padre Pio perpetual adoration chapel – if you are ever in town drop by!).
Homily was on Mary. How this “insignificant, unimportant, girl” (said with heavy sarcasm, obviously a reference to those who dis her!) was the one through whom the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us. About how Satan HATES her because through her obedience salvation came into the world. How she tells us to “do what He tells you”. A mild digression into heavy theological terms “The ontological reality is that through the incarnation we are all made sons of God”. Closed with a plea to say yes to God and no to sin.
This priest also has the habit at the end of Mass, after the announcements and before the blessing, of kneeling before the crucifix and inviting us all to join him in prayer for a return to virtue in our country and for a respect for life – an our father, hail mary, and glory be.
Music – the parish uses the Gather hymnal. There is a very dedicated and reasonably musical group with good harmony and subdued piano accompaniment. I could wish that they might tackle chant – I think that they would do it well – but the music was tolerable and father DOES NOT TOLERATE applause! Most of the songs were Marian but the recessional was “Angels we have heard on High”.



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MJ

posted January 2, 2006 at 9:20 am


Yes, I hate the politically correct words too … in fact, “Good Christian MEN Rejoice” is one of my favorite carols, but we’re not singing it because of the new title. There are plenty of others to sing, so I’m just ignoring this one (although many have inclusive language in the body of the text, GCM is just the most egregious example, with it hitting you smack in the title). We should all rise up and storm the gates of OCP and others who change lyrics, but I am too overwhelmed with the business of raising children and earning a living to be a one-woman campaign against that.
Amazing how feminists today have no problem with women taking off their clothes for men at the drop of a hat (or should I say dollar), yet mention the word “men” and they run screaming from the room.
As far as our Masses, the sermon was about a statue of Mary outside a seminary which showed Mary’s (and our) necessity of depending on Christ. Very good.
There were no readers or servers at the early Mass on Sunday. Normally my boys fill in to serve when others don’t show up, but they were sick at home with colds.
Most of the choir members indicated at rehearsal that they’d be at the Sunday Mass, but instead they showed up for Saturday, so we had some good singing there: the Gloria, and a traditional Croatian hymn at the end. For Sunday morning, our Croatian choir sang Cr. Christmas carols before and during Mass, a noble effort from the musicians who had been up late entertaining at the parish New Year’s Eve party the night before. For the second Sunday Mass, we had fewer singers, and maybe they were groggy from the night before — some of them sang the wrong verse on the Cr. song at the end, and I tried, with the cold I have, to fight them toward the right one in my newly-learned Croatian, to no avail. Everyone ended up in giggles, which I guess is better than tears!
To not leave Mary completely out on her feast in favor of carols, we sang “O Sanctissima” (in English, sorry), which I like at Christmas since it is also a Christmas hymn (“O Thou Joyful Day”). I also played a short chorale prelude on the traditional Magnificat chant, but to tell you the truth, I don’t think anyone could follow the tune. I know I couldn’t.



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hieronymus has a blog now

posted January 2, 2006 at 9:28 am


Midnight at St. John Cantius, immediately following a holy hour with Exposition, a few carols, a rosary with chanted Salve Regina, Benediction, and a Te Deum with bells.
Missa Cantata, with Gregorian chant from the Christmas kyrial. Homily by Father Dennis on spiritual circumcision – how the mark of the old covenant prefigured Baptism, and signifies the cutting away of sin – we are not obligated to be physically circumcised, but we must be circumcised in our hearts. After the communion antiphon, a version of Resonet in Laudibus that I had not yet heard was sung.
Having already fulfilled my obligation in the Tridentine rite, I took the opportunity to visit Annunciation in Homer Glen (first time in months) for the Liturgy of St. Basil on the 1st. Carpathian Chant in English, with the thrice-holy hymn in Slavonic. Similar homily, with Fr. Loya mentioning the violence of the Christmas story – Satan in the Nativity Icon, Herod and the Holy Innocents, etc. And saying that circumcision was an appropriate sign of the old covenant because it marked with pain and bloodshed the very place in the flesh where life is transmitted and love expressed – and that in the new covenant, out life and love are still marked by pain and bloodshed – they remain the sign of God’s covenant.



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Thomas

posted January 2, 2006 at 9:44 am


Homily
Fr. Paul Ward
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, January 1, 2006
St. Josaphat and Sweetest Heart of Mary parishes. Detroit, Michigan
Nestorius and the Nature of Motherhood
It was the year 428, perhaps 429 a.d., and the Bishop Patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius, stepped up to the pulpit and attacked a word as if it were an invention of heretics. This word was “Theotokos,” mother of God. Immediately his assertions drew fire from more faithful sons of the Church, the renowned layman Eusebius and St. Cyril of Alexandria, to name a few.
This historical succession of events leaves us today with two urgent questions: Was Mary the Mother of God? And What difference does it make if she is or if she isn’t?
Let’s start with the second question first: what difference does it make if Mary is the Mother of God?
If she is not the Mother of God, then she is not the mother of the Messiah, for the Messiah is God. If she is not the Mother of God, she is not the Mediatrix with Christ the Mediator, she is not the Redemtrix with Christ the Redeemer, then her intercession is not powerful, then she need not be a virgin and free from all sin even original sin.
If she is the Mother of God, then she is the Mediatrix and Redemtrix, a powerful intercessor on behalf of sinners, the perpetual virgin mother, the Immaculate Conception, and the woman who has received more extraordinary graces than any human mind could ever understand. That’s why this question is important.
And today there’s a special application of the doctrine of Mary, Mother of God: it has to do with the nature of motherhood, which in our day is in great crisis, as is fatherhood in a great crisis but in a different way. This is made clear when we answer the first question we raised, “Was Mary the Mother of God?” And more, “Is she still?”
The answer is a resounding YES. This fellow, Nestorius, claimed that Mary was not the Mother of God, because God was spiritual, the Eternal Word, who existed before his alleged “mother,” and that calling Mary the Mother of God basically asserted that the eternal and spiritual God has his origin in a mortal and bodily person, the woman Mary.
What Bishop Nestorius wasn’t taking into account was, first of all, the faith of the Church that Jesus Christ is one person in two natures. That is to say, the one person of the Son of God, who is one of the three persons of the Holy Trinity, was completely and truly God, sharing the same substance of the Father and the Son; and at the same time, he was completely Man. He had two natures, two intellects, two wills, but one substance and person in which all of these things resided.
We hear today many theologians – and less-than-theologians! – stating that Jesus didn’t know who he was, and they speculate on when he came to the understanding that he was the Christ.
Such pathetic theologians have no Christian faith, for they truly deny that he had a divine nature, and that he knew all things with his divine intellect while his human intellect had to learn in time. We of course can’t imagine what that’s like, because none of us here is both God and man. But Jesus knew with both intellects.
Nestorius would go so far as to say, OK, Mary is the Mother of Jesus’ human nature, but not the mother of his divine nature. So let me ask you this, to all the mothers here present – and this is the moment when we learn something crucial about the nature of motherhood, motherhood which is in crisis today, motherhood which is under fire, which is looked down upon and attacked by our pro-contraception and pro-abortion American society. Let me ask all you mothers present: are you the mother of a nature, or the mother of a person? How many mothers out there go to parties and show off your children saying, “This is the first human nature I gave birth to, Marianne, and this is the second human nature, Michael… See all these kids? They are my human natures.” None of you say this.
You say, “This is my daughter, this is my son,” and what you say is true. A mother is a mother of a person. Now, in Mary’s case the person of whom she was mother had his origin from all eternity, from the substance of the Father, and there was never a time when this person was not. She was not the creator of her son, but the mother of her son. And therefore she lived her motherhood in reference to a higher Law than her own caprice, and a higher Love than her own transient feelings.
No mother ever in the course of history has ever been the creator of her children, nor has any human father. God alone creates the human person. The intimate marital embrace can explain to some degree the origin of the body, but never the origin of the soul. In marriage, the couple collaborate lovingly with God in the creation of the human person, and it is a privilege to be associated to the Creative Power of God. All persons have their origin in God and in God alone.
To be a mother is a mystery; to be a father, too, but we will discuss this another day. For a time you have two souls in your one body, before you give birth. You are the custodian chosen by God, not the creator who may toy with the creatures you create. You have a responsibility, and will answer for your deeds, for good and for evil. You may have decided to have a child, but the fact that you had one was God’s Will and Providence; and as for whom you got, you didn’t decide that at all, discovering whom God sent to your life and home is the adventure and task of a lifetime.
And so the meditation on the mystery of Mary, Mother of God, is a call to all mothers: live up to your vocation; love your children by teaching and encouraging, by disciplining and correcting faults, by nourishing and nurturing, by doing all that is in your power to form the image of Jesus Christ in your children. Of course, as they get older, they are free, and may squander all the good you invest in them; but that’s their problem really, not yours. For now, live up to your exalted vocation with love, and with great gratitude to God. Pray often to Mary and ask her for understanding about what it really means to be a wife and mother. And, full of love for her, your own Heavenly Mother, imitate her without reserve, and keep all these things, reflecting on them in your heart.



