Via Media

Via Media

What have you seen and heard?

On this Sunday before the election, this weekend of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day…what happened in your parish?
Prayers? Music? Homilies?
Did anyone go to the Dominican House of Studies Vigil of All Saints? Or experience something similar in your area?
And the political climate, particularly among Catholics…what’s the temperature?
Do read the comments – lots of interesting things going on.
Lots of black vestments, it seems, as well – what a sea change.
Because I would be teaching this morning, I went to Mass last night – no black vestments, but the homily was about purgatory and praying for the dead.
The report from the others was that at this morning’s Mass, the priest (a different one – different parish) did, indeed wear black vestments.
For more on black vestments – go to Shawn Tribe’s explanation at NLM here.

Comments read comments(69)
post a comment

posted November 2, 2008 at 10:22 am

It’s hard to believe, but I heard a sermon on purgatory! It was a very concise, logical argument for what we believe and why. I wanted to jump up and say “See? Was that so hard?!”

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 10:27 am

In my Protestant church, I’m talking about how we do on one hand have a duty to the state that’s second-tier at best, but we need to be involved in politics, and then I’m going with the readings (Beatitudes, Revelation) and the Letter to Diognetus to discuss how the Church is our primary community, how we transcend the political order, how one day in heaven every State — including the increasingly satanic (although I won’t say that in the sermon) US of A — will have passed away, but the Church will praise Christ for all of eternity, and that that church and that praise began long ago, here, in the world.

report abuse

Fr. N

posted November 2, 2008 at 10:45 am

Wore black. Used incense. Spare music. A capella entrance . No hymn during communion. Instrumental only at the recessional. Preached on purgatory, praying for the dead, visiting cemeteries, offering Mass for the souls in purgatory, readiness for our own deaths. Ended with a quote from Thomas a Kempis “….you have here no city long abiding.”
Going to our parish cemetery later for brief prayers and invited the congregation to join me there.

report abuse

Catholic Mom

posted November 2, 2008 at 11:03 am


posted November 2, 2008 at 11:45 am

I’ve noticed lots of cars with Obama stickers in one of the Catholic churches’ parking lots.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 11:46 am

p.s. Haven’t been to Mass yet today.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 12:02 pm

Nothing. Not a thing. We said a mission prayer right after the creed that had to do with a dance with the Lord? Very disappointing all around. No direction, or even food for thought, for us.

report abuse

Sherry Weddell

posted November 2, 2008 at 12:11 pm

My experience of the political climate among American Catholics here and abroad has surprised me a bit.
Almost all of my conversations were not at home in Colorado Springs (which runs strongly conservative as a rule) but elsewhere – Chicago, Bavaria, etc. My conversations were with serious Catholics (attending retreats, working for the diocese, etc.) They often raised the topic themselves and one and all were voting McCain.
However, I will be spending election eve and day in LA and we’ll see how different the temperature is there. :-}

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 12:30 pm

The homily touched on several teachings: communion of saints, Purgatory, the last four things (when was the last time I heard about them, never?), the universal call to holiness, etc.
A superb homily by a fine priest. Then again, that’s why I changed to this parish,, among other things.

report abuse

Karen LH

posted November 2, 2008 at 12:54 pm

At the end of Mass, our pastor read a very strong pro-life statement wrt to Tuesday’s election. Good on him.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 1:04 pm

We had a beautiful, quieter Mass for All Souls. Father wore an exquisite black vestment. Beautiful Latin & English hymns. In his homily, he talked about a monk’s profession ceremony, where his body is covered with the funeral pall as the monks chant Psalm 119. Very powerful!
As for the election, our awesome bishop just came out with a hard-hitting letter that he ordered to be read at every Mass in the diocese today. Check it out:
The letter was read before Mass; I would have liked to have it read during the homily, but that’s just me. After Mass, a few of us noticed that the Bishop’s letter was separate from the bulletins. We spent a few minutes stuffing the letter into the bulletins to make sure people read it!! :)

report abuse

Suzanne Temple

posted November 2, 2008 at 1:06 pm

We had a sermon on Purgatory and how our priest received a call from a woman he had spoken to while praying in front of an abortion clinic months ago. The woman had given birth and wanted to let father know that he had saved a life. Father tied this in with All Souls, saying to pray for the unborn on All Souls as well. It is 75 degrees and fall color is vibrant and simply beautiful! Happy Sunday!

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 1:51 pm

In our parish bulletin we were treated to Fr. Richard McBrien’s reflections on the election. You can read it here:
Money quotes:
“it is morally permissible for a Catholic to vote for Senators Barack Obama and Joseph Biden for president and vice president respectively.”
“Those Catholics for whom abortion is in effect the only issue determining their vote in a presidential election may need a dose of realism.”
The Bishops not only need to correct Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. They need to reign in what is said in local parishes. I would venture to say that some priests, and columnists such as Andrew Greeley and Richard McBrien (whose column is reproduced in our parish bulletin EVERY week,) create far more confusion than guests on Meet the Press.

report abuse

Rich Leonardi

posted November 2, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Cincinnati vocations director Fr. Kyle Schnippel’s homily at the cathedral this morning was focused on the feast and the importance of having a proper perspective on death — that it isn’t the end and should prompt us to improve our relationship with the Lord. He also spoke of purgatory, prayer, and the communion of saints. No mention of the election, but he’s addressed that theme before.

