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St. John Lateran

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A very nice video featuring Fr. Vincent Hoagland, CP – via Fr. Ray Blake.
An account of that visit here.

What did you see and hear?

I went to an evening Mass (since I am leading an adult ed session tomorrow morning). Very sparsely attended…why? Well, maybe because the Bama game was still in progress.
A gratifyingly low-key Mass in the early evening half-darkness. The Paschal candle in front of the altar – because it is a feast? The homily referred back to an introductory explanation that had been offered before Mass about the significance and reason for the feastday (which I missed), then moved on to say that this was a day to remember the unity of the Church, to remember to pray for our newly elected civic leaders (I am not sure how that segue worked) and then a reminder that we are all called to let the living waters flow through us to help others, and so on.
The first prayer of the faithful was a prayer that discrimination come to an end. Again, I am not quite sure of the relationship to the bigger picture today.
As I said, low-key (which is, you might guess, something I appreciate), mostly me and older people – obviously not Alabama fans.

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posted November 9, 2008 at 12:33 am

Oh, I’m still in political mode. I thought you meant “O”, not “Ala”.

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Fr. N

posted November 9, 2008 at 8:18 am

I am preaching on Paul today. That we are the Church and we must visible like our church building is. We must be seen and known and heard as the Church “the temple” of God by what we do and what we refuse to do. It is not enough that people see our spire, and stained-glass windows, and our vaulting ceiling, if, under there are no faithful disciples of Jesus who go out into the world with the gospel.
Paschal candle in front of the altar for this feast? Nothing I ever heard of before. Maybe I missed something, but I think this might just be another example of “local liturgy”… again.

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posted November 9, 2008 at 11:08 am

Vigil Mass
Fr. began with a very brief statement about fiscal issues and how they are impacting parish finances. Then he gave what must have been the entire history of St. John Lateran. I found it to be very interesting. He referred to the readings and explained why they were chosen for this particular feast. After Mass he changed to a different stole and parishioners 65 and older and those in ill health were invited to remain after Mass for Annointing of the Sick. It looked as if quite a few parishioners stayed for the service.

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posted November 9, 2008 at 11:42 am

My home parish: one of the deacons preached and seemingly equated believing in evolution with supporting abortion…………a confusing mish-mash of paranoid ideas of how the barbarian, secular world is closing in on us. He seemed to be mad about the election results. No connections with the readings in his homily.
After the homily, the young candidates for First Reconciliation and Holy Communsion were assembled with their parents………a huge throng with maybe 40 candidates just at this Mass……we have 6 weekend Masses…….a hopeful sign for the ever-blooming faith!

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Lori Pieper

posted November 9, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Today our young priest (inner city parish in the Bronx0 spoke about the election.
He had gone on Friday to one of the parish’s third-grade classrooms. The class had held a mock election, and 9 out of 10 kids had voted for Obama. He asked them, “so you believe in Obama’s motto, “Yes, we can”?
“And you believe his other motto, “We all must work and sacrifice”? (This is where I tricked them, Father said).
“And do you know what that means? Homework before TV.”
Well, even third-graders need a reality check! I was so amused by it, and so busy thinking about the possible reality check coming for our country — that I didn’t pay that much attention to the rest of the sermon, which continued with the idea of sacrifice.
He did mention St. John Lateran though. I have been there and it’s so lovely – especially the cloisters.

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posted November 9, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Our Paschal candle is in front during November with a book of remembrance for those who have died. Perhaps that was it?
We had a nice setting of Vidi Aquam and Faure’s Tantum Ergo.
The homily was lovely – about our need for sacred places, but that this place’s purpose is to lead us to the Eucharist, which transforms us into temples of the Spirit. Great flow, accessible. People were raving afterwards.