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cw

posted January 2, 2006 at 9:46 am


Father’s first comments to everyone at the 7:30 am Mass (yes, we did stay up till midnight!) was:
It is the spiritually fit who show up to the first Mass today!
Little chuckle from the crowd. Very small crowd! Looked like a full daily Mass. We were excited to see that it was the pastor saying Mass since his homilies are usually very good (inspiring and entertaining) but we were disappointed when the Deacon got up to read the Gospel AND give the homily. This is the same Deacon who dropped the ball on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and guess what…is that a ball I see rolling out the Narthex? Yep. Again. My husband said,” Maybe we should give this guy a book on Maryology.” Something informative, but simple. Any suggestions?



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Rich Leonardi

posted January 2, 2006 at 10:12 am


Archdiocese of Cincinnati
St. Mary church
Vigil Mass
The 4PM Vigil Mass, which we rarely attend, is usually sparsely attended by dungaree-clad moms and dads with tracksuit-wearing teenagers. Saturday it was jam-packed, presumably with people like us either leaving town for New Year’s Eve or fearful they might oversleep the next day.
Our music director incorporated a number of tasteful hymms, including “Sing of Mary, Pure and Lowly” (which my son leaned over to tell me he can now play on the piano) and “Joy to the World” as the recessional (or what one friend calls the “scattering hymm,” to contrast it with the “gathering” one).
Our weekend celebrant gave a low-key, thoughtful homily concerning Mary’s role in salvation history and what type of resolutions Catholics might consider making this year, e.g., “when you learn that so-and-so has said something nasty about you, realize that the truth of such matters is sometimes lost in the telling.” They were predictable, but still interesting.
At the suggestion of one of my commenters at Ten Reasons, we left this weekend’s Magnifikid behind in the pew for the next family.



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Rich Leonardi

posted January 2, 2006 at 10:32 am


One more thing, slightly off-topic …
For New Year’s Eve we traveled to Dayton to visit and stay overnight with the host couple and their children and another family in from Atlanta. We six adults all graduated from the University of Dayton fifteen or so years ago.
The topic of religion came up sporadically. The host husband mentioned that the host wife’s mother had some sort of “WomenPriestsNow” bumper sticker on her car and he, the product of at least sixteen years of Catholic schooling, thought this was a great idea. His wife offered no objection.
Somehow the topic of holding hands during the Our Father came up later. I was asked (trust me, I don’t volunteer for these things) for my opinion, and I said, “Well, one probably shouldn’t. It runs the risk of distracting attention from Jesus.”
The host wife was shocked. “What about community!?”
I said, “The Mass primarily about, again, Jesus, and we express our community in Communion — the Eucharist. Look, you’re not going to hell for holding hands, but there are reasons for doing and not doing certain things.”
She looked at me somewhat perplexed. I mention it because of the nerve it struck when compared to the subject of priestesses. FWIW, the host couple, who my wife and I love dearly, skipped Mass the next day and told me they have yet to enter their parish church since moving to the neighborhood over a year ago. It sits two blocks from their home. Lots of hope in the under-forty set generally these days, but plenty of frustrations too.
I hope Amy will forgive my digression.



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sarah

posted January 2, 2006 at 10:34 am


St. Rita’s in the outer reaches of the Archdiocese of Detroit
We had a guest missionary priest. We were a little late so I didn’t catch his name or order. This priest had such a deep and obvious love for Christ and His Church- what a blessing for him to visit us!
His homily was exquisite. I wish I could hear it all again since we had the 3 year old and baby with us and missed parts of it. In the past, I have heard priests completely bypass Mary on this day and focus solely on World Day of Peace, but not this priest. He talked about peace, Mary, and everything in between. His homily was based upon Pope Benedict’s message for World Day of Peace and he expounded upon the theme of “truth in peace” at great length. He reiterated from the Pope’s message that truth is a person, not a concept, and that only through the truth (Jesus) will we find true peace. We find true peace when we let Him be king of our lives instead of building our own little kingdoms over which to reign. He talked about the lies and deceit that can keep us from true peace in Christ.
He talked about the “school of Mary,” and how we can learn who Jesus is through her. We can contemplate the face of Jesus through our Blessed Mother, especially by praying the Rosary. He went on at length about the rosary and also fit into the homily many points about the development of Marian doctrine in the Church. He also asked us to promote the culture of life and he spoke out against abortion, euthanasia, contraception, and attacks on marriage and the family.
Our parish is, shall we say, used to “milk,” and this was definitely some “meat!” I am not sure what everyone else thought. I was worried about my Protestant husband, what with all the Mary stuff, but he said he really liked the homily and found it very interesting.
This priest had such a deep love for Jesus in the Eucharist. He was very deliberate when saying the Eucharistic prayer and really helped everyone focus on Christ in the Eucharist. He lovingly and carefully cleaned the vessels after communion, which our priests never do (the EME’s whisk them back to the sacristy and I guess clean them there).
At the end of MAss he encouraged men in our parish to consider the priesthood- that is is a great way of life.
The Mass was about 80 minutes; I didn’t want it to end. That is how I should feel at every Mass, I think.



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Gregg the obscure

posted January 2, 2006 at 10:35 am


At anticipated Mass at the parish in East Denver we had our usual fill-in priest. He astounded me in several ways.
The first surprise was a solid homily on how Mary, while free from sin and equipped abundantly with every virtue, didn’t necessarily know very much about how Jesus’ mission was to be accomplished. She simply lived each day in faith, hope and charity. She is thus the model for us as we do not know how our mission is to be accomplished – or even precisely what our mission entails. If we but live these virtues, though, it will all work out.
The bigger surprise: he used the Roman Canon, complete with the special phrases inserted for the solemnity. Since this priest has had a bit of a penchant for “spirit of Vatican II”, this was quite a shock. After Mass I thanked him for using it – then it was his turn to be taken aback.
Music was largely schlock – especially the closing World Peace Hymn from Gather replete with lines about “angry guns”.



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Ian

posted January 2, 2006 at 10:48 am


Amy:
Went to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in White Plains, NY.
Beautiful church and liturgy. One priest – the monsignor I suppose – gave the readings (except the Gospel) while the other presided. The presider gave an excellent homily on Mary and her title as “Mother of God,” even using the word “Theotokos” at one point. He then elaborated on why this is, expounding on the divine and human natures of Jesus and the controversy surrounding this fact. Finally, he discussed the subject of prayer to Mary (re Protestant concerns) in a clear and concise way and her special role as an intercessor by way of her being most blessed among women.
In other words: apologetics galore, but down-to-earth.
The music was good too – prayerful, not goofy.
I’ll definitely return to that parish next time I’m in White Plains on a Sunday.