report abuse

Rich Leonardi

posted November 2, 2008 at 1:58 pm


posted November 2, 2008 at 2:02 pm

The homily started out with the origin and purpose of All Souls Day, affirmed Catholic teaching on purgatory, and then went into a strongly prolife teaching homily with lots of good quotes. The fact that the right to life is primary in importance was affirmed. After the priest finished, loud and sustained applause broke out.
Also, was watching Fox news this morning, which reported a shift away from Obama toward McCain. Not as much of one as there should be, but it was encouraging, what with one more day to go before election day. Let us all pray for a moment of grace and clarity for for each voter (especially the Catholic voters) as that person is in voting booth. Lord, have mercy on us. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners. All you saints and angels, pray for us.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Leafletting outside against the pro-slots initiative in Maryland. Homily focused on the certainty of Resurrection and how the hope is strengthened by remembering our departed daily in our prayers. Today remarked the return of our former pastor, who served here for many years and then had an administrative position in his order’s provincial HQ. Parishioners were advised to pick up a copy of the USCCB’s guidelines. To the extent sentiment is observable, it is overwhelmingly pro-Obama.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 2:12 pm

All Saints Day is a tradition in New Orleans, especially among the Creoles, as is my wife’s ancestory. It’s a dying tradition but all over New Orleans you still will see many Catholics going to the cemetaries to pray for loved ones that have passed on. It’s an experience to live in a place where such things are the norm – like seeing people on the bus cross themselves when they go by a church.

report abuse

Sandra Miesel

posted November 2, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Black vestments at my parish, too, and a good sermon on Purgatory. We’re also getting consecration bells back permanently.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 2:19 pm

We sang For All the Saints, Beatitudes, Precious Lord Take My Hand and Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones. The vestments were white, so it was almost an All Saints theme. But the sermon was on death and our being baptized into Jesus’ death so that we can share his resurrection. All in all, not bad.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Pink or purple and pink vestments on our bishop, and for music, it was the Faure Requirem mass, with some non Faure elements thrown in for the Profession of Faith and Amen.
The sermon was short, about death not as pain but as a joy to be received for being reeived by God, about our need to abandon our will for God’s will, that our Everlasting Life has already begun. He mentioned purgatory, in order to say that it is for those of us not yet able to let go of our own needs and give everyting to God. Would that we could do it while living, rather than waiting until death.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Came down from the mountains to downtown Denver to see a visiting college friend last night. We went to Holy Ghost, which Amy has posted about before. My first time there. Beautiful old church, tucked into the shadow of a skyscraper.
Unfortunately, I don’t know what to make of the liturgy. It was supposed to be the 4:00pm anticipated Mass, but the liturgy for All Saints was used. The priest and deacon wore identical white chausibles, but the altar boys wore red cassocks with white surplices.
We sang “For All the Saints,” some forgettable song at the preparation, the Litany of the Saints at communion, and finally “Lift High the Cross.”
Father’s homily included an analogy of life on earth and death compared to life in the womb and birth, and a lackluster mention of purgatory.
Following Mass there was all-night Exposition and prayer that the foundational life issues would be upheld in the election.
Everything was very nice, but I’m not sure that I fulfilled my Sunday obligation, so I plan on going to St. Malo Retreat Center for Mass tonight, just to be safe.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 3:26 pm

Immaculate Conception, Willoughby, OH, Diocese of Cleveland. Green Vestments.
Before mass, a sweet, frail, aged soprano voice sang Pie Jesu. It brought tears to my eyes. (Communion song was “On Eagle’s Wings,” which tends to bring tears to my eyes for a different reason!)
Good Homily in which the pastor related his experiences with the school’s seventh and eighth graders this week on a school trip to DC. He discussed All Souls of course, and then focused on their visit to Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He described the rigorous training involved in being assigned to the Tomb (memorization of several facts, poems, history, etc.) and the hardships endured by the soldiers guarding the tomb: 24-hour shifts in all weather, with most soldiers not lasting longer than nine months at the post. Fr. compared this to our lifelong assignment as Christians and what we must guard, etc. (I am not doing his words justice here.)
Most importantly was the letter from Bishop Lennon read after mass. It clarified the misconceptions that have occured since the voter guide went out. Our pastor said they had all been ordered to read it, but I’m sure he would have read it, ordered or not.
The letter clarified that, while there are many issues in this election, there are some issues (abortion and euthanasia) that are more important than all other issues and which essentially should take precedence. It was fantastic. The congregation was dead silent afterwards, but for once, I really wanted to applaud in church.
Yesterday, I was behind a car at a stop sign that had a rosary hanging from the rear-view mirror, an Ireland sticker on the back of the trunk, and an Obama sticker on the bumper. I just don’t understand.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Correction. My oldest son says the vestments were purple. I will put money on his memory over mine any day.

report abuse

Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P.

posted November 2, 2008 at 3:34 pm

7:30 am Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish in Charlottesville Va.
New pastor (previously the senior assistant) wore black vestments and preached an excellent witty sermon on Purgatory and prayers for the dead.
Music: Roman Gregorian Mass XVIIIB (Requiem Kyrie) with Credo I. Propers were Requiem Aeternam (Introit); Absolve (Tract replacing Alleluia). Lux Perpetua (Communion). The Dies Irae was sung as the Offertory song (this was a Novus Ordo Mass). All these chants were according the the music of the Dominican Graduale. The Panis Angelicus (in parts) was the Communion meditation.

report abuse

Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P.

posted November 2, 2008 at 3:36 pm

Seth. It was correct to celebrate the Mass of All Saints on Saturday night since All Souls only begins with Morning Prayer on Sunday–it has not first Vespers.
And yes, it does fulfill your Sunday obligation.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 3:50 pm