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Rich Leonardi

posted November 9, 2008 at 8:35 pm

I put up this post earlier today:

Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, … and teenagers
Some feasts just bring out the best in priests. The weekend celebrant at Cincinnati’s St. Rose Church was in fine form at this morning’s feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. His homily focused on three themes: (1) the importance of the early martyrs, (2) man’s innate need to build beautiful houses of worship, and (3) the fact that as Christians we are temples of the Holy Spirit. To reinforce his point about the martyrs, he used the Roman Canon. The usual attributes of Mass at St. Rose were in abundance: dignity, reverence, joy, tasteful hymns, solid preaching, and faithfulness to the rubrics. And of course a church filled to capacity with worshipers, a third of whom were teenagers. If you are a parish leader trying to penetrate the elusive “youth market,” you might take note.

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Michael Tinkler

posted November 9, 2008 at 9:14 pm

Perhaps they’re Auburn fans who have given up?

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Jacqueline Y.

posted November 9, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Our parish priests usually give homilies with little substance. Unfortunately, today was no exception. Our pastor opened with the question, “What is your favorite church? Personal preference and feelings were accented; where we “feel at home” and “feel God’s presence” is where we belong, apparently.
These were our hymns:
1) All Are Welcome (M. Haugen)
2) God Beyond All Names (B. Farrell)
3) When We Eat This Bread (M. Joncas) at communion, followed by the choir’s rendition of “Blessed Assurance” (Fanny Crosby), which I hadn’t heard since I was a Baptist, many years ago. Surpisingly, I think it can be interpreted in a Catholic way, minus the doctrine of Eternal Security (once saved, always saved), which it connotes in Protestant circles. The choir received applause after this one (sigh).
4)City of God (Schutte), followed by Handl’s Trumpet Voluntary on the organ, followed by applause (natch).
Of course, Eucharistic Prayer II was used, as always. Our young people are growing up without exposure to Eucharistic Prayers I and III, which I find tragic.
These days I find it easier to pray at weekday Mass.

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posted November 9, 2008 at 10:25 pm

Today’s homilist was a visiting Filipino-American priest at our Paulist parish, where he also did a workshop on intercultural ministry. He began by likening the intimacy of his Filipino family’s get-togethers around the kitchen table to that which the early Christians must have experienced, worshipping in secret in the catacombs.
When Constantine embraced the faith and gave believers places for public worship, like the Lateran basilica, Fr said the intimacy of early Christian gatherings was lost. He described the architecture of the basilica and said that the sanctuary would eventually be regarded as the sacred space, where all holiness was thought to be concentrated.
He walked from one side of the transept to the other, gesturing toward the altar, the tabernacle, and ambo. As he did so, he pointed out that Christ is in the Church and could be found not only in the sanctuary or the tabernacle, but also in the Gospel and in the people gathered. He spoke about how past worship was marked by the “exclusion” of people from the sanctuary, but that Vatican II stressed that people are the Church.
He closed by alluding to how elections focused on divisions–between Democrats and Republicans, between those favoring Prop 8 and those opposed, etc. He said the president-elect is a symbol of the country’s hope and desire for unity.
I wish he had instead made clear the distinction between the political message of hope that the president-elect brings (at least to the 53% who voted for him) and the Church’s message that Christ is our real hope and source of unity—and that the one is fleeting, the other timeless.

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Brian Flaherty

posted November 10, 2008 at 9:27 am

Our pastor at Saint Francis in Dracut, MA gave a beautiful homily on the history of St. John Lateran and explained that we celebrate this feast to connect us to the universal Church. This feast, he said, reminds us that we are not just individual parishes or dioceses but one Church. He then quoted the inscription from St. John Lateran: “Most Holy Lateran Church, of all the churches in the city and the world, the mother and head.”
He is the pastor of two parishes so he has been trying to remind us that we need to work together and move away from the traditional parish set-up to work together as one Church.

