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  #1  
Old Jul 9, '09, 1:36 pm
stitchesbyjulie stitchesbyjulie is offline
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Default Why we do what we do.

I would like to see Catholic Priests give sermons on why we do what we do. I am a cradle Catholic and I didn't know the reason we do many of the things we do, i.e., before the gospel we cross our forehead, lips and heart, I just did it. When I was grown-up and teaching CCD, someone told me what that meant. Also the ringing of the bell....it's to "WAKE US UP", as the apostles had fallen asleep, sometimes we are nodding off or not paying attention. They might teach a class but many, many people never have time or just won't attend a class. What better time than to teach a "lesson" with the captive audience of mass-goers. Julie G.
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  #2  
Old Jul 9, '09, 2:33 pm
Al Masetti Al Masetti is offline
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Default Re: Why we do what we do.

I have asked priests this question A MILLION TIMES!!!!

The response I get is that they are required to preach, but not allowed to teach.

[What kind of %^&* is that?]

But, I have asked LOTS of priests this question. And generally I get the same response.

Sometimes at daily Mass, a priest will teach.

One priest even opened up his homily time for questions. We were all shocked. He said it was the same folks everyday, so he asked himself a few questions to warm everybody up.

When he said Mass, I even went to his Masses [near work] even on days off and I brought my wife with me and made it a "date".

Decades ago, during a week-long retreat, one priest actually said what I will call a "narrated Mass" ... meaning that throughout the Mass he would pause for a few seconds and step aside and describe exactly what he was doing and saying ... not in some difficult theological language ... but in plain English. It was a real Mass with a real Consecration ... not what one friend called a "dry mass" [no consecration].

It was amazing.

His name was Fr. Brennan and he passed away a few years ago. He was a Ligouri priest assigned to northern Thailand. Amazing guy. Gave a great retreat. The next time he gave a similar retreat, it was so over crowded that it was difficult to even get near the church building.

Catholics CRAVE this kind of hands-on teaching.

Fr. Ray Brennan ... a Redemptorist ... his photo is here in 1970 with orphans in Thailand.

http://www.redemptorists-denver.org/.../issues/23.pdf

[Scroll down to where it says Brazil & Nigeria]

Last edited by Al Masetti; Jul 9, '09 at 2:50 pm.
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  #3  
Old Jul 9, '09, 2:59 pm
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GodIsGracious GodIsGracious is offline
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Default Re: Why we do what we do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Masetti View Post
Catholics CRAVE this kind of hands-on teaching.
I know I did, and even do now. I wish I had had that kind of teaching as a kid. It'd probably have kept me in. But then again, what I have done in life has led me to this point.

I know there's a bible study coming up, I may join that - not sure.

But I'm more interested in why Catholics do what we do rather than simply reading it from a book we buy.
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  #4  
Old Jul 9, '09, 5:54 pm
diggerdomer diggerdomer is offline
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Default Re: Why we do what we do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stitchesbyjulie View Post
I would like to see Catholic Priests give sermons on why we do what we do. I am a cradle Catholic and I didn't know the reason we do many of the things we do, i.e., before the gospel we cross our forehead, lips and heart, I just did it. When I was grown-up and teaching CCD, someone told me what that meant. Also the ringing of the bell....it's to "WAKE US UP", as the apostles had fallen asleep, sometimes we are nodding off or not paying attention. They might teach a class but many, many people never have time or just won't attend a class. What better time than to teach a "lesson" with the captive audience of mass-goers. Julie G.
Your desires are really important I think. But the answer is not preaching/homily, the answer is adult education at the parish, apart from the liturgy.
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  #5  
Old Jul 9, '09, 6:00 pm
Sancto Spiritu Sancto Spiritu is offline
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Default Re: Why we do what we do.

Parish workshops and articles in the parish bulletin are appropriate for this purpose. Addressing maybe one issue each homily is important - but the issue addressed should probably relate to the readings for the day, not just a random topic.
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Old Jul 9, '09, 6:35 pm
FastLearner FastLearner is offline
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Default Re: Why we do what we do.

Quote:
Also the ringing of the bell....it's to "WAKE US UP", as the apostles had fallen asleep, sometimes we are nodding off or not paying attention.
I thought the purpose of the chime was to alert those in the church that consecration was taking place (back when the Mass was in Latin and before microphones). I know it fell out of use in many parishes after they implemented microphones following VII.
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Old Jul 9, '09, 6:46 pm
japhy japhy is offline
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Default Re: Why we do what we do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stitchesbyjulie View Post
I would like to see Catholic Priests give sermons on why we do what we do.... What better time than to teach a "lesson" with the captive audience of mass-goers.
Would you read an accessible book? (See my signature.)

I agree that priests should give liturgical catechesis at Mass via homilies, but too many priests feel that they are restricted to giving homilies only on the Scripture readings from that day (which is an incorrect assumption). Since there will be a new translation of the Mass in about a year and a half, priests should prepare for a real liturgical catechesis of their flocks.