SW Germany – black vestments – wow! Homily on the two sides of Jesus in the story of Lazarus – the powerful God who works miracles and the human who is touched and weeps, how we need both and how the sorrowing shouldn’t be met with “if you just believed more”, but also we need to lean on the sovereign Jesus.
The names of those who died since last All Soul’s Day were read and Father sang “in paradisum” in German. There was a mid-size crucifix at the foot of the sanctuary with the Easter candle and smaller candles were lit for each of those who were named. There was an additional service at the cemetary this afternoon.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Beautiful black vestments. Standing room only, and not much of that. Good homily on purgatory, which somehow (I got distracted) led to a description of the natural virtues, with an emphasis on prudence, understood as right action based on correct moral understanding. From there, the need for prudence for good leadership, and an explanation of why intelligence was not sufficient – pointing to Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot. Then a plain statement that abortion is the direct taking of a human life and can never be acceptable. Somewhere in there we heard about the supernatural virtues of faith, hope and love, given to us by God. God bless our Dominicans.

report abuse

Mike Bradley

posted November 2, 2008 at 4:08 pm

I moved last summer to Richmond, Va., and my new parish has turned out to be a shining light of liturgical orthodoxy in this diocese; and this morning was no exception. It also happened to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the dedication of the church, and to celebrate the restoration of the apse. The instrumental prelude was Drei Equale by Beethoven an the Choir motet was by Bruckner. The entrance hymn was Christ is made the sure foundation. We all knelt and for the introit (chanted in Latin) and the Kyrie (in Greek, naturally) form the Requiem Mass. The homily touched on conscience and how when we die we have to face God alone in judgment who truly knows our conscience. This was linked to the election. Father also tied the anniversary of the dedication to All Soul’s Day in that he said that the builders of the church asked nothing in return except for us to pray for the repose of the souls at the holy sacrifice of the mass. He also brought up that our conscience is informed by the Church and those who have gone before us, thus linking All Soul’s and the election. The necrology was read at the intercessions. The offeratory hymn was Jerusalem my Happy Home. The introductory dialogue was chanted in Latin. The Sanctus was from the Missa St. Cecelia by Charles Gounod. The our Father was chanted in Latin as usual. The Agnus Dei was from the Requiem Mass. The communion chants were Ave Verum and
Ave Maris Stella. Then the Communion Antiphon was chanted in Latin. The closing hymn was Salve Regina. Father wore purple and celebrated ad orientem which has become the norm at this parish. The air was also thick with the smell of incense. Hands down one of the most beautiful and inspiring masses I’ve ever been to in my life.
The programs for All Saints and All Souls can be seen here:

report abuse

Fr. John

posted November 2, 2008 at 5:09 pm

These are my notes, from the homily I preached in my religious house of formation.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the nuns dragged us to Mass every school day morning during November. I hated it. We were told that we had to go to Mass, in order to pray for the poor souls in purgatory, and hope that someday someone would do us the same favor. This day – All Souls Day – was depressing and grim, and inaugurated the most depressing and grim month of the year. The vestments were black, the hymns were melancholy, and the students – and the priests I think – were only half awake.
Late in the 1960s, the vestments were white, and All Souls day began to take on the features of a day of remembrance. There were, to be sure, moments of sorrow, as Catholics mourned fathers and mothers, grandparents and friends. But the awesome, fearsome, sentiments of just a few years before began to recede. Eventually, in some parishes at least, every dead person was at least on the edge of canonization. Every funeral Mass became a celebration of the decedent’s life, and tears and sorrow seemed somehow awkward.
If in the 50s and the 60s some Catholics could be rightly accused of wallowing in grief to the point of despair and doubting God’s mercy, in more recent decades some Catholics could be rightly accused of presuming upon their own worthiness.
Either extreme, is too extreme. Each extreme built on a truth – God’s judgment and the fact of purgatory on the one hand, and God’s love and mercy and God’s universal salvific will on the other. But each extreme seemed insufficiently to acknowledge the opposite truth.
This feast should be a feast of multiple “notes.” We remember the dead – all the dead, but especially the dead of our families, our order, and our friends. We do indeed celebrate their lives, and we grieve their loss.
We also pray for them. Every Mass prays for all the living and the dead – and this is expressly stated in the words of each of the Eucharistic Prayers. We the living are bound together to the dead by ties of love and affection. Our love and affection should prompt us, in charity, to pray for them.
We do not know who is “in” purgatory. We do know that purgatory exists – a period or state or stage of purgation – of purification – so that whatever may have been sinful or lacking, whatever may have been failing, or been incomplete or imperfect in a person’s life on earth may be made whole, complete and perfect with the assistance of our prayers, and their suffering – suffering the temporary delay in achieving the beatific vision of God in heaven.
Sorrow, grief, awe, some appropriate degree of fear, and hope, faith in the promise of the Savior, each of these “notes” are called for on this day.
For this day affirms so many truths of the faith:
1. the absolute power of the Lord who is our creator and the just judge of us, his creatures;
2. that atoning death of Jesus that opened for us the gates to heaven;
3. our seeming endless capacity to prove in our own lives the reality of the fall, by outright sin, and by vacillation between truths ;
4. God’s endless capacity to lift us up to new life despite our fall;
5. our unity – as the church militant, with the church suffering, and the church triumphant;
6. the reality of heaven and hell and yes, purgation after death, and our ignorance of who is where, hence our need to pray for all;
7. and the reality that it is a noble and good thing to pray for the dead – not simply as some cultural artifact or excuse to take a Mass stipend if we are a priest – but affirming the real and efficacious nature of our prayers, especially when united to the one atoning sacrifice of Christ made present in the Mass.
Brothers and sisters, I chose the options for today’s Mass carefully, to “hit” the varied notes. Not the white vestments that we use for saints (which are now more common, as if all the dead were saints) and not black (which may to some seem devoid of hope and consolation – do we even have a black vestment in this house?) – but I chose the in-between purple. Penitential, but looking forward to the white of celebration. I chose the Maccabees reading from the funeral Mass, which is the primary biblical source to warrant prayers for the dead, and which is seldom heard at funerals. I chose St. Paul, in his earliest writing in Thessalonians, telling us that the Lord will appear in glory on the last day, with all those who have died, and that we should not grieve like “the others” who live without hope of resurrection. And last, I chose Matthew 25, which points to judgment, and which also lays out our mission of mercy – corporal works of mercy – on which our love will be judged.
Our faith is always a faith of “both….and” – we are never followers of, and can never announce, a one-note Gospel. As we today dwell with the truths of the faith that are revealed in this feast, let us now and always seek to balance ourselves, by affirming the full harmony of our belief.
Those sometimes saintly nuns and priests at my boyhood parish long years ago got it wrong in a one-note stress, at least in my memory of them. But later, others also derailed in a different direction. If the Church at one time or another in its history seemed to go to much toward one side or another in its stress of this or that, in our present moment we are called to acknowledge the whole of Catholic truth, with balance.