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belloc

posted January 2, 2006 at 10:54 am


“What was the liturgy like where you were this weekend? Did the presider make jokes about being hungover from celebrating? (Not him…the congregation). Which of the several themes available did the homilist and liturgy focus on?”
St. Lawrence, Harrisburg, PA. Weekly indult Mass by gracious permission of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades. Chapel is a beautiful, French gothic design built 100 years ago. The celebrant is an FSSP priest who makes the 5 hour round trip drive from Scranton each Sunday and holy day.
Usually my family and I (my wife and two sons 8 and 11) drive 30 miles there and back each week to be present. Yesterday we were struck by Christmas flu, and only my oldest son and I made it. I’m proud to say my son, who’s served as an altar boy in the Novus Ordo for several, years, insisted that we go.
There were approximately 350-400 people at Mass. It was a High Mass, with five servers. The music was Gregorian Chant, sung by a scola of 15 men. The final hymn was “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
Father’s sermon was about the Circumcision of the Lord, and his Blessed Mother’s suffering at witnessing the first shedding of her Son’s Blood. Nothing about tooting horns and hangovers.
My personal prayer intention for the New Year? With every Rosary, every Mass, every mortification, I’m praying that the Holy Father has the wisdom and courage of his demonstrated conviction, and grants the universal indult. This sad nonsense must end.



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vox climantis

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:03 am


What did I hear? Practically nothing.
With family illness (nothing induced by the previous evening’s festivities mind you), I went solo to an evening mass (what some refer to as the “sinners mass”) in Louisville, KY. It’s not my ‘home parrish’, but I and 200 others did intend to fulfill our obligation. The problem? Mass had been canceled.
Shame on me. This was probably something laid out well in advance in another bulletin, but as I said, it wasn’t my home turf and I assumed the schedule would be kept. It was a Holy Day of Obligation and a Sunday to boot. But, no priest, no mass.
I resolved to meditate on the Liturgy of the Word and Mary’s uniqueness and pray in the presence of the Eucharist–Jesus in physical form. I thought many others would do the same, since we’d all dedicated an hour to be here anyway. Yeah, right! When word of cancelation spread, most scattered muttering not so silently “Well, we tried, but I’m not waiting around anymore” and very few nodded or genuflected as they shuffled their sneaker-clad feet by the alter and tabernacle on their way out the door. The indifference and irreverence was saddening. I don’t know the state of anyone’s soul, but it’s hard not to look at this as one more case of what post-modernism and modern catechesis hath wrought in the Church.
However, some aspiring cantor (I guess) decided to take it upon herself to lead the remaining congregation in singing “Glory to God in the Highest” for reasons of ‘fellowship’. Not my cup ‘o tea, that modern hymn, but I give her points for trying. I sort of wish I’d stood to ask folks to read the readings, say a “Hail Mary” and ask her to perfect our prayers to her Son. I couldn’t escape the feeling that many of those who were there, had no idea it was a Holy Day of Obligation or why it was so. They were just happy to be leaving like third-grade kids released early from school on a snow day.
All in all, though I whiffed on mass, I was glad I at least spent an hour in quiet reflection and prayer. Given my experience last night, one shouldn’t be surprised that I prayed for vocations and solid formation of Catholics–including myself. Happily, it sounds to me that some on this post already have wonderful priests. Remember to support them, befriend them and pray for them. And pray for us who desperately need them and other religious.



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dymphna

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:06 am


Mass at St. Burbs in Virginia
Mass was glorious. Father broke out the antique blue, white and gold vestments. Most of the altar boys were present and his homily was outstanding. They don’t use Eucharistic ministers unless one of the priests is sick or away. The recessional hym was Mary Pure and Lowly. The only down note. Father mentioned that a second collection would be taken for the Katrina evacuees in our parish. There was a noticeable murmur and some sighs. Oh well.



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chris

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:09 am


We had an absolutely stunning homily here
in Naperville, IL at Sts. Peter and Paul. A youngish priest gave a great homily about the Blessed Mother, her eternal virginity, the gift virginity is from God to all of us, and how we should treat and accept this gift, rather than squandering and abusing it. But
one of the most amazing parts is that he didn’t veer towards harsh hollering, or
towards squishy euphemisms. There is no doubt after this homily what you shouldn’t be doing, but there was also substantial information about what you should be doing- especially as adolescents, young women and men, and parents. He also mentioned how all you have to do is drive down the road or even stand in the grocery checkout aisle among the magazines to be shown what God doesn’t mean for us to be. I already do my best to avoid such stuff if I can for my 4 year old boy. He has a real battle ahead of him. But the priest also reminded us that God made us, made this gift, made the gift of marital love, and also that we’ve messed it up since Adam and Eve, so don’t think that God doesn’t know what our temptations are, and doesn’t provide us with ways to avoid and fight them.
He also made it clear several times that even if we have squandered the gift, that we have the sacrament of confession to heal us and help us start anew.
I felt pretty bad, though, as I’d sent my husband out to feed the 1 year old a banana. I’ll have to find a quiter and less odorous snack for her next time!



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thomasina

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:09 am


Virginia suburbs of DC: The priest said something about how if you want to be (something) with the larks in the morning you can’t be hooting with the owls at night, in reference to the late hours some may have kept New Year’s Eve, since this was the 5 p.m. Mass. I think it was a joke, not a criticism. People laughed. (I had been asleep around 1 and up around 8:30, which is all early for me, I’m just perpetually slow to get ready on Sundays.)
I don’t really remember that much of the homily, but I know he gave an illustration about staying out late as a teenager and his mother asking him when he’d come in but really knowing already, and how she couldn’t rest until all her children were at home.
Music: missed the opening song entirely, though we were in the parking lot at 4:57 — maybe someone’s clock was off; offertory was “What Child Is This?” Communion song was about Mary, unfamiliar to me, I forget the title but author was Owen Alstott. Closed with “Angels We Have Heard on High.” As people were leaving they played some instrumental carol — probably “Joy to the World,” not sure I recall correctly though.



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Charlotte Allen

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:18 am


My husband and I attended the 8 a.m Mass at our parish church, and it was a thin crowd, even for that time of the morning. The priest, our pastor (whom my husband and I have dubbed “Father Lounge Lizard” because of his, lush Las Vegas lounge style of singing various parts of the Mass, usually specializes in the condescending “straw man” homiletic themes that Amy describes so well. But yesterday he was fine. No jokes from the sanctuary, surprise, surprise. And his sermon was quite orthodox, on Mary’s status as mother of God as well as mother of Jesus the man. I do wish, however, that he’d lose those sneakers he wears with his vestments and his habit of pointedly leaving out the “men” in the line “for us men and for our salvation” in the Creed. Most of the congregation says “men” anyway, including me, and I always say it just a barely perceptible shade louder than the rest of the creed. It would also be nice if he occasionally called the Mass the “Mass” instead of “our Eucharistic celebration.” Nonetheless, we seem to have a new organist, a talented college music major, instead of the sweet, listless old lady we formerly had who muffed most of the notes. Now, all we need is some better and more appropriate music for this young man to play. I love “Silent Night”–but not during Communion.



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St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:21 am


St. Teresa (of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face), Lincoln, Nebraska
Homily was: Mary as Mother of God, citation of scriptures dealing with Mary and our relationship (to be waved in the faces of Protestants), veneration vs. adoration, and a final run through of the Hail Mary. All in all, a great apologetic sermon, with a great reminder for those who don’t think of Mary often enough.
I need to take the time to say the rosary more often than just before Mass. Pray for me, for reminders to do that.



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Mary Jane

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:22 am


At Holy Faith in Gainesville, we ran Christmas carols again for the Mass. Before the 11, the choir chanted the Ave Maria. Not perfectly, but they gave it a fair shot. My organ preludes were all based on Christmas carols we weren’t singing.
The celebrants just wished the congregations a happy new year and refrained from jokes. The homilies. Well, I wish I could remember. Our associate pastor spoke about resolutions to start with. Unfortunately, he always tries to cover too much ground and I lost him somewhere. The pastor encouraged people to allow God to work in their lives without waiting till they had everything ready for him. The pastor is quite taken with a book called “Messy Spirituality” and read a long quote about how Mary’s life wasn’t easy and predictable either. At least that’s what I remember.



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Sandra Miesel

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:22 am


Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Carmel IN
We went to the last Sunday Mass, as is our custom. Celebrated with some pomp, the pastor in Marian-themed vestments. His sermon went used the death of the late pope and the honorary titles heaped on him to the ultimate honorary title for a human, Theotokos. Then devoted the bulk of the sermon to a clear and correct description of the Divine Maternity.
All the hymns were Christmas carols, including “What Child is This.” No choir, just a song leader, which is usual for this Mass.



