REJOICE! Gaudete! 3rd Sunday of Advent, Be Thankful!

REJOICE! Gaudete! 3rd Sunday of Advent, Be Thankful!

Priests should wear pink and the reading remind us of many of the same things as the previous weeks with one very important difference.  Gaudete translates to rejoice and we need to remember to rejoice in all things, but Paul gives us another insight.   At  reading from Thessalonians calls us to be thankful in all circumstances.  Can we even be thankful in all things?

How many times to we ride an elevator, drive between point A and B, order food all without trouble.  I have no idea as a pastor, how many times the elevators at St. Pius X go up and down, but I do know that as soon as one of them is out, my phone starts going off.  Are we thankful for the days without traffic, or for the elevators that show up as expected or food orders that are correct?  Most of us just move on, but when anything goes wrong we remember it, we seem more inclined to react when things don’t go well.  What if we look at things more substantial.  Our heart beats over 100,000 times in 24 hours, do we give thanks for that?  We breath over 30,000 times a day, do we give thanks for that?  Yet if one of those two stop, we stop!

Paul calls us to be thankful in all things.  I had a friend in the seminary who returned one fall with a camel with a 24 on it.  When asked he would tell you that if a camel can go 24 days with out water, he could go 24 hours w/o a drink.  He would tell people he was a grateful recovering alcoholic.  That struck me as very wrong when he first said it.  But he would explain all he had learned through recovery that he wouldn’t have learned otherwise and he was grateful.

Are we thankful in all circumstances?  Most of us have to answer that with a no.  We are not thankful for tests of our faith and the challenges in life, but we should be.  Paul is telling us that we need to be.   So how do we do that?

I think there are three ways we have to approach this:

In our thoughts.  Our thinking determines much of who and what we are.  A high producing REALTOR that I know, would walk neighborhoods and get multiple listings in an hour.  She believed people wanted and needed her to sell their house, her attitude/thinking made her much more productive than almost any other agent.

Do we start our days alive, excited and full of energy?  Are we the Good morning God type, or the good God morning person?  Our thinking rules the day!

Socially is important too.  Those we hang out with change us and in some ways control our thinking.  How was Pooh so happy with Eeyore around?  Those around us can bring us up or down.  We need to be around those that we are either bringing to the faith or those helping us in our faith.  We need to be around those excited for each day!

Finally, Spiritually.  In the old days we would ask if people used God as a Dictionary or just when needed.  Today we could say use God like Google, only going there when we were in need.  When we are sick, are we thankful?  Are we thankful when things go wrong for the opportunity to learn and excel?  Do we see God in all things and all people?

Days left this Advent!

Can we use this last week to work on the above?  I don’t think we have a choice.  Our God entered the world as humbly as conceivable so that we might believe.  We now need to prepare this Advent so that on Christmas we can have that experience of the Word Incarnate that will deepen our faith and deepen our desire to be the presence of that Word to all we encounter, both in good times and in tough times.

As Paul tells us, we have to be Thankful in all circumstances!

Simply One Word, Amen, Not I Believe or ANYTHING else!

Simply One Word, Amen,

Not I Believe or ANYTHING else!

Distributing Communion, Just AMEN.

This is part of another Blog, but I feel that it needs to be repeated.  I have preached on it, taught about it and still feel that we are a long way from people getting it!  When receiving communion and you hear, the simple phrases “The Body of Christ” and “The Blood of Christ”  there is only one possible response, AMEN.  Period, end of story, I should stop writing.  That is it, just AMEN.

First issue.  We are a universal Church.  Catholic means universal.  There are two words that are almost the same in all languages, AMEN and ALLELUIA.  I have not been able to confirm, but in all the places I have been it has been amen, not always spelled like that and I found a list of 80 languages with the sound being amen, just the writing was different.

Second issue.  Amen from the original texts is more accurately translated, “so be it”.  It is more a statement of faith with many other nuances that trite phrases like “I believe” just don’t have.