report abuse

Patricia Gonzalez

posted November 2, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Rambling, rather disjointed sermon about how the saints were not just those on the calendar, but about the everyday saints, e.g., parents, dedicated teachers, etc. who have lived among us. No mention of purgatory or the Four Last Things. Purple vestments. Music: Morning Has Broken, Come to Me (Weston priory), Day is Done (aka All Through the Night), and to end, From the Depths of Sin and Sorrow, based on a Russian tune. Just before the final prayer, a thank-you from the pastor to the new altar servers (male and female), followed by … you guessed it … a round of applause. And that was it, that was all.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Re: All Soul’s Day, I was somewhat pleasantly surprised by a homily from one of our 70s hippy priests, who actually affirmed the existence of hell and spoke positively about the need for purgatory.
Re: the election, not surprisingly, at the end of Mass the priest warned us about “partisan” voting guides that people were placing on car windshields at parishes around the archdiocese. Yeah, the folks at Catholic Answers really care more about shilling for the GOP than protecting the unborn.

report abuse

Alan Phipps

posted November 2, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Black vestments at St. Theresa’s in Sugar Land, TX for Ordinary Form liturgy. Very good homily on the doctrine of purgatory and the importance of offering prayer for the dead. Priest and deacons wearing the maniple :)

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 6:44 pm

A polyphonic requiem mass, black vestments, and a homily on the communion of saints and purgatory here.
Nothing on the election beyond the formation series I am offering after the Sunday masses. (But low response. We are packed last election cycle in 2004. Either we’re in a “blue bubble” here – entirely possible – or people have learned how to think about it. I don’t know the answer.)

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 6:54 pm

Father George W. Rutler publishes “From the Pastor” each week on the web site of the Church of Our Saviour, New York City. Here is the closing paragraph of today’s column:
“Piety also includes devotion to one’s country, for which we should especially pray at this election time. The nearly 50 million babies destroyed by abortion since Roe v. Wade do not need prayers for the dead because the Lord has already received them according to his merciful will. But our nation is accountable for allowing this deepest outrage against innocent life to continue and expand. Holy Church has widely published the fact that no one is morally justified in preferring any political candidate who promotes abortion over one who does not. Only the invincibly ignorant can hope to escape severe penalties, eternal as well as temporal, if they reject this counsel. The social philosopher Thomas Sowell has said: “It is hard to think of a time when a nation—and a whole civilization—has drifted more futilely toward a bigger catastrophe than that looming over the United States and Western civilization today. . . . We are fast approaching the point of no return.”

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 6:55 pm

I’m extremely unhappy with what is happening at my parish. The new pastor did not allow a pro-life voter guide to be distributed as it has been for previous elections. He had an insert about economic justice inside the bulletin, and several paragraphs about Catholics being able to vote for pro-abortion candidates for proportional reasons without any attempt to put that into context. I’m told by another parishioner that he announced at a weekday homily that it is permissable to vote for Barack Obama.
I am going to make an appointment to meet with him this week. At that meeting, I will inform him that we are withdrawing from this parish after many, many years here and will be seeking a parish whose pastor is pro-life in word and deed.

report abuse

Elaine T

posted November 2, 2008 at 6:58 pm

We had readings that were not in the missalette, I assume they were from the Mass for the Dead. The homily was on sin, death and hope in Christ. White vestments. Standard modern music including “On Eagle’s Wings” and “Bread of Life” (the one that bounces over more than an octave – by Tooley? – and I rather like it – it’s from my childhood – but then, I can hit the high notes.) but why the person in charge of music keeps putting that as a recessional I have no idea. One thing about our parish, people do sing.
Nothing election related except an announcement at the end of Mass to the effect that there were rumors people were going to be electioneering on the grounds in defiance of the Bishop’s policies/orders, and if you did see such stuff, it’s not sanctioned by the parish or diocese.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 7:02 pm

I was at the All Saints Vigil at the Dominican House, Friday night. (It’s the third year in a row that I’ve been able to attend.) Beautiful as always, and even more packed. The readings from the lives of the saints is one of the highlights of the evening for me, and this year there were readings: i) on the conversion of St. Paul (from a General Audience by Pope Benedict), ii) from a letter by St. Dominic Ibanes de Equicia, a Spanish Dominican martyred in Japan in the 17th century, iii) from “The Roman Socrates,” a life of St. Philip Neri, and iv) from an address by Bl. Teresa of Calcutta to her sisters on holiness.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Mil & Mike,
Find new parishes. Today.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 7:21 pm

Holy Cross, Archdiocese of Seattle
Fr. Guzman preached on purgatory, made several appeals for folks to get their own Catechism of the Catholic Church and ended by reading aloud one final letter from Archbishop Brunett regarding I-1000, the assisted suicide intiative up for a vote on Tuesday. I’ve been impressed at how many times our priests have preached against assisted suicide during Mass.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 7:27 pm

Ft. Wayne. Our priest wore purple, homely was about purgatory. Later, we had a town hall meeting about our Bishop wanting to consolidate South Side Catholic Schools next school year — ours being on the list of those most likely to be consolidated.
The schools in question are all small, but in the black. Our tuition is rather high due to low student head count. The meeting was lightly attended, nowhere near the number of parents of our students.
The Bishop’s goal is to maximize the number of students in Catholic School, but the plan doesn’t include any loss of students through the consolidation process. There was much discussion of how few students in other Catholic schools which were closed went on to the consolidated schools — most, it appears, went to public school rather than consolidate.
This plan was sprung on us in the last few weeks after repeated assurances that nothing was coming and the Bishop is looking for final decisions on mergers by the end of the year, to be implemented next school year.
No clear answer on the need for speed, esp. given the fact that our Bishop is beyond mandatory retirement age — why not develop a plan and let the next, new, younger Bishop decide?