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Anon

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:23 am


Chicago ‘burbs.
Good sermon on the Aaronic blessing in the first reading, the psalm, and how Mary’s giving birth to the Word was the culmination of the blessings spoken of in the old testament. How Mary is Mother of God (he used the word “Theotokos” too, maybe it was in this weeks Cliff notes for sermons,) the Mother of Jesus, and the Mother of the Church (“Behold your mother.”)
Then all knelt to be blessed by the priest, using the words from the OT reading.
Music was Hail Holy Queen, O Sanctissima (in Latin, but progrma indicated Masses without choir sang it in English,) What Child is This and either Angels We Have Heard or hark the Herald, can’t remember.
Last mass of the day, pretty full, but EM coordinator told me two early Masses were near empty and the anticipated had been packed to the rafters.
Which is good, becasue last year when we had Solemity of Mary on Saturday and then Sunday Mass, basically ALL Masses had pitiful attendance.
Wonder what next year will be like, with the holy days on Mondays.
And speaking of straw men,(or do I mean straw women?) “Amazing how feminists today have no problem with women taking off their clothes for men at the drop of a hat (or should I say dollar),” is right up there with the other side’s “Catholics only care about babies before they’re born.”



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CherylM

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:38 am


St Bernard’s Parish
Pittsburgh PA
9:30AM
I’m now officially intrigued by the priest that gave this homily, an excellent talk on how we pray through Mary to Jesus, and why. He refuted the claim that we worship Mary, and explained how we revere her, but worship Christ. I’ve been out of town a lot on the weekends since the beginning of October, but am looking forward to hearing more! Yeah! It’s nice to be excited about going to weekly Mass, something I haven’t felt a lot of since I’ve moved here.



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Kevin Jones

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:38 am


At the vigil mass, during the introduction right before the processional, my pastor noted that 2006 was the first year the boomers (including himself) would be turning 60, and then had the largely boomer congregation applaud themselves. It seemed way too narcissistic.
The homily itself was a nice reflection on just exactly what slavery and inheritance were, though I think the priest fudged a bit and treated slavery and inheritance in a Roman context instead of a Hebrew one.



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Catherine L

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:42 am


Went to 9:00 am Mass at my parish in southwest Houston. The pastor did open his homily with a joke about how most of the 9:00 am attendees had already gone to the vigil Mass. He then gave a beautiful homily about Mary’s acceptance and conformity to God’s will. I couldn’t concentrate completely on it, though, because I was alone with my 3 youngest who acted as though they had never attended Mass before. Sheesh. The music was mostly Christmas carols, including a 19th century song that I had never heard before and couldn’t sing, not that singing is my strong point.
I was in New Orleans for Christmas and the Mass there was beautiful. I went to St. Rita’s uptown near the seminary. The church had flooded a little so all the kneelers were out, the pews were rickety where the bolts had rusted through. The sound system was on the fritz and the priest celebrated Mass alone with no other priest, deacon, altar boy or cantor. The church was half empty (hardly anybody is in New Orleans right now), but decorated with a big nativity and several Christmas trees. The priest gave a homily of gratitude and joy for what we have and God’s presence in the midst of suffering.



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c matt

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:45 am


St. Vincent de Paul, Houston
5pm Sat.
Decent homily on Mary, and how it may have been for her to receive the news of the annunciation. Also how she “kept these things in her heart” menaing how she meditated upon the things the Angel told her and how she kept Christ close to her heart always – a role model for us.
One thing that seemed odd to me was the petitions – rather than the usual responses (Lord, hear our prayer or the more new fangled, Jesus, we trust in You) we had “Let peace reign in our hearts.” Not sure what that is supposed to mean (and it seems an oddly inappropriate way to petition), but seeing above that it was World Peace Day, I figure that had something to do with it.
I wish they would just stick to one thing.



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Amy Pawlak

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:49 am


Old St. Mary, Milwaukee, WI
We had a typical Fr. George Mass of Anticipation. The music was standard – dotted with traditional carols – and not schmaltzy (I feared the organist would play “Auld Lang Syne” at the end of Mass).
The homily was wonderful. Fr. George has the gift of making short but effective, informative, and enlightening homilies stick with you. He spoke of Mary, and the phrase from Luke “she pondered these things in her heart.” He spoke of Mary not as somebody who is passive to the will of God (i.e., always hands folded, head bowed in prayer); rather, he spoke of Mary as an active wife and mother according to God’s will. I found it very appropriate and inspiring for the new year, especially since we’re hoping to have a little one in 2006.
Hope everyone has a blessed New Year.



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Judy

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:56 am


5:30 PM St. Vincent Ferrer, Delray Bch. FL
Fr. Tony Basso wore a luminous gold vestment with a picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa which he’d borrowed from our pastor, Fr. Skindeleski. Fr. moved more slowly than usual, perhaps due to the heaviness of the vestment. In the candlelight and with the backdrop of lighted Christmas trees, garlands and banks of poinsettias in front of the altar, mass had a dreamlike quality.
Fr. spoke of Mary the mother of God, Mary the Jewish mother and Mary the mother who had to let go of her Son so he could complete his ministry. He tried to tie this last thought to an article he’d recently read in a diocesan newspaper from New Mexico about a mother having to let go of her disabled daughter so she could work in a grocery store. Father’s homily was somewhat unfocused, he even threw something in about St. Thomas of Villanova, but his voice and demeanor clearly communicated his own love, admiration and reverence for our Lady, and that was worth quite a lot. Also, he didn’t make any old tired cracks about hangovers or football games and I don’t even think he said Happy New Year. It was as if he was so caught up in celebrating the glorious Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God that he quite forgot the secular holiday.
The 5:30 is the guitar mass with a tiny choir. None of them are showboaters, but all offer their music quite humbly to the Lord.
Entrance hymn: Not sure, but a 5:30 regular not a Christmas carol – maybe it was The Heavens are Telling the Glory of God.
Offertory???
Communion: The small choir sang a somewhat difficult but sweet song with a line to the Baby Jesus: I’ll make a place for thee in my heart” which was quite moving.
Recessional: Let There be Peace on Earth. Everyone sang “With God as our Father, BROTHERS all are we”. I hope that means that the inclusive version of “NEIGHBORS all are we” is now behind us.



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Ed

posted January 2, 2006 at 12:06 pm


Apparently I attended the same service as did Hieronymus ( above ) at St. John Cantius in Chicago – there was a pre-mass Holy Hour at 11 P.M., followed by the High Mass at midnight.Well-attended, but not packed. Sermon was excellent. I’d like to comment upon :
Although I very much enjoy the Tridentine Mass, I do question its ability to be “relevant” to the “average” Catholic. After nearly 40 years, I still have an excellent command of ecclesiatical Latin ( not the classical ). While one can enjoy the cadence and aesthetics of such a Mass, the Mass is not intended for aesthetes and linguistic dilettantes. QUESTION : In bringing back the Latin Mass, what prevents it from being a bunch of mystical MUMBO-JUMBO to the average Catholic who may have neither the time nor the inclination nor the ability to learn Latin ? If the focus is always on Christ, how can such focus be adequately communicated to the congregation if done in a language largely unknown to them ?
Must go know. High-maintenance irreligious cat (species = felina wickedissima)on my lap insists on tapping keyboard.



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Old Zhou

posted January 2, 2006 at 12:12 pm


What I heard: Mary is not the milquetoast, robed in blue-and-white, never flustered saint that we heard about in our youth.
She was in a forced engagement to an old man.
She was a confused, pregnant teenager.
She was a refugee to Egypt.
She saw her son executed by the state.
So we (in Berkeley) can relate.



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ambrose

posted January 2, 2006 at 12:24 pm


St. Lawrence O’Toole, Garfield section of Pittsburgh
Father’s homily focussed on the Aaronic blessing of the first reading, and then he talked about the Jacob/Esau story (which I found interesting because the previous night at dinner the Episcopalian couple with whom we dined were talking about that story as the topic of the husband’s adult Sunday school class the next morning). He also went on about blessings coming from God, and the like.