Finally, if the whole, or even most of the church is uttering the same thing, who are we to change it.  We are attesting with those present, those at neighboring parishes and those around the world that we are one Church.  With our amen we affirm our communion of faith and purpose with the entire Church.  We have come together at Eucharist as one universal Body of Christ all using the same affirmation, AMEN.

I believe…

When receiving communion we only say Amen.  No more Thanks yous, thanks, I believe, Jesus is my Lord and Savor or anything that doesn’t sound like AMEN.  As our sending forth song proclaimed tonight, “let the people say AMEN!  (and nothing else when receiving communion)

Standing vs Kneeling after Receiving Communion

Standing vs Kneeling after Receiving Communion

I was assigned to my current parish July 1st last year.  Before I even arrived the previous pastor handed me their pastoral priorities.  The Archdiocese had all parishes do that, and St. Pius X took that very seriously.  The main points were 3 pages long and with all the clarifications was much longer.  What does this have to do with Standing vs Kneeling after Receiving Communion?  Let me tell you….

Two if the items presented to me were to increase reverence during Mass and music.  At a conference two presenters talked about remaining standing after receiving communion and the great impact it had on the assembly.  I talked to many people and we decided to give it a try.  After mass, there was a very positive response and I think a total of 4 people against.  I liked the prayerful sense I felt during communion this weekend.

The whole time I have said that we are trying this for a few months to see if it fits this community.  I was surprised that this morning there were a few emails and letters of people wanting to leave the parish if we keep doing this.  Then I find on Facebook that a parishioner quoting a priest saying that what we are doing isn’t Catholic.  I just don’t get how easy it is for people to manufacture truth online.  Part of me longs for simpler days, but then I lose this forum and I realize it is just part of life today!

That said, here are the directions from the GIRM (General Instruction on the Roman Missal or the instruction book for our liturgies), if you click here, it will take to to link I got this from on the USCCB website.

From the GIRM:

43. The faithful should stand from the beginning of the Entrance Chant, or while the Priest approaches the altar, until the end of the Collect; for the Alleluia Chant before the Gospel; while the Gospel itself is proclaimed; during the Profession of Faith and the Universal Prayer; and from the invitation, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren), before the Prayer over the Offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated here below.

The faithful should sit, on the other hand, during the readings before the Gospel and the Responsorial Psalm and for the Homily and during the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory; and, if appropriate, they may sit or kneel during the period of sacred silence after Communion.

In the Dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by ill health, or for reasons of lack of space, of the large number of people present, or for another reasonable cause. However, those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the Priest genuflects after the Consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.[53]

For the sake of uniformity in gestures and bodily postures during one and the same celebration, the faithful should follow the instructions which the Deacon, a lay minister, or the Priest gives, according to what is laid down in the Missal.

Note:  Communion isn’t over till the prayer after communion where we now are all all seated together and I guess if people wanted to kneel they could.

In Short:

The time after we receive communion isn’t really private prayer time.  It is communal.  We are to be signing and praying together.  I hope we can give this enough time to see if this works for us.

What does your Church do?

Daily Mass – Why isn’t it full?

Daily Mass – Why isn’t it full?

First, lets take out the obvious, the priest.  To answer to Daily Mass – Why isn’t it full, we need to look deeper.  We need to think about why we do go to

Many reasons motivate people to go to church and to Mass.  There is the basic, they feel they have to go or it will be a sin.  See the post of sin for more info on that.  Again, I think it is deeper.   We have people that do go to daily mass and even they go for different reasons.  Some leave and have no idea what the homily was or what the readings were, they just either wanted quiet time or time with their God.

The fact the a large percentage of Catholics don’t believe in the “real presence” they way the Church teaches, is part of the issue.  The other is that a Georgetown study shows that only 23% of adult Catholics report going to mass on weekends.   So what do we do?