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 7:33 pm

Not a mention of pro-life in the homily or entire Mass, except for an encouragement, afterwards, to read the waffling USCCB statement on voting, “Faithful Citizenship,” which basically serves as an encouragement for Obama supporters. There were no prayers for the election and our nation, no prayers for the unborn or an end to abortion. All in all, at this defining moment in U.S. history, a stunning silence on the part of our priests, who say they must obey directives from our Bishop (John McCormick, NH), which include warnings not to speak out about the election and not to cooperate this weekend with the National Right to Life. (Why?!!)
There were those of us, in defiance of our Bishop and our Pastor, who furtively put National Right to Life voting flyers on cars in the church parking lot, hoping to avoid inflammatory encounters with fellow parishioners who support Obama. Wondering, all the while: What kind of twilight zone are we living in?
As Deal Hudson puts it in his article “Will ‘Faithful Citizenship’ Win the Catholic Vote for Obama,” “If Obama wins on November 4 with the help of Catholic voters, the biggest factor in his favor will be the bishops’ own document and website, ‘Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship’.”
I wish I lived in Lexington, KY. Kristy, count yourself incredibly fortunate with your courageous Bishop, even though the USCCB seems to have ensured Obama’s victory.
God help us and help the unborn.

report abuse

Blake Helgoth

posted November 2, 2008 at 7:43 pm

At our parish, our music director made a lengthy statement about why all the priests were wearing black vestments this Sunday. The chasible is very beautiful indeed! He also reiterated that we should pay close attention to the offetory prayers because it is when we offer our prayers, petions, sacrifices, and very lives up with the sacrifce on the altar. He went on to explain the beginning of a new practice in our parish, ringing of bells during the Epiclesis, and the elevation of the Host and then the Chalice. He told us how this had been an option for years, but we were just now returning to it. We also had the usual 5 high school boys serving in black cassock and surpluce, incense, candles, etc. The homily was about souls in purgatory and how they relied on our prayers. The priest even told everone that they should visit a graveyard today to pray for those buried there, which we did later in the day. It was just like we were at a Catholic parish! Praise God for the renewal that is taking place.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 8:22 pm

I went to the Spanish Mass late this afternoon. Due to the time change, it was getting dark and I was surprised to see the steps of the church lined with luminárias with names on them. One of the hymns was Buenos Días, Paloma Blanca. The Padre Nuestro was sung as were most of the other responses. There were quite a few singers in the choir and some played instruments as well — four electric guitars, a set of drums, and the lead singer had a tambourine.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 8:55 pm

To Kristen: I can understand that if you have young children you would want them in a “good” parish as the CCD program is so important. However, as a convert, parishioners who are well grounded in their faith have been so important to me. New converts are fortunate when the daily Mass ladies who pray the Rosary every day take them under their wings. Become an RCIA sponsor. Volunteer to teach CCD. Get on the parish council. Volunteer for things that make a difference. I’d hate to see the parish devoid of such people. You may not be well received, but hey, you’re in good company.

report abuse

+ Alan

posted November 2, 2008 at 9:08 pm

5pm LifeTeen Mass at the Cathedral in Lexington, Kentucky (we like it). Priest wore purple vestments. Music was as usual for this Mass, more contemporary but good, worshipful stuff. Many if not most of the prayers were chanted, and some of the responses by us too.
I think there may have been a little confusion in the readings as to whether we were reading for All Saints of All Souls – 1st reading was right, Wisdom, 2nd reading was Romans (for All Saints??) and the Gospel was from All Souls, John.
Anyway, the homily was good – Fr. personalized talking about “the dead are still with us” with stories about his parents, now gone, etc. He did speak of purgatory and our prayers for them, that they would “shine forth” into being fully with God, as well as their prayers for us. He pointed to the little white crosses on the front of our parish lawn, for aborted babies, and drew them in as a part of the “faithful departed” – then he read the Bishop’s letter that Kristy talked about above.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 9:25 pm

My husband heard the vigil Mass homily and said the pastor asked the congregation who they were going to believe – the Supreme Court who said you can kill or God who says you cannot kill. He also put in the front page of the bulletin and article with this title
Texas Bishops Resolve Doubts
Voting Pro-Abortion Called Cooperating in Evil
After all the Masses this weekend, my husband, daughter, grandsons and a number of other volunteers passed out Priests for Life flyers with the presidential candidate’s stands on abortion, stem-cell, human cloning etc. We did this with the Pastor’s permission. In fact, when we offered to stuff them in the bulletin, he directed us to pass them out as “nobody reads the bulletin”.
They were also handed out at another parish in our diocese with the pastor’s permission.
The deacon at this morning’s Mass explained the term intrinsic evil in another extremely prolife homily. At the 9 AM Mass another deacon preached on purgatory. I don’t know what the visiting Monsignor said at 2 other Masses.
Priests for Life has a lot of legal stuff on their website explaining why bishops/priests don’t have to worry about losing their tax exemption if they present the Church’s moral teaching on issues and have flyers that present candidates’ stands on these issues without endorsing a specific candidate.
I don’t see anything in scripture or the catechism that counsels bishops or priests to hang on to the Church’s tax exemption at all costs. Surely Christ isn’t going to ask them about that at the last judgment.