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paul

posted January 2, 2006 at 12:43 pm


4:30 at the Basillica of the National Shrine. Like most else, it seems, the final hymn was “Angels We Have Heard on Hight.” Entrance was “God Rest You Merry Gentlemen.” Father LeBrun presided over the Mass. He’s very soft-spoken, and I have to admit my mind starts to wander when he delivers homilies. Made reference to staying up late on New Year’s Eve.
In reference to Ed’s post on the Tridentine. I am all of 28, so I was born after the changes were made. I have been going to Latin Masses for about two years now, and have had no training whatsoever in Latin, but my trusty Missal has helped me to the point where I really don’t even need it anymore. In reality, the Mass isn’t quite so different, so one should be able to catch on quickly. And Latin is much easier to understand and follow along services with my girlfriend, thus the reference).
It’s tough, though. I happened to have had a discussion with a very Orthodox Catholic who nonetheless does not like the Latin. She feels as though she’s being required to attain special linguistic skills in order to follow the Mass. I hear what she (and Ed) are saying, but would just maintain that it probably would not be as daunting for the modern Catholics. After all, for centuries uneducated Catholics attended such Masses, and I’d bet almost all knew exactly what was going on at every second.



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paul

posted January 2, 2006 at 12:45 pm


And Latin is much easier to understand and follow along services with my girlfriend, thus the reference).
Umm, something got messed up there. I had typed that Latin was easier to follow along with than Hebrew and that I knew this because I have attended a few services with my girlfriend.



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Shaun G

posted January 2, 2006 at 12:49 pm


I attended the 5pm Spanish/English Mass at St. Augustine parish in Union City, NJ, about 10 blocks from the Lincoln Tunnel. (It’s run by a religious order called the Augustinian Recollects, who specifically minister to the Spanish-speaking.)
Typically, about 200 to 300 people attend — and they’re usually about 80 percent Hispanic. Accordingly, the Mass is usually about 80 percent in Spanish, but this Sunday there was more English than usual, which was great for me because I don’t understand a lick of Spanish.
The music consisted of traditional Christmas hymns like Silent Night, with the verses alternating in English and Spanish.
Usually, Father delivers his entire homily in one language, then again in the other, but this time, he went back and forth: He’d give us about a paragraph’s worth in Spanish, then jump right into English. That meant that we had to pay careful attention throughout, and I think some in the pews found it hard to follow, but I guess it’s better than having people zone out.
Since it takes twice as long to deliver them, his homilies are understandably more succint than what you’d expect at a typical parish, but he still managed to make good points and end on an encouraging note.
He emphasized that we don’t revere Mary because of what she did, but because of what God has done through her. “Not a single miracle is attributed to her in the Bible,” he said, in an attempt to emphasize that Mary herself did not have any extraordinary abilities — although I think he should’ve expanded on that statement and shown how the miracles of the Incarnation abd, for instance, the Wedding Feast at Cana, did involve her, and did involve an act of her will, but were brought about by the power of God, not the power of Mary.
He also consoled those of us who have failed at New Year’s resolutions before, and he told us that no matter how many times we have failed at resolutions (New Year’s or otherwise) in the past, we should not become discouraged or defeated, because we know — and Mary is an excellent example of this — that through God all things are possible. He encouraged us to once again resolve to strengthen our faith.
Although it’s sometimes hard for me to follow along at this bilingual Mass, I’m also very enchanted by it because of the sense of reverence everyone shows.



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Rosalynne

posted January 2, 2006 at 12:55 pm


We went to a Tridentine Mass for the first time in 40 years or however long it has been. The English translation is so beautiful, and so powerfully directed towards God.
Why can’t we have Tridentine Masses in English? The participants could say the responses, as the server did yesterday.
The only music was “Joy to the World”.
The excellent sermon was about what Mary modeled for us, both in what she said (he went through it all) and what she did (he went through it all).
Just do what He tells you, was the point.



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Donna V.

posted January 2, 2006 at 1:12 pm


At the 8 a.m. mass at St. John’s Cathedral in Milwaukee, Abp. Dolan made one reference to the “brave souls” who had come to the first mass of the day. The mass was more sparsely attended than usual and consisted mainly of older folk.
The Archbishop spoke of celebrating Mass in a church in the archdiocese several weeks earlier and noticing two stained glass windows in that church facing each other. One was a depiction of the Nativity, the happiest event in human history, and the other was of the saddest event, the Crucifixion. He noted that Mary was present at both and that in the upcoming year, we should turn to her in both our moments of joy and our moments of darkness, and she will point the way to her Son.
We sang carols.



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Leslie

posted January 2, 2006 at 1:58 pm


11:30 Mass in Springfield, MO. Before the opening sign of the cross the pastor noted, “I can see how much different people have been celebrating by looking at your faces.” The homily was unusual to say the least. Approaching the lecturn, Father immediately started reciting a poem, a piece of doggerel with the refrain “when a child is born.” When he stopped, he asked if anyone recognized it. No one did, or at least no one admitted to it. So he pulled up a boom box and played the whole thing over again! It was a song by Bing Crosby ca. 1977. He ended by exclaiming how good it was that God was prolife. There were perhaps two-three other sentences, but that was basically it.
The experience of this “homily” was so overwhelming that I don’t remember much else about the Mass. I think we sang Joy to the World and Lo How a Rose E’re Blooming.
There’s definitely more I want to say in terms of my response to this particular Mass, but it’s probably best to leave it unsaid, just as it is best and most kind to leave the name of the priest and the church unspecified. I do want to say how much I envy those who listened to substantive homilies yesterday morning.



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jennifer

posted January 2, 2006 at 2:49 pm


Diocese of Richmond, VA
Homily given by seminarian
I was heavily distracted by my 5 small children who all stayed up way past midnight the night before. But, it was a great homily about Mary, Mother of God. He will be a good, holy priest for our diocese.



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meteorologist

posted January 2, 2006 at 3:05 pm


11:00 am Mass in Norman, OK
No jokes or banter; as usual, our pastor just launched right in, focusing on the fact that honor of being the first to announce the the Good News was giving, not to the prominent, but to the shepards. This can be a problem for us, because the words of hope and joy to the lowly have little effect on the comfortable–us. This tempts us to detach from the Gospel story and become spectators to the plan of salvation.
But, “the Gospel we proclaim in this place is not for entertainment which is why we do not produce pageants. It is the stirring, powerful, effective Word of God.”
Next, he contrasted our material comfort with our spiritual poverty:
We lack Peace because we have too little lived faith.
We lack Joy because we have too little hope.
We lack Trust because we do not keep our promises.
We lack Love because we think it is about us.
Recognizing this poverty, the Gospel becomes more than just a nice story; it points us to the source of Peace, Joy, Trust, and Love.
Finally, Mary was brought in as an example for us:
[B]y never dismissing [the words said of her son] as impractical, impossible, or simply “theoretical”, she remained full of grace, and in the end came to understand what she held and treasured and reflected on in her heart.
Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it. (Luke 11:28)

(The text is online, my memory is not that good.)
A quick note on music, we closed with Hark, the Herald Angels Sing. I like that hymn, but having just watched It’s a Wonderful Life the night before, my mind quickly went to “Janie, quit that racket” and “You call this a happy family? Why do we have to have all these kids?” Good thing that was the Recessional and not the Processional.



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Tom Sanko

posted January 2, 2006 at 3:17 pm


Oxford, Ks. Fr. explained how (Ephesus etc) Mary received the title Mother of God and how we should imitate her virtues. Fr. sang the mass in Gregorian Chant. Entrance song was Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee. Offertory was O Holy Mary. Communion was One Bread, One Body. Close was Wonderful Counselor.



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Meggan

posted January 2, 2006 at 3:51 pm


Abbey of Gethsemani
Kentucky
The music was what you’d expect in a Trappist monastery. It was beautiful, but I could not sing with it because it was unfamiliar. I’m not complaining about it – just an observation.
The mass was very nice, but I usually don’t feel very comfortable at Sunday mass at Gethsemani. I really love the hours, but for some reason I am uncomfortable at mass. Part of it may be that I am actually physically uncomfortable because the floor is so hard I get a backache standing on it that long.
The homily was wonderful. He said that Mary was leading a Eucharistic life before the Eucharist was established. She received the Body and Blood of Christ when she received Him into her womb.
Spending New Years eve and New Years day at Gethsemani was fantastic. Very peaceful. I was completely content there.



