Catholics Venerate Relics: Here is Why (Part 2)

11-19-2017Liturgy CornerMary Rezac

Where did the Catholic tradition of venerating saints' relics come from?

Scripture teaches that God acts through relics, especially in terms of healing. In fact, when surveying what Scripture has to say about sacred relics, one is left with the idea that healing is what relics "do."

When the corpse of a man was touched to the bones of the prophet Elisha the man came back to life and rose to his feet (2 Kings 13:20-21).

A woman was healed of her hemorrhage simply by touching the hem of Jesus' cloak (Matthew 9:20-22). The signs and wonders worked by the Apostles were so great that people would line the streets with the sick so that when Peter walked by at least his shadow might 'touch' them (Acts 5:12-15).


Catholics Venerate Relics: Here is Why (Part 1)

11-12-2017Liturgy CornerMary Rezac

While we are one body in Christ, if you happen to be a Catholic saint, the many parts of your own body might be spread out all over the world. Take, for example, St. Catherine of Siena. A young and renowned third-order Dominican during the Middle Ages, she led an intense life of prayer and penance and is said to have single-handedly ended the Avignon exile of the successors of Peter in the 14th century.


Vatican II: Sacrosanctum Concilium (Part 2)

10-22-2017Liturgy Corner

120. In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church's ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man's mind to God and to higher things.


Vatican II: Sacrosanctum Concilium

10-15-2017Liturgy Corner

120. In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church's ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man's mind to God and to higher things.

What is sacred music?

A: Sacred music is “that which, being created for the celebration of divine worship, is endowed with a certain holysincerity of form,” according to the Sacred Congregation of Rites in its Instruction on Music and the Liturgy, Musicam Sacram (1967, ¶4). As defined by the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), sacred music surpasses merely religious music when it is joined to the liturgical rite to become “anecessary and integral part of the solemn liturgy,” whose purpose is “the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful” (¶112).


Communion Antiphons

10-08-2017Liturgy Corner

What have we been experiencing these last several weeks during Holy Massat the point of the reception of Communion? Well, if you attend Mondaythrough Saturday daily Mass, many of you bring a Magnificat or Daily Prayer type publication; and as Father is about to receive the Sacrament, healong with the congregation recite the biblical text in their missal listed as theCommunion Antiphon. We find these assigned texts in the Sacramentary andthe Roman Gradual. You have noticed at weekend Masses, we are singingwhat is much like a Responsorial Psalm during Communion. This short refrain is easy to sing – no need to carry a hymnal with you in procession!


Q: Why do we use six candles on the altar at Mass?

10-01-2017Liturgy Corner

A: In the Liturgy of the Extra-Ordinary Rite, (Mass before the Second Vatican Council) the number of candles signify the rank of the Mass or the person celebrating it. There are 7 when a Bishop is the main celebrant. Though only two candles are required in the Ordinary Rite (Mass of Pope Paul VI), it is an option for the celebrant to use more. In fact, Popes Benedict XVI and Francis have used the more traditional six candles with the crucifix in the center. Historically, candles have a long and detailed account. Originally, they were used for giving light. The first mention of candles in a Mass procession is in the 8th century. The "7" refers to the vision of St. John. The number of candles depended on the rank of the feast, 12 for Christmas and Epiphany and at Easter 12 and 10 behind the altar. In the middle ages, there were 9 used for feasts of the Angels and 12 for the apostle's feast days. After the 16th century we see legislation requiring 6, 4 or 2 candles depending on the rank of the feast. With seven for solemn pontifical Mass it's four on the right and three on the left of the altar. Though this is not the law of the church anymore, nevertheless it is a custom that has never been abrogated and therefore 2, 4, 6 and 7th with a bishop can still be used.

The instrument was used for centuries to preach a Gospel of beauty.

09-24-2017Liturgy Corner

The pipe organ has been a staple of Roman Catholic liturgy for centuries.While fewer and fewer people are able to play this ancient instrument, itsstrong association with Christian worship is undeniable.

The organ has its roots all the way back in the 3rd century BC, invented by a Greek engineer named Ctesibius of Alexandria. At first it was primarily used for secular events, but by the 10th century the instrumentwas introduced into churches. During the Middle Ages it spread throughoutEurope and was recognized as the “the most complex of all mechanicalinstruments developed before the Industrial Revolution.”


Praise in the Midst of Pain

08-27-2017Liturgy CornerBrother Anthony Van Berkum O.P.

"I pray the Divine Praises when I'm in pain."

I've been visiting hospital patients this summer, and I have had the privilege of hearing many beautiful expressions of faith. This one particularly struck me; it's such a jarring image. Praise is not my first reaction to pain, but as soon as I heard this I couldn't help but see that it could be, and perhaps even should be. We can combat the evil that afflicts us by praising the goodness of God right in the midst of its attack. Often when we are seriously in pain, a prayer recited hastily from memory is all that we can manage. And in that moment, such a prayer is enough. Now, though, we are at liberty to begin to reflect on this prayer more deeply. In so doing, we can prepare ourselves to confront pain by glorifying God's everlasting goodness. Blessed be God.


What is the Apostolic Pardon?

08-20-2017Liturgy Corner

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains exactly what the Apostolic Pardon is and the requirements to perform it.

"The anointing [of the sick] is ordinarily succeeded by the conferring of the Apostolic benediction, or 'last blessing,' as it is commonly called. To this blessing a plenary indulgence is attached, to be gained, however, only at the hour of death, i.e. it is given nunc pr o tunc. It is conferred in virtue of a special faculty granted to the bishops and by them delegated quite generally to their priests. The conditions requisite for gaining it are the invocation of the Holy Name of Jesus at least mentally, acts of resignation by which the dying person professes his willingness to accept all his sufferings in reparation for his sins and submits himself entirely to the will of God…. The words of St. Augustine are in point: 'However innocent your life may have been, no Christian ought to venture to die in any other state than that of the penitent.'"


The Tabernacle Veil

08-13-2017Liturgy CornerFather John Abberton

Why veil the Tabernacle? The immediate and short answer is because the tabernacle in desert had veils and because there was a veil shielding the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem Temple. The fact that this Temple veil was torn in two does not mean that we should abandon the use of veils and curtains. That would be simplistic, not to say childish, interpretation of that tremendous event.


The Veil, the Chalice and the Dignity of Man Like the Sacred Vessels at Mass, We Were Made to Receive Christ

08-06-2017Liturgy CornerFather Jerry Pokorsky

According to the liturgical legislation of the Church, the chalice used at Mass should be covered with aveil. The General Instruction for the Roman Missal [GIRM 80c] states, "The chalice should be coveredwith a veil, which may always be white" . Like most liturgical vestments, the chalice veil is a mysteriousgarment. We may be tempted to dismiss it as a kind of decoration. But the chalice and the veil not onlyhave a function during the celebration of Mass, they also remind us of a dignity that is too often veiled. A veil is used to cover the chalice when it is carried to and from the altar during the celebration ofMass. It is usually the same color as the vestments. As a liturgical vestment, it was probably introducedin the Middle Ages, and may have had a functional origin-perhaps developed from a sacculum or smallbag for carrying the sacred vessels.