report abuse

Becky J

posted November 2, 2008 at 9:58 pm

Parish in a suburb of Sacramento
Deacon gave homily and preached exclusively about All Souls’ Day — nothing about the election. But after the homily, the priest led us in a prayer for the election.
This particular priest (newly ordained) has been very forthright about how Catholics ought to vote in the upcoming election. In particular, he has been tirelessly promoting activism in the parish seeking passage of Prop 8 to ban gay marriage in California.
But he has also made it quite clear how Catholics ought to vote in the presidential election. My husband attended All Saints’ Mass yesterday and this priest said, “I have consulted with my spiritual director, another priest in the diocese, and we both agree that to vote for a pro-abortion candidate in this election is a mortal sin.”
I agree with him, but I WISH the Holy Father would just come out and say that without ambiguity so Catholics would stop finding wiggle room to vote for Barack Obama, et al.!
On a side note, I just have to give a “shout out” to Fr. Thompson at UVA. I was a grad. student at UVA in the late 1990’s and let’s just say I’m astounded by the liturgical turnaround he and other priests have been able to effect at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. To be frank, a decade ago, I used to refer to it as the least of parochial evils in Central VA. Many serious Catholics in the area used to cross the Blue Ridge for a by-the-book Mass. I am so happy that they no longer have to do that!

report abuse

Margaret Duffy

posted November 2, 2008 at 10:07 pm

At St. Jean Baptiste in Manhattan, the Noon Mass had a beautiful performance fo the Faure Requiem fully integrated with the liturgy. The only non-Faure sung parts were the Alleluia and the Memorial Acclamation. Placement of the Pie Jesu caused a little confusion about kneeling, but that was minor compared to the beauty and dignity of the whole. The priests wore purple vestments. The homily was about the continuity of life between this world and the next. No explicit references to abortion, but continuity has to begin somewhere!

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 10:17 pm

All Souls was a bizarre and depressing experience in my parish. Ghastly guitar “music” consisting of three guitars mercilessly and talentlessly thrummed to accompany very cheerful songs utterly at odds with the occasion. As a constrast, this was combined with a very gloomy homily dwelling almost exclusively on punishment for sin, ie how we are constantly committing venial sins and will eventually be punished for each one we can’t remember to confess or don’t expiate with good works in this life. No mention of hope. No mention even of Jesus. I was really not inspired … except perhaps to despair.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 10:28 pm

My husband and I went to different Masses at different parishes.
I went to our home parish where (gratefully in our case) Fr. did not mention the electionagain. Each and every time before this he seemed to give very milk toast comments about “oh, I won’t tell you how to vote”… they both have their “problems”… of course no talk on informing your conscience. Today, Fr. concentrated most of his homily on the fact it was All Soul’s Day…but fumbling in talking about purgatory calling it well, It’s this Catholic *thing* we concocted…just being completely confusing, especially to those who know nothing about purgatory. Disappointing to say the least…absolutely no mention of right to life issues…but then no different than any other homily.
I was heartened to hear my husband’s account. It seems at the end of Mass the pastor told the congregation to sit down and listen to a letter the Bishop (Lennon) had written regarding our duty to inform our conscience on abortion and all life issues this election. It actually was well written and gave more punch to the USCCB’s document.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 11:08 pm

Small town Southwest Colorado:
Our pastor wore white, and we celebrated All Saints. We will celebrate All Souls tomorrow. We sang “For All the Saints”, Rise Up. O Saints of God” “We Sing of the Saints” and “For all the Saints Who’ve Shown Your Love”. Father asked all the children in the parish to come up to the altar steps and then directed his sermon to them. He talked to them about loving their brothers and sisters and parents, even if they fought sometimes; and about how God always loves us. He told them that they are the Saints of right now. What a great thought to put in their minds!
Offertory prayers did include prayers for our leaders and for us to make wise choices in the election. Our state has an proposition to declare unborn children as persons; and our parish has been very active in promoting it.
Our pastor does not discuss politics in particular, but he does address issues of right to life. A recent sermon was about not taking things at face value but looking below the surface to find out what a particular politican really believes.

report abuse

Will Duquette

posted November 2, 2008 at 11:30 pm

We were on a trip to visit family in another part of the state, and so went to a strange parish for mass this morning. I’ve no idea what’s typical there, so I won’t name it. White vestments, and a homily about so often we fear death, and aren’t willing to face it, but that we shouldn’t be afraid because of what Jesus says in today’s Gospel, that he won’t lose anyone that the Father has given him. The priest seemed to interpret this in a universalistic way; he ended the homily noting that in Heaven we’d get to meet all of our favorite actors and sports heroes!
The parish seemed fairly lively, with very much a social justice focus.

report abuse

Fr Martin Fox

posted November 2, 2008 at 11:33 pm

Black vestment at one parish; purple at the other, which has no black vestment. Nine am “Choir Mass” had some nice chant pieces, along with Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin. My homily was about a Christian understanding of death, vs. culture’s avoidance of death, Last Rites and a happy death. praying for the dead, etc. Click on my name to see homily.
I had something in the bulletin from the bishops about the issues on the ballot; we had something else the week before, and I’ve touched on the prolife issue in a couple homilies the past few weeks, but I thought the focus should be on the day.