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Fred K.

posted January 2, 2006 at 4:08 pm


Olathe, KS. Our New Year’s resolution should be to ask God every day for His will.



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Fortiterinre

posted January 2, 2006 at 4:13 pm


At our university chapel, slowly regrouping as we students return from Christmas break. Excellent all around, great homily on the human courage and strength shown by the BVM, great music led with no instrumental accompaniment by our pastoral associate, whose considerable musical talents were previously unknown to me. Outstanding–I am increasingly realizing how fortunate I am to be a member of this community.



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Darren Norton

posted January 2, 2006 at 4:46 pm


St. Mark, richmond, KY (4:00 Saturday):
Fr. Sichko was away last week, returning Saturday morning. He mentioned that he got a gift for Christmas – a plaque that had some words of wisdom on it. The last line, the focus of the Homily, was “Lord, help me to just stay our of Your way.” Father commented on how Mary allowed God to work through her, and how she didn’t doubt Him or “get in His way.” It was a short Homily, but very good.
Sunday evening, in talking with him, he mentioned that something did happen during the 11:00 Sunday Mass.
There was this boy at the second collection, probably around 4 years old, who wanted to climb the steps to the sanctuary, but his mother wouldn’t let him, so he grew frustrated Before the final blessings, Father asked, “Where is the young boy who wanted to climb the stairs??’” They raised their hand, and Father invited him up. He slowly came forward and Father stated: “Hurry up now, this is only an hour program !!!” Finally he came and he walked up the steps. I held him up and announced to the church, “This young boy could be walking these steps as a future priest…so we better give thanks to GOD!”
Everyone clapped.



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Chris

posted January 2, 2006 at 4:49 pm


Rich, Mass at Our Lady of Victory – again, as always, reverent, moving, beautful. Sang O Sanctissima, Angels We Have Heard on High, Ave Maria, others. There is nothing like it in this Diocese. Also, our Christmas Eve Mass drew 400 people – the newly-renovated Cathedral drew 250.



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Caroline

posted January 2, 2006 at 5:07 pm


Location, the Marist church in San Francisco. Two natures. One Person. the Second Person of the Trinity. The Divine Maternity is not about Mary per se but about the hypostatic union. Declaring Mary indeed to be the Mother of God nailed all the arguments about who Jesus was. Nothing about the really important stuff–Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix and Marian piety in general. Application: since God truly became man we must recognize the God connectedness in every person.



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Ted

posted January 2, 2006 at 6:19 pm


Sacred Heart
N. Attleboro, Mass.
My buddy and I arrived for the 5pm Mass on Sunday night — there was no way the morning was going to happen with our hangovers, lol — and the church was closed! They’re the “last game in town,” the final mass in our area, so this was bad news. And on a Holy Day of Obligation! There were about 20 or so people milling about outside, asking each other what was going on, etc. No one had a clue. People were coming, seeing the darkened church, and driving away, confused.
Very odd. So much for the New Year’s Resolution of going to Mass every single weekend!



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Old Zhou

posted January 2, 2006 at 6:29 pm


My local parish also cancelled half of the Sunday masses (the first at 7:30am, and the last at 5:30pm), leaving only two on Sunday morning (9 and 11am).
I wonder how many people went to a Catholic Church on Sunday only to find that Mass was cancelled (and we gave those megachurches such a hard time about Christmas)!



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Mary Kay

posted January 2, 2006 at 6:51 pm


Heard lots of chatter behind me, almost nothing on Mary.



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LeeAnn

posted January 2, 2006 at 6:56 pm


Holy Cross, Lake Stevens, WA
There was just one 10 am Mass (instead of the usual three in town) and it was packed. In the spirit of letting people relax a bit during the holidays, there was no instrumental music (shock! no synthesizer! no saxophone solos! no bongo drums!) and it actually sounded quite nice. Since we were singing acapella, for once I didn’t mind the gospel-y type clapping during the Gloria. It seemed appropriate for once! Most of the hymns were Marian (nothing old though, I mean like Hail Mary Gentle Woman) and Hark the Herald Angels.
One thing though: our deacon-in-training gave the homily which I’m guessing is not strictly allowed since he is not yet ordained. This has been common at the two parishes I have been in; on-the-job training, I guess. But his homily was pretty much just lackluster reading from something written by another priest, which was thankfully all about Mary and how her “Let it be done to me” is an example for all of us. I’ve noticed that our parish priest is getting more Marian as the months go by, which can only be for the better, I think.



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Mary Jane

posted January 2, 2006 at 7:31 pm


Reading Old Zhou’s report from Berkeley, I realize that Our Lady as unwed teenager, homeless, refugee, son executed by the state was the part of the homily I’d forgotten. I guess his priest and mine read the same “homily help.”



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scotch meg

posted January 2, 2006 at 7:54 pm


Pastor said Mass and gave good homily about BVM. Nothing too out of the ordinary, although he did mention the Circumcision appropriately (wonder what the Am. Ped. Assoc. makes of our old feast), and had me thinking about our Lady. My kids showed up to play instrumentals, much to the surprise of the organist… guess he thought all of them would have been partying too much the night before ;-)



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Jules

posted January 2, 2006 at 8:10 pm


Mountrath, Co. Laois, Ireland
Theme of “be not afraid” in the bible, the courage of the various players in the Christmas story, esp. Mary, a little bit about seeming coincidences. Very nice homily, to the point and delivered by the priest with his elbows resting on the podium. :)



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Karen in Canada

posted January 2, 2006 at 8:41 pm


Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Attended both the Vigil Mass on Saturday (my son was serving then, and I will add only that this week the bells were rung on time!) and again on Sunday, since my daughter was unable to join us Saturday, and if she wanted to go, I was certainly NOT going to say “no.”
Father began by wishing us all a simple “Happy New Year” then adding that he could also still say “Merry Christmas” since we were still celebrating the octave of Christmas. He used the Asperges rite for what I suspect is the first in a long time in that parish, and gave a simple introduction first. On Sunday morning he also blessed our new holy water font and the holy water for it. I like the way he is gradually bringing back the old traditions which add so much richness to the liturgy. (I could handle them being brought back much faster, but I suspect he is being prudent.)
Hymns on Saturday were traditional Marian ones: Hail Queen of Heav’n, the Ocean Star for the processional, and Hail, Holy Queen Enthroned Above for the recessional. The Sunday morning Mass (which is our usual time) tends more to Haugen-Haas, sigh, but the recessional was Immaculate Mary.
His starting point for the New Year homily was something old (his words)–the question from the Baltimore Catechism: Why did God make us? and the answer: To know, love and serve Him in this life and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven. Well, who is God and how do we know Him? 3rd or 4th century heresy that Jesus was just a special man, and the Church to counter this named Mary “Theotokos” or “God-bearer”, the mother of God, thus saying that Jesus is God. And the best way to get to know God is to get to know his mother. There was a bit more but that was the essence of it. Simple, clear and solid, as his homilies usually are.
Apostles Creed instead of Nicene again, sigh again, but this is Canada. But he used the First Eucharistic Prayer, though with shortened list of saints.



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Old Zhou

posted January 2, 2006 at 8:47 pm


Apostles Creed instead of Nicene again, sigh again
You say a Creed during Mass?
Wouldn’t that offend all your non-Catholic and non-Christian folks in attendance?
I’ve only seen that once, when a visiting priest was presiding. He didn’t know the local routine.



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Jennifer N.

posted January 2, 2006 at 9:00 pm


St. Stephen Parish
New Boston, Michigan
Fr. John Hedges
Our devoted pastor of the past 38 years recently retired and we have been so blessed to have Fr. Hedges assigned to us. (It seems half his previous parish has followed him!)
He spoke for a little while about Mary and how she leads us to Christ. Then he introduced a newly-wedded couple of our parish. The husband had been the victim of a violent attack and almost died. Happily, he has recovered but during the attack his wedding ring was lost.
So Father had the couple come forward so that he could bless the new ring. He had the couple repeat their vows and put their rings on each other’s fingers. It was beautiful and there weren’t many dry eyes in the church.
The Consecration was reverent and Mass ended with a solemn and holy Benediction. I left there feeling like I had really experienced God’s grace… much unlike the Christmas Rage I felt last week on Christmas Day at the largest parish in the archdiocese of Cincinnati.



