Hello, Katrina. My question for you is about actively participating at Mass. Is it still considered "participating" if I can't fully concentrate on the readings or the homily? My two daughters are 3 and 8 months and I'm usually pretty distracted with making sure they don't get too loud and fussy and disturb others around us. Some Sundays I completely miss all the readings and even the homily. I wonder if I should just wait until they're older to come to Mass so that I can concentrate and actually participate. Is it considered participating at Mass if I am barely mentally present?
Yes, you're still participating in the Mass! In fact, I would even argue that some "participation" starts the minute you wake up and make the decision to attend Mass. I remember the level of determination and will it required just to get out of the house with a small child, never mind the sheer Olympic feat required to even find a moment to shower, dress, and pack a diaper bag.READ MORE
A fire department was dispatched recently after reports of heavy smoke in National City, California, not far from Catholic Answers headquarters. The first responders discovered that the smoke came from a local crematorium and contained human cremains. A furnace door had not been properly secured during a cremation, and the deceased’s remains ended up becoming pollution over the city.
Mishaps of this type are fortunately rare, but we often receive questions about how to respond to situations in which family members or friends treat the remains of deceased loved ones in ways not in keeping with the Church’s requirements for fit disposition of the human body. A few recent examples:
• A man wanted to know if he and his wife could keep their baby son’s cremains in their home until they relocated to another state at some future point.READ MORE
A Vatican department has issued a sweeping denunciation of so-called gender theory, and affirmed the principles of human dignity, difference, and complementarity.
“In all such [gender] theories, from the most moderate to the most radical, there is agreement that one’s gender ends up being viewed as more important than being of male or female sex,” the Congregation for Catholic Education wrote June 10, in a new document entitled “Male and Female He Created Them.”
“The effect of this move is chiefly to create a cultural and ideological revolution driven by relativism, and secondarily a juridical revolution, since such beliefs claim specific rights for the individual and across society.”READ MORE
According to the liturgical legislation of the Church, the chalice used at Mass should be covered with a veil. The General Instruction for the Roman Missal [GIRM 80c] states, "The chalice should be covered with a veil, which may always be white" . Like most liturgical vestments, the chalice veil is a mysterious garment. We may be tempted to dismiss it as a kind of decoration. But the chalice and the veil not only have 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 of Mass. It is usually the same color as the vestments. As a liturgical vestment, it was probably introduced in the Middle Ages, and may have had a functional origin-perhaps developed from a sacculum or small bag for carrying the sacred vessels.READ MORE
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 pro 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.’”READ MORE
As more priest scandals hit the headlines, the words of the creed at Mass can start to sound hollow: “I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.”
How can we look at a Catholic Church that has had such bad men in leadership positions and call it “holy”? The readings for this Sunday, the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B, explain how: The Church is holy in its origin, its purpose, its means and its fruits.
First, the Church is holy in its origin.READ MORE
The 1985 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops asserted “that the liturgy must favor the sense of the sacred and make it shine forth. It must be permeated by the spirit of reverence, adoration, and the glory of God.” To foster such a spirit, the Church has prescribed certain gestures and actions, especially toward the Blessed Sacrament.
The practice of genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament, whether enclosed in the tabernacle or exposed in a monstrance, is a beautiful sign of adoration. This physical act of genuflection symbolizes our heart bowing before the Lord who is substantially and really present in the Eucharist. St. Ambrose (d. 397) said, “The knee is made flexible by which the offense of the Lord is mitigated, wrath appeased, grace called forth,” and Alcuin (d. 804) later added, “By such a posture of the body we show forth our humbleness of heart.”READ MORE
OK. So, you receive regular spiritual direction, you frequent the sacraments, you fast and pray and spend time in adoration. You attend daily Mass, or at least more often than just Sunday Mass (and Holy Days of Obligation). You're not committing mortal sin. You confess your venial sins during regular confession. At times, you feel like what's the use? I'm not really a great sinner … anymore.
Why am I going through the motions?
Well, it's spiritually healthy to confess, without entering into scrupulosity, even small or venial sins. Why? Because the sacrament gives us graces which, if we cooperate with them, help us to grow in virtue and avoid sin. And, habitual small sins weaken our resolve. They keep us attached to the world and worldly things. They make us more vulnerable to mortal sin. They make it easier to say yes to bigger and/or more frequent venial sins until voila! We've fallen into mortal sin … once again.READ MORE
Today is World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Pope Francis reminds us, ” The Christian life needs to be nourished by attentive listening to God’s Word and above all, by the cultivation of a personal relationship with the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration, the privileged “place” for our encounter with God”. He also tells us to continue to pray that the Lord will send workers to His Harvest”. Let us all pray for an increase to the call of the priesthood.READ MORE