report abuse


posted November 2, 2008 at 11:59 pm

Our pastor wore violet and talked about Purgatory. He started his homily with the prayer of commendation that he prays over the dying and ended with the “Grant them eternal rest prayer”. He told us what the Church teaches about Purgatory, gave us the Scriptural basis, spoke of the importance of the funeral Mass (and Masses for the dead), and read a passage from a book by Scott Hahn.
We prayed for wisdom and peace on Election Day during the Prayers of the Faithful. I’m not sure what the political climate of the parish is. There was a sign in the school saying that McCain won the mock election, but other than that, I don’t really know much.

report abuse

Nancy (n.o.e.)

posted November 3, 2008 at 12:08 am

Purple vestments. Homily about death being the gateway that we all must pass through, and how we need to start preparing for our own deaths. He spoke of fear and of comfort. A compelling and unusual homily from a new-ish priest. Nothing mentioned about the election, really. Our hymns were to tunes from Sibelius’ Finlandia and Beethoven’s 9th. It was our monthly “Latin” Mass, so the prayers were chanted in Latin.

report abuse


posted November 3, 2008 at 1:39 am

Wonderful homily about purgatory. FIrst time I have heard one in our parish in17 years. Of course it was given by our newly ordained priest who hails from…POLAND. Can we all say, “Thank You, John Paul the Great.”

report abuse

mrs jackie parkes

posted November 3, 2008 at 8:35 am

Hey that was my Parish priest Fr Guy Nicholls!

report abuse


posted November 3, 2008 at 8:40 am

We had something new this year, an All Soul’s vigil Mass on Saturday night (service for All Saints was at 10 a.m.). All of us who had lost family members in the past two years were invited to walk up in an opening procession wth lighted candles. We announced who we were remembering and then the candles remained on the side altar until after Mass, when we got to take them home. Opening hymn was “Anima Christi,” arranged by our music director. We also sang “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” and “On Eagle’s Wings.” I was distracted by my naughty little girl for most of the homily but remember Father talking about different ways we encounter death in our culture and he specifically mentioned the evil of abortion. The Prayers of the Faithful contained a petition for wisdom for all our elected leaders. Our bulletin has promoted the “Guide to Faithful Citizenship” and has included explanations of different aspects of Catholic Social Teaching for many weeks.

report abuse


posted November 3, 2008 at 9:21 am

We had an All Souls’ Mass with black vestments as well.
I also watched the Mass with the translation of the relics of Cardinal Newman at the Birmingham Oratory. The priests and the Archbishop wore traditional fiddleback vestments. A wonderful, reverent Mass of the Ages.
God bless Pope Benedict and the return of the traditional Mass.

report abuse


posted November 3, 2008 at 9:35 am

Abp. Chaput wore purple, and explained that he is trying to strike a middle ground between the black of mourning and the white of joy in the resurrection. He then gave an excellent, wide-ranging homily on purgatory, the communion of saints, and the reality of death and judgment day that we will all face. I especially loved how he explained purgatory: not the fires of hell punishing us, but the fire of God’s love opening us up and cleansing us so we can come fully into His presence – which is painful, but more like the pain of embarrassment and shame as all our imperfections are exposed, than the pains of hell.
You can listen to his homilies on the Archdiocese website; they’re usually up within a couple of days after the weekend.

report abuse

Dan Crawford

posted November 3, 2008 at 11:19 am

Every time I see black vestments, I am reminded of the nightmare of my mother’s funeral in 1957. In the choir the organist caterwauling the Gregorian Requiem, the black pall on the casket, the unbleached candles, the service done in entirely in Latin (if there was a hint of hope in the resurrection of Jesus, it was lost on a 13 year old who didn’t know Latin but had attended Catholic Schools since the age of 6), the black vestments, all stressing for me that the future for my mother, a devout Catholic all her life, who so faithfully made sure her children were raised in the faith and who prayed with them every night (except for many times in the last three years of her life when she was in the hospital), was grim especially in the presence of a god who would judge even her minute faults. If I knew my parish church was ready for some strange reason to embrace the current Tridentine romanticism, I would move to a different church. The old Latin Requiem – its spirit and its ritual – was a great tragedy. I want to retain what a wonderful service John Paul II had.

report abuse

Henry Dieterich

posted November 3, 2008 at 11:48 am

All Saints: We went to the funeral of an old friend, a woman who had been crippled by rheumatoid arthritis for 50 years. The priest apologized for appearing to canonize her in the homily, but it was very hard not to do. She was one of the holiest people I’ve ever met.
All Souls: At my own parish, Christ the King, Ann Arbor. No black vestments. We (the choir) sang the Introit for the Day of Death (in Latin, Gregorian) at the beginning, and the Agnus Dei from the Faure Requiem at Communion (as well as a few other good things). The homily was about: 1) Purgatory: what it’s all about; 2) Striving to live in a way that enables us to avoid Purgatory; 3) The unity of the Church Militant with the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant, and the need to pray for the souls in Purgatory. I could have stood for a bit less of 2) and a bit more of 3). After Mass, we attended a reception in the parish hall for a member of the parish who is dying of pancreatic cancer and not expected to live past Thanksgiving–a kind of good-bye party. We left early but were able to greet him and his wife. If I’m ever in that condition (that is, knowing I’m going to die soon), I hope someone does that for me.

report abuse

Headless Unicorn Guy

posted November 3, 2008 at 1:41 pm

St Boniface Parish, Downtown Anaheim, California, 9:30 (English-language) Mass:
Chief pastor presiding, Black Vestments, homily on Purgatory. Traditional choir for the initial procession (did not recognize the piece, but think it was Dies Irae in chant) and sung portions of main Mass.
Other than that, not that different from Ordinary-time Mass. No specific mention of Election Day. Heavy use of incense, but this parish goes bells-and-smells on feast days/holidays in general. Communion under both species, again parish practice on Sunday Masses.

report abuse

Sarah L.

