Our school children didn’t seem to mind missing three days of school last week!  When I was a teacher, I loved snow days—which were like a God-given vacation!  Anyway, those days occurred during the annual Catholic Schools Week, so the kids missed a number of special activities.  However, Mr. Eiser said that the annual 8th grade vs faculty volleyball game will take place this Friday.  I’ll report on the outcome next week.

 

We had a spirited Worship Commission meeting last evening. This Commission has grown and is attending to a number of important items.  Under Kathy Harcourt’s leadership, we are currently going through the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, one of the seminal documents from Vatican Council II, promulgated by Pope Paul VI—now St. Paul VI—in 1963. All Vatican documents on the liturgy since then, and anything coming from a country’s episcopal conference, must be consistent with the core teaching of this Constitution.

 

One thing we spent some time talking about was the statement, “Sacred scripture is of the greatest importance in the celebration of the liturgy . . . Thus, to achieve the restoration, progress, and adaptation of the sacred liturgy, it is essential to promote that warm and living love for scripture . . .”  Those of you my age and older will recall going to Mass as children and, at daily Masses especially, not having the Scripture proclaimed in English, for it was read solely by the priest. I feel very proud of the care that our lectors, truly “ministers of the Word,” put into their proclamation of God’s Word.  And I respect the attentive listening by members of the assembly.  I see lots of folks following carefully in their missalettes, some parents reading along with their children.  It is then the responsibility of the preacher to make the Word come alive.  When I was a child, the homily—which we called “sermon”—did not need to be about the Scripture. It was on whatever topic the priest (there were no deacons at that time) wanted to speak about. 

 

Referring to persons, who take different roles in the Mass, i.e., “servers, lectors,  commentators and members of the choir,” the document states that these folks are exercising genuine liturgical functions . . .  and . . . they ought . . . to discharge their office with the sincere piety and decorum demanded by so exalted a ministry.” It goes on: “they must all be deeply imbued with the spirit of the liturgy.” The section then speaks of active participation by the people of God: “the people should be encouraged to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalms and songs, as well as by actions, gestures, and bodily     attitudes.”  Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in church is singing? We surely have something to sing about.  We’ve come a long way since 1963, but we still have a long way to go.

 

At the meeting last night, we determined that, consistent with instruction from our Archbishop, when one comes up in the communion line and indicates a request for a blessing by crossing his or her arms across the chest, e.g. our children who have not yet made their First Communion or an adult who is not Catholic, the Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist will silently trace the sign of the cross on that person’s forehead. No words will be said by the Minister. The priest or deacon may say something like “the blessing of Christ” and the proper answer is “Amen.”  May God bless our efforts to celebrate the Eucharist in as worthy a manner as possible!