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John Gibson

posted January 2, 2006 at 9:07 pm


Ed,
I just was granted a jurisdictional change to the Byzantine Church. Many of my friends are very attached to the Latin Mass. They can’t seem to understand that I am, an Eastern Catholic. I didn’t understand it myself, but my first divine Liturgy was a home coming to me.
For months I have been invited to St. John’s in Chicago to attend the Latin Mass, or to St. Mary’s to attend the Opus Dei Mass with the expectation that once I attend, my eyes will be opened and I will realize that my flirtations with the east were hunger for a reverent western rite liturgy.
What they don’t understand is that I am wired eastern. This is why the theology, the liturgy, and the rest fits with me. This is why there are different rites… there are different people and different expressions of Catholicism.
John Gibson



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Janet

posted January 2, 2006 at 9:08 pm


Norcross GA
Vigil Mass
Visiting priest gave an excellent homily focusing on Mary’s “pondering and treasuring”. He linked the making of New Year’s resolutions to our habit of “doing” over “being”…that we are quick to make resolutions without really understanding why we are doing them, or what the root causes of our difficulties are. That Mary was a perfect example of “being” and then “doing”, of pondering and then action.
Music was the usual folk-y stuff that is sung at that mass: Mary Did You Know?, Breath of Heaven, plus some more traditional carols (Hark the Herald Angels, Ave Maria, Go Tell it on the Mountain).



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Fr Martin Fox (Septimus)

posted January 2, 2006 at 9:23 pm


You can read my homily here; as always, specific comments, pro or con, are earnestly solicited, as they are most helpful.
I’ll let you decide if I said enough about Mary, as I focused on the hypostatic union — that is, Jesus is truly God and man, and why that matters so much (which is why it is important to call Mary “Mother of God.
Amy, you’ll be pleased, I think, to see that I lit into your good buddy, Dan Brown (or not, if I botched it).
I confess I did have a more extended introduction, in which I wished everyone “Merry Christmas” and explained an “octave” is an “eight-day day,” before transitioning to the Kyrie.
I did sing almost everything, as I did on Christmas. White vestment, showing Mary presenting Christ, who is holding a chalice of his Precious Blood. Will use Gold again for Epiphany.
I did notice music this time. At one Mass, we had lots of Haugen/Haas; at the other, we had “Angels we have heard on High” as the entrance–or was it the offertory?–I can’t recall now; and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” which is about my favorite, except Gather pusillanimously “inclusivizes” the language, not only ruining the poetry, but distorting the theology.
I had incense at both Masses, although not as many places in the Mass, as the servers are mostly unacquainted with using incense, so little-by-little I’m teaching them.
Big attendance at 4 PM Mass, which our retired priest had; lower attendance at my Masses, on Sunday.



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under the dome

posted January 2, 2006 at 9:41 pm


Basilica Shrine of the Little Flower; San Antonio, Texas; 1pm
Absolutely beautiful… three Discalced Carmelite brothers were renewing their vows before their Provincial Superior, Fr. Gergory of the Trinity. 3 brothers, 3 priests in all, all in full carmelite habit (as I have noticed has become the norm in this particular community as of late).
Homily by one of my favorite priests (Fr. Sam Anthony, O.C.D.) that focused on a couple of different Marian themes — very intellectual (as my mom says, “woosh– over the heads of most of the congregation”, though I disagree).
The music was a mix of Marian hymns beautifully accompanied by organ. My only disappointment is that the singing is led by two female cantors, one unobtrusively in front of the front pew (far from the altar) and the other in the choir loft, both of whom have great voices but are a little too high for my voice… mabye because my throat was a little sore, but I had a hard time singing along.
Overall, the best Mass I have been to since the Inaugural Mass of Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C. back in September.



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under the dome

posted January 2, 2006 at 9:44 pm


I forgot… Homily was prefaced with a comprehensive intro on the significance of the “octave” of Christmas and the development of the image of Mary as Mother of God.



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Fr. Totton

posted January 2, 2006 at 10:26 pm


I began by pointing out the fact that it was the Octave day of Christmas (“we need, at least, eight days to celebrate, to contemplate these profound Mysteries”) Preached on the Theotokos and its theological and historical context (Nestorius, Ephesus, One Divine Person with two Natures) a little flourish on the “coincidence” that the council was held in the shadow of “Mary’s House” – her last earthly dwelling place. She is Mother of God, she is also the first disciple of the Lord and so she is our Mother, but also our Model. Resolution: to seek her intercession in renewing our commitment to follow her Son, Let us pray…Hail Mary…
I hate to admit I was a bit distracted: I had double duty (i.e. Mass-drive-Mass-sleep-Mass-speed-Mass) this weekend as I covered for the neighboring pastor – if ever (make that whenever) I receive a mission (or two) the Masses are going to have to be reasonably spaced apart to allow for proper and dignified celebration of each Mass!) I am not complaining, just observing.
I was worried (largely because others have warned me) that Ephesus and Theotokos would be too heady, “too academic” for the people but I received many genuine and unsolicited compliments on the homily (after the two Masses I was able to stay and greet.) I guess it demonstrates that people are tired of clergy dumbing down the faith.
Oh – and I resisted the temptation, however slight, to make any cracks about partying and/or New Years!



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LB

posted January 2, 2006 at 10:32 pm


Ten o’clock Latin Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Father Caulfield always gives a good homily, and this week was no exception. The Mass was rather more sparsely attended than it usually is, but there were no jokes about that or anything that happened the night before. Rather, he began by wishing us a merry Christmas and talked about how it’s so meaningful, it can’t be packed into a single day but instead gets its own season. He spoke about Mary and how God showed his love for her, and how by loving Mary we can be more like Jesus.
It also helps that he can sing the Latin. The choir at St. Matthew’s is also great, and they sang some Ave Marias (although not the usual piece everything thinks of).



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Peter Smith

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:10 pm


St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney
Solemn Mass celebrated by Cardinal Pell who also preached (homily on the readings) and a Mass setting by Mozart – Mozart and Haydn etc make occasional appearances in the Music List but our staple fare (at least at Solemn Mass) is Gregorian Chant and 16th century polyphony.
The Cathedral seems to be one of the few places in the english speaking world which has never really deviated from what Sacrosanctum Consilium actually said about church music – as aresult, the regular congregation includes a significant number of ‘refugees’ from other Parishes.
PS



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Naomi

posted January 2, 2006 at 11:58 pm


Also at Holy Faith in Gainesville; what I remember of the pastor’s homily is mostly what Mary Jane already mentioned. I had a BAD case of wandering mind, which I will blame on recovering from walking (rolling?) pneumonia. We had incense (and I didn’t cough, though I heard others coughing). The priest genuflected for the Creed; I don’t know if anyone else did. (I’m stuck in the “special” seating at the very front. BUT I’m close to the Tabernacle and less distracted, so I shouldn’t complain about it. It’s just the abstract IDEA of being segregated that bothers me…. )
The music was Christmas songs, and Bernadette Farrell’s arrangement of the Magnificat, which I didn’t used to like, but am getting quite fond of lately.



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Gashwin

posted January 3, 2006 at 12:36 am


Cathedral of the Holy Rosary
9:00 a.m. Gujarati Mass
Vadodara (Baroda), India
My first ever Gujarati Mass (and one of the few non English Masses I’ve been to over the years in India). I have a detailed report on my blog, mainly some thoughts about translation and inculturation that occurred to me.
Amy, in Prohibitionist Gujarat State, there would be no comments about being hungover. I don’t think there is a seprate word in Gujarati for a hangover (other than simply being drunk!) :)
Homily: long. Several New Year tropes, around the theme of being blessed, and how to be truly happy (follow Christ), rather haphazardly strung together.
No General Intercessions (either he forgot, or skipped it in the interest of time). Creed, as is universal in India, was the Apostle’s Creed.
Music: Indian-style bhajan music, quite delightful (and better than a lot of what I’ve heard at English language liturgies here).
Most amusing bit: after the Gloria, the celebrant asks the musicians to “speed up the rest of the music for Mass!” Apparently to give time for his extra-long homily.
Most moving: the long line of worshippers who stayed after Mass to venerate the Infant Jesus in the creche and then pray at an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.