posted November 3, 2008 at 1:48 pm

Our visiting priest talked about how part of his job involves writing sample homilies (He runs a retreat house, so I’m not quite sure how the sample homilies fit in, but I digress). He also gets copies of homilies from other priests. In preparation for his homily he picked six homilies for All Souls Day out of his files, and he then picked them apart! He found much blurring of the lines between All Saints and All Souls Day, and not one homily mentioned purgatory or contained any real theological truths. So, Father proceeded to break it down for us, launching off with a quote from the Catechism about purgatory, and going on from there. It was fantastic. And I think we needed to hear it.

report abuse


posted November 3, 2008 at 4:03 pm

I’m part of a young adult group at St. Gertrude’s in Cincinnati. This parish is blessed to house the novitiate for the good Dominican friars of the St. Joseph’s province before they move on to the House of Studies in D.C. For the past four years, including this one, we’ve coordinated an All Saints Vigil modeled on that at the House of Studies. It’s one of my favorite liturgies, especially given the way we work to match appropriate readers to their readings. For instance, one of our female members who is also a doctor did St. Gianna Beretta Molla. And a Dominican novice who was a lawyer read St. Thomas More. And one of our alums, now a Franciscan postulant at the St. Anthony Shrine in Mt. Airy, channeled St. Bonaventure. It was fantastic.
On All Souls Day a number of us attended the evening Mass together at which our chaplain (one of the Dominican priests in the parish) presided. His homily touched on hope, including the importance of purgatory (which resonated with me since I’m currently reading that part of Dante’s Divine Comedy), not canonizing our loved ones at funerals, and dutifully praying for all the faithful departed as part of the communion of saints. A gutsy preaching move, I thought, but good theology. I should have expected nothing less from a member of the Order of Preachers. For those keeping score at home, the altar and the priest were draped in violet, not black.
Before the All Souls Mass, when I looked at the missalette and saw November, I thought, “We’re getting close to the Feast of Christ the King”. That’s a special day for me because it was on that feast (ten years ago now!) that I stood before the entire parish and professed my intent to enter the Catholic Church.
Let’s remember to pray for all those on pilgrimage, wherever they may be.

report abuse


posted November 3, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Fr. Benedict Groeschel, on his Sunday Night Live program last night, spoke about the possible twilight of America.

report abuse

Fr. N

posted November 3, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Dan Crawford,
I must agree with you that you did, indeed, miss the “hint of hope in the resurrection of Jesus” at your mother’s funeral in 1957. If you will look at the Tridentine funeral Mass you will see the readings are ones (among others)that are still read in the new form. They talk about the hope of God’s mercy through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The gospel is the one in which Jesus proclaims that he is the resurrection and the life. The prayers speak of God’s mercy, and our desire that the deceased be cleansed of sin and be granted forgiveness. The prayers ask that the angels may lead the departed into paradise. The old funeral Mass also has clear notes of the dread of death, which most humans have, and it expresses sorrow and sadness which we can hardly deny even has we are hope-filled people who believe in the mercy of God. It’s not just “either/or”, but “both/and”. Perhaps in your desire to take a swipe at tradition,I really think you have mis-characterized the old Requiem Mass. Granted it may have been poorly celebrated -caterwauling has occurred, does now sometimes, and will occur in the future. It can be done in English too. But, to say that the old Latin Requiem was “great tragedy” is just too much. Your bad experience at age 13 with the death of your mother and a funeral that was perhaps badly celebrated (and misunderstood) does not invalidate the Mass of the ages which I grew up with and now celebrate with appreciation from time to time. God bless.

report abuse

Matthew K

posted November 3, 2008 at 11:27 pm

Oh dear! Homily started out with “There are lots of inserts in the bulletin…read of them is Market day…November is usually very big for Market Day”
What was left unsaid was another insert was from Bishop Lennon clarifying that not all issues are equal. Abortion is always a grave evil, while other social justice issues have room for interpretation as to the solution, best role of government.
Then proceeded to make fun of the “old days” when you prayed for the dead with three Hail Mary’s ..and something else”
Then an explanation that at funeral masses this particular priest always comforts the gathered family and friend with the knowledge we can rely on God’s mercy that the deceased is in Heaven. And if not already, will be in the twinkling of an eye.
A brief mention that the Catechism still teaches there is a Purgatory without quoting it directly. The direct quotes were saved for quoting lyrics from the “Love Hurts” Yes. Nazareth’s hit.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

There is nothing I shall want
A couple of weeks ago, a memorial Mass for Michael was held here in Birmingham at the Cathedral. The bishop presided and offered a very nice, even charming homily in which he first focused on the Scripture readings of the day, and then turned to ...

posted 9:24:16am Mar. 05, 2009 | read full post »

Revolutionary Road - Is it just me?
Why am I the only person I know..or even "know" in the Internet sense of "knowing"  - who didn't hate it? I didn't love it, either. There was a lot wrong with it. Weak characterization. Miscasting. Anvil-wielding mentally ill prophets.But ...

posted 9:45:04pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Books for Lent
No, I'm not going to ask you about your Lenten reading lists...although I might.Not today, though. This post is about giving books to others. For Lent, and a long time after that. You know how it goes during Lent: Prayer, Fasting and ...

posted 9:22:07pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Why Via Media
How about....because I'm lame and hate thinking up titles to things? No? about...St. Benedict? Yes, yes, I know the association with Anglicanism. That wasn't invovled in my purpose in naming the joint, but if draws some Googling ...

posted 8:54:17pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Brave Heart?
I don't know about you, but one of effects of childbirth on me was a compulsion to spill the details. All of them.The whole thing was fascinating to me, so of course I assumed everyone else should be fascinated as well in the recounting of every ...

posted 10:19:45pm Mar. 03, 2009 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.