"To admire the icons and the great masterpieces of Christian art in general, leads us on an inner way, a way of overcoming ourselves; thus in this purification of vision that is a purification of the heart, it reveals the beautiful to us, or at least a ray of it. In this way we are brought in to contact with the power of the truth. I have often affirmed my conviction that the true apology of Christian faith, the most convincing demonstration of its truth against every denial, are the saints, and the beauty that the faith has generated. Today, for faith to grow, we must lead ourselves and the persons we meet to encounter the saints and to enter into contact with the Beautiful."
Does a beautiful Church building matter to Christians? What about adornments like statues, altar rails, decorative pews and such? Stained glass… Stations of the Cross… the placement and design of the Tabernacle… If God is everywhere, especially in the humble and downtrodden, should beauty matter?
A recent article in the UK's Telegraph shares a statistic that should be of interest to Christians: "Around 13 per cent of teenagers said that they decided to become a Christian after a visit to a church or cathedral, according to the figures. The influence of a church building was more significant than attending a youth group, going to a wedding, or speaking to other Christians about their faith."READ MORE
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).READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.
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).READ MORE
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!READ MORE
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 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.”READ MORE