I think we start with those going to mass daily or as I like to say the choir.  If those that go daily start to invite friends we can grow daily Mass and that added grace and intentionally praying for those that lack belief will start to make an impact.  We preach more about what we believe and work those beliefs in as much as we can.

So why don’t people go?  For the most part because they don’t see a reason to go.  Most go to avoid a pain, either from family or from God.  We need to change the mindset to people looking for times that they can get to mass

The Plan:

We start small.  Each of us pray for those needing conversion, then we ask them to join us on weekends.  We make sure that once they are there we are prepared for them.  We have good homilies and music and we welcome them.

I know that if people realize the gift we have in the Eucharist, the priest and the music will not matter, but for now, they do!

Go forth and invite.

The Mass Part III

The Gifts

The Mass Part III is obviously the 3rd in a series of posts taking much of the information from a teaching mass and putting into written form.  You can click these links to see Part I and Part II.  I think the Mass Part III delves into a part of the Mass that we frequently buzz through and miss the importance of it.Universal Prayer of Church

After the homily we end up at the Profession of faith. Continue reading “The Mass Part III”

Receiving communion Pet Peeves #3

One of the reasons that I don’t doubt the study that says over half of Catholics don’t believe in Eucharist and real presence like the Church teaches is how we receive communion.  Every-time I think that I have seen it all, something new presents itself.  Most recently at a funeral a gentleman wanted me to give him a host to bring to one of the family members.  When I quietly told him I had already served him, the gentleman responded, by moving toward a mourner and pointing saying, I think he needs more.  Or at VBS the young person approaches and is clueless and I bless them and the stay and put hands out and I ask, “have you received your first communion?”  The answer was, I have gotten it before.  Ugh. Continue reading “Receiving communion Pet Peeves #3”

The Mass Part 1

From questions I receive almost daily, I know that the Church has done a poor job educating the faithful about Eucharist and Liturgy.  This series will focus primarily on the Mass.


This will be in 4 parts.  The first part being from the beginning to the Word.  That is this blog.   Next post will deal with the rest of the Liturgy of the Word.  This next section may just be the preparation of gifts, but may include the Eucharistic Prayer.  And of course the conclusion.  So depending on middle section it may be 4 or 5 posts.


When does Mass start? The music, the parking lot? The sign of the cross.  I  already have a blog on this, but in short, the person we are when the celebration starts matters, so Mass starts when we start preparing Continue reading “The Mass Part 1”

Facing East? REALLY?

Ad orientem, or facing away from the people.  When I first read facing East, I actually thought, “I already face East”… took a second for this image to appear in my mind

ad orientem
Facing East

Stunned and then figured I was dreaming.  I figured I would just have my people turn around and we would all be covered.  I already have a Mass in the extraordinary form, I didn’t need that for everyone else too! Continue reading “Facing East? REALLY?”

Do we really need the Presentation of the Gifts?


In an effort to save time or make things simpler and to make things easier for servers, I have heard people suggest we can skip the offertory procession or the presentation of the gifts.  This brings me back to that sad survey showing that less than half of all Catholics believe in the Church’s teaching on the Real Presence.  I hope this is in part because we have not done a good enough job teaching what we believe, and not a massive crisis of faith.

Continue reading “Do we really need the Presentation of the Gifts?”

How much of Mass can I miss for it to count

stainedglasschalicebreadHow much of Mass do I really need to attend to meet my Mass obligation?I love this question, not really.  It isn’t about what counts and what doesn’t count.  It is about trying to enter into a deeper relationship with our God.  And to ask “what counts”  I think of Sheldon on “Big Bang” and his relationship contracts.  I really don’t think it works that way and in fact much time is spent showing that we are in a covenant, not a contract with our God!

I frequently answer this question with, “Well, who was the only one to leave the Last Supper early”?  When they look at me I just leave it at that, and smile.  But this really is a much deeper question about our relationship with our community and God.

Continue reading “How much of Mass can I miss for it to count”