Last Rites – Pet Peeve #4

Last Rites – Pet Peeve #4

I just got off the phone with a class mate that is now part time chaplain in a secular hospital, being paid by the Archdiocese to be there.  (In my last blog he is the person to my left) Worlds apart, he is nearer the Great Lakes than any other body of water and is now belongs to a religious order.  I’m here.  We share a frustration with the misnomer of last rites.  Since we know not the hour, any sacrament we receive, could be our last rite.  People ask for last rites when they really want Anointing of the Sick.

There are Last Rites in the Church and they are called Viaticum, or food for the Journey.  (or something very close to that) Any Eucharistic Minister whether extraordinary or ordinary can administer Viaticum.

Why does this bother us?  A few reasons.  The Church has never taught to wait till the person was a close as possible to death.  The official teaching has always been to not wait, as you don’t want to miss judge the time of death.  In the old days, however, it wasn’t that bad because there was always a priest that could get to the hospital.  A week doesn’t pass that one of the priests here is running out to anoint because people thought it was the last rites.  In today’s world, when you wait till the last minute, the priest usually has to cancel and appointment or be late to another sacrament to make this work.  Even worse you may not find a priest.

There is no reason to wait!

I anointed a 98 year old a few weeks ago.  He was worried that it wasn’t time.  I promised him that I would be back and happy to anoint him at any time as he faced his final challenge.  His wife of 70 plus years revived the sacrament too.  A truly graced moment.  A rushed anointing in an ICU or ER is just that, rushed.   Anointing of the Sick usually brings much comfort, especially when the one to be anointed can still participate fully in the sacrament.  Please don’t wait, the grace of this sacrament is important, especially at the end stages of life.

Please share this far and wide. Especially with your family and friends that are not actively practicing their faith.  We want this to be a graced moment!  Let’s avoid this becoming something we get done to fill in a check box.  The worst is when people try and leave because they are meeting request of loved one that is dying.

For surgery stop after Mass and ask your priest.  I think most of us love celebrating this sacrament in the church with others to help pray.  Or make an appointment to make sure you receive the sacrament before your surgery.

Let’s use this sacrament to help others back to the faith!

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”

I don’t think it is wrong or is a sin, but I’m afraid of hell!

Afraid of Hell

I was told this by a young person after asking, why do you think “x” is a sin.  The full answer was “I don’t think it is a sin, but I’m afraid of hell and am ‘hedging’ my bets.”  This betrays a belief that God can be “played” or that God really doesn’t know what is in our hearts.  More importantly, it points to what in my opinion and that of a few priest friends is an abuse of the sacrament of Reconciliation.  No wonder our protestant brothers and sisters have serious questions about that sacrament.

Continue reading “I don’t think it is wrong or is a sin, but I’m afraid of hell!”

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”

Do we listen to the Prayers at Mass?


I am starting to really like the presidential prayers in the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal.  I think there might be many writings on this topic.  Although I was originally among those that maligned the new translation, especially in he presidential prayers, I have come to find deep meaning in them.

The 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time we get:

Continue reading “Do we listen to the Prayers at Mass?”