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posted November 10, 2008 at 1:23 pm

A paraphrase of our pastor’s homily:
Why did Jesus drive out the moneychangers and merchants from the Temple? They were, after all, performing a necessary service. There could be no image of Caeasar in the temple, so the moneychangers were exchanging Roman money for Temple money as well as selling the animals that would be used for sacrifice. Those traveling a long distance to Jerusalem may not have an animal and so the moneychangers and sellers were doing a good thing.
What Jesus objected to was how the buying and selling became the focus and how the sacred space of the Temple was being ignored and taken for granted. It became a social occasion, where people would meet and talk and laugh. Many were casually walking through the Temple as a shortcut to other destinations. Others were treating the Temple as a mall.
The word “church” has different meanings in different languages. In some, it means “assembly”. In others it means “sacred space”. The Catholic Church has always tried to maintain both meanings. People are sacred, being made in the image and likeness of God, and so it is always fitting to say that the Church is “the People of God”. But it’s also true to say that God is present not only within us but also in this church, in the tabernacle. And we’ve seen in the past that we get in trouble if we think of God as only present within us. It’s then that God becomes like us to the point that he is us. We begin to think whatever we would approve, God would. That is why the Church prefers that Masses be held in the sacred space, consecrated to God. We go to Him, as the Israelites went on pilgrimage and to Jerusalem. It is a precarious balance that the Church has long tried to maintain.

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posted November 10, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Interesting homily by a brand-new-in-June priest. He talked about being awed while standing in St Peter’s last year. Then went on to talk about Lateran actually being the Pope’s cathedral and where the Popes originally lived. He talked about why this celebration only comes around about every seven years – that it is always on the exact day. He talked about what the dedication of a new church is like and described what happened in two recent dedications. Reminded us that we have a Mass every year on the anniversary of the the dedication of our parish church. Also that there is a Mass in honor of the dedication of our cathedral in all parish churches. This explains why all parishes throughout the world celebrate the dedication of the mother church of all Catholics throughout the world.
And he talked about how people these days come into church and chat with their neighbors before Mass and then again afterwards without really taking in the church itself. He said he was only 27 years old, but that he knew that in the old days people were in their parish churches for lots of things besides Sunday Mass. These occasions would include random visits, even on weekdays, when they used the sacramentals and church windows for meditation. He recommended that we do that again; example: making the stations of the cross, really looking at the windows, and making visits to the Adoration Chapel.
No psychobabble, just really interesting things about being Catholic and some of the ways to live that out in our church buildings. Cool.

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posted November 10, 2008 at 6:09 pm

The homily yesterday was somewhat similar to what Brian F experienced (comment 11).
Our associate pastor highlighted the significance of St John Lateran as a symbol of the universal church.
The purging of the Temple wasn’t mentioned that i remember.
The parish church is a basilica, so as i was listening to the homily, i was surrounded by gorgeous art and statuary all helping me recall that God’s house is a house of prayer.

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Gregg the Obscure

posted November 10, 2008 at 7:20 pm

Both my wife and me being a bit under the weather, we went to Mass at an parish that offers Mass at 11:30. The pastor seemed really nervous throughout the homily, which is odd as he’s usually a very competent and composed homilist.
Part one – basic background on the Lateran basilica.
Part two – corporate worship is necessary for Christians. While there are always distractions, we can’t focus on the distractions – such as how someone is dressed – we’re there to focus on Christ. Told the story about Dante’s enemies who complained about his forgetting to kneel at Mass and Dante asking why they were looking at him during the Mass.
Segue: “This week the voters chose to make a radical change in government; I propose that we make a radical change in how we approach worship.”
Part three – worship isn’t entertainment. The congregation isn’t an audience. The priests, deacons, servers, lectors and music leaders are there to prompt us, but we’re all performers (not actors, nothing false here, but performers all the same) in worship. The audience is God Himself.
I really thought that he was then going to announce a switch to Mass ad orientem at that parish, particularly since he’d seemed so nervous, but he didn’t. He just abruptly ended the homily. (In a few recent conversations, I’m startled by the ferocity of opposition that some folks have to ad orientem worship. )

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posted November 11, 2008 at 2:12 pm

My Priest gave a strong homily about how a Catholic Church is God’s house, where he really dwells in the tabernacle, and that people can talk anywhere, but they shouldn’t be talking in Church, except to God. He also said that prayer is not just about talking to God, but about listening, and for that we need silence in Church.

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