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Fred K.

posted January 3, 2006 at 12:46 am


Also, I was very pleased that our pastor invited us to bow at the Incarnation in the Nicene Creed. We must teach the faith to every generation.



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RP Burke

posted January 3, 2006 at 8:28 am


This didn’t happen this Sunday, but I MUST tell the story of the Greatest Sermon Ever Preached.
It’s been so long ago that I don’t recall whether the great Fr. A. Paul White of my home parish in South Boston did this himself or told this story about someone else.
It’s January 1, during the period between “Feast of the Circumcision” and “Solemnity of Mary” (which also could be called “Yet Another Feast of …”). I think the official name of the day was nothing more than the Octave of Christmas.
Fr. White, a great preacher, usually spoke too long for many of the blue-collar parishioners of Southie, who called him “Windy Whitey”. So this morning he ascended the great stone pulpit, and began:
“This is a day for new year’s resolutions, and I resolve to preach shorter sermons.”
Down he came.
Fr. White was a great storyteller too, so he could have told this story about another priest, but it is a classic example of preaching without using words!



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Sparki

posted January 3, 2006 at 9:39 am


St. Mary – Lincoln, NE
My almost- 2-yr-old: “No, book…No, Mommy….no…no…weed-no (window)…weed-no…weed-no….weed-no…WEED-NO!”
My 3.5-yr-old in a stage whisper: “Read! Read THIS one, Mommy. Please? Read! Read, please! PLEASE!”
2-yr-old: “Weed-no…weed-no…weed-no…”
Fr. D: “The thing we must remember about Mary is…”
2-yr-old: “Baby! Baby…baby…Hi, baby…Hi, baby…No, Mommy….no book…no…no…no…Hi, Baby…Milk! Mommy, baby milk! Milk…no book…no, no, no…No book. Weed-no! Dar-wee (that’s how she says her brother’s name)…dar-wee….dar-wee, weed-no! WEED-NO, dar-wee, look! Look, look, weed-no! Dad? Dad…Daaaaa-aaad! Weed-no! Look, Dad, weed-no.
6-yr-old in a stage whisper: “I forgot to go to the bathroom before we left.”
Husband in stage whisper: “You’re gonna have to hold it.”
6-yr-old sighing…
Fr. D: “…which is what God calls all of us to…”
2-yr-old “Down…down…down…down…coat! Bye-bye. Coat…coat…coat…MY coat…I do it…Bye-bye…No book. No, Mommy…no…no…no…C’mon…bye-bye…c’mon…c’MON! Bye-bye!”
There was more, but that’s pretty much all I remember.
*Sigh*



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Anglican Peggy

posted January 3, 2006 at 12:08 pm


St Matthias, Dallas TX
Liturgy of Lessons and Carols with Solemn High Mass.
An extra large helping of Scripture. And extra large helping of gorgeous Christmas hymns. One extra emotional reading of the passage where the angels annouce the birth of Christ to the shepherds that got the tears welling up in many an eye.
Gospel Reading St John 1: 1-18 The whole church kneels before “And the Word became flesh..” It took my breath away. The Church decked out for Christmas, the sun pouring through the high clear windows, the priest and servers decked out in gold was an even more beautiful sight for the extra act of humility in the glipmse that I had of it before I bowed my head
No sermon because of the length of the liturgy of the Word.



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Maureen O'Brien

posted January 3, 2006 at 1:18 pm


12:30
St. Albert the Great
Dayton OH
We had one of the visiting priests I don’t really know. His homily sounded like it was the same one as at the other Masses, which sometimes happens when the pastor wants a specific message out.
Backstory for this one: We got a new organ this year which was paid for with donations lickety-split, and we also got a “Novena of the Holy Spirit” booklet given out to us which brought big fruits to many parishioners who said it. (Including our pastor, who promptly got offered a job away from our parish.)
So the homily was about how Mary gave herself to God and let herself be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, and how we should do the same. This tied in with a new booklet that a donor had paid to get given to us, all about following the Holy Spirit. Since 12:30 was the last Mass, we were told that we had to make sure they all went home. :)
I was cantoring (and I was tired, so I skipped choir at the 11 AM). At first, we didn’t think 12:30 would have more than thirty people. Then all the families of the babies getting baptized after Mass showed up. The place was pretty packed.
Hail Holy Queen was the opener. I felt pretty confident when I started — and then I realized that I had no clue what was going to come out of my mouth next. I was on key, you understand; but the tones of my voice kept changing all the time. This is not exactly a desirable situation for a singer. But you can’t stop or do anything about it at that point; you just have to go on.
The psalm went okay. You know, I approve of simple psalm settings and simple verses. Especially at times like this.
What Child Is This was the preparation hymn. Fortunately, everybody knows this song, because my phrasing went all to heck.
Of the Father’s Love Begotten was the communion hymn, which got the communion and Christmas stuff in. Seeing as this was hard to screw up, of course I managed to announce the song about a minute too early. We were going to have Communion run longer than the hymn anyway, with all those extra people, but… sigh. (Luckily, our organist/music director is God’s gift to organ improvisation, especially with a brand new organ full of holy-sounding toys to play with.) Also, this gave me a chance to run (okay, walk briskly!) downstairs and get Communion, instead of trying to hustle back to the sacristy after Mass, hoping not all the Body had been consumed. (Mostly because I routinely forget to have a word with any of the EEM’s, not because anybody’s meaning to deprive us musicians.)
But I guess I didn’t sound all that bad out in the congregation, because Father stood there not processing back to the sacristy until we’d finished all four verses of Angels We Have Heard on High. (We’d only planned to sing two, but hey! fine with me!)
So we survived, but that was probably more the Holy Spirit and the music director rather than anything of my doing!



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Henry

posted January 3, 2006 at 2:42 pm


My geographical parish is not precisely a liturgical model, but at least our pastor uses only the Roman Canon (E.P. I, no saints’ names ever omitted) on all solemnities and throughout the octaves (both daily and Sunday Mass) of Christmas and Easter. And I don’t recall him ever using E.P. II (the quickie consecration) on a Sunday or feast day. Does this seem unusual to anyone?



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Gregg the obscure

posted January 3, 2006 at 3:29 pm


Henry -
The broad application of EP I is odd to me. Wonderful, but odd.
As I understand it, EP II is not to be used on Sundays and/or holy days of obligation. In my experience, priests in Denver comply as to EP II.



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Anglican Peggy

posted January 3, 2006 at 4:02 pm


ps.
I finally found a suitable closer for my above post. You wouldnt probably know it but I felt it lacked something there at the end but I couldnt for the life of me get anything to resolve.
What would I say in conclusion about what I heard and saw at Mass on Sunday?
It was a filling and satisfying meal.
Isnt that what its all about? We dont just feast on Christ. Although He is the centerpiece, we also feast on all the sights and sounds of the liturgy from beginning to end.
I feel myself very fortunate to have found a parish that really knows how to put on a feast every week and then serves extra helpings on the holidays :-)
BTW, I think I mentioned the big window effect in a previous “What did you hear” but I’m sorry I can’t help it. Whoever was responsible for that design feature made an inspired choice. Its almost like worshipping outside sometimes. What could be a more beautiful decoration than God’s own light? But if I go on about them anymore after this, just (virtually) doink me on the head ok? I dont want to get repetitive ;-)



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Henry

posted January 3, 2006 at 5:55 pm


Greg,
The broad application of EP I is odd to me. Wonderful, but odd.
After Mass one day during the Octave of Easter last year, I thanked our pastor for using the Roman Canon in all its glory, remarking that this served (for me) to bring home the fact that each day during the Octave is liturgically Easter itself. He replied he certainly agreed, but was “only doing what’s supposed to be done”. He happens to be the liturgy director for our diocese, and I wondered afterward if he was referring to a Church rule or a diocesan rule, but have never remembered to ask.



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under the dome

posted January 3, 2006 at 10:19 pm


Oh, I almost forgot… NO EMHCs!!! Communion was only distributed by the 3 habited brothers and the 3 priests. I was gratified beyond all belief.



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