Update: Here are some posts on the forum where I give little excerpts from the book:
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Last edited by japhy; Jul 9, '09 at 7:01 pm.
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  #8  
Old Jul 9, '09, 8:16 pm
PacoG PacoG is offline
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Default Re: Why we do what we do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stitchesbyjulie View Post
I would like to see Catholic Priests give sermons on why we do what we do. I am a cradle Catholic and I didn't know the reason we do many of the things we do, i.e., before the gospel we cross our forehead, lips and heart, I just did it. When I was grown-up and teaching CCD, someone told me what that meant. Also the ringing of the bell....it's to "WAKE US UP", as the apostles had fallen asleep, sometimes we are nodding off or not paying attention. They might teach a class but many, many people never have time or just won't attend a class. What better time than to teach a "lesson" with the captive audience of mass-goers. Julie G.
Have you thought that this might be the Holy Spirit whispering in your ear, suggesting that you should take up work about educating other parishioners about their faith traditions? Why not ask your priest if you can write a short column for the bulletin in these traditions. One week you write about the vestments; the following week about why we sign ourselves before the gospel, and so forth.

This is an apostlate that is waiting to be taken up.
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  #9  
Old Jul 10, '09, 8:42 am
Sr Sally Sr Sally is offline
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Default Re: Why we do what we do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PacoG View Post
Have you thought that this might be the Holy Spirit whispering in your ear, suggesting that you should take up work about educating other parishioners about their faith traditions? Why not ask your priest if you can write a short column for the bulletin in these traditions. One week you write about the vestments; the following week about why we sign ourselves before the gospel, and so forth.

This is an apostlate that is waiting to be taken up.
I agree. This could be very helpful for many. The homilies are meant to 'break open' the Word for us as Christ did for the apostles on the road to Emmaus. If an explanation of a tradition or Mass response (like the signing of the forehead, lips, and heart) fits in with that, then good. But I really like the idea of a bulletin 'blurb' explaining a custom every week or month. We had a series running in our bulletin about the location and purpose of certain things in the church--including our statue of Mary.
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  #10  
Old Jul 10, '09, 9:41 am
kage_ar kage_ar is offline
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Default Re: Why we do what we do.

A 10 minute homily is not really adequate for deep Catechesis.

That comes in all those classes that your Parish offers (CCD, RE, Adult Ed, RCIA - yes, Catholics can go to RCIA to learn about the Faith they practice).
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  #11  
Old Jul 10, '09, 10:44 am
stitchesbyjulie stitchesbyjulie is offline
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Default Re: Why we do what we do.

I am new at this and not really sure how to separate sections and address them individually, but I will try to remember some of the comments and reply. A little background: I was 1 of 9 children, went to Catholic school for 8 yrs. with financial assistance since we struggled. I'm sure we learned some of this stuff in religion class but it didn't stick. More was taught about right and wrong choices, all important. But I want to know the reason we do these simple gestures, and actions at certain times of the mass. My son dated a Baptist and she had lots of questions, he tried to answer them and found he didn't know why or how to explain it so he studied apologetics and not only answered her questions but I learned a few things as well. He did approach our priest and suggest a column in the bulletin but was turned down saying that wasn't something our parish really needed, and we have a wonderful priest that we all love. My son was ready to go and he was 20 at the time, he is very smart and retains what he reads, unlike me! He studied the best, Scott Hahn, James Akin,etc, and watched Marcus Grodi on EWTN, debated on line with non-Catholics...my point is he was fired up to teach.

My comment on the bell ringing was generalized. Yes, it is to get our attention as the bread and wine is turned into the "Body & Blood" of Christ, and to "wake us up". My connection to the apostles falling asleep the night of the betrayal, was that until Christ actually GAVE UP his body and blood for us, what He started on Holy Thursday at the Last supper was not completed until His death. Are we alert, are we paying attention, are we awake? If you've ever noticed, when the bell rings, usually it's the 'little ones' who look up, it gets their attention and they usually comment or ask 'what's that'.

I really like the idea of the priest stepping aside and explaining things. It doesn't have to happen all the time, the homily can still be done. In fact, how about they just start at the beginning and pick one thing each Sunday, and work through the mass, and follow up with it in the bulletin with each explanation. Some people might miss mass for whatever reason, but then if they can see it the next Sunday in the bulletin, they'd get caught up, and the Homily can still be done as the priest would like to.

As I learned these things, it meant more to me when I did them, and I really started to think about what I was doing and what it signified. Now when I cross my forehead, lips and heart before the gospel, I say "Be on my mind, on my lips and on my heart".

One other small thing that I learned and I hope I'm right on this, when I was young we used to make the sign of the cross and then kiss our thumb. I stopped doing that long ago, until I moved to south Texas and saw a lot of people doing that and then I remembered, "hey, I used to do that", and wonder what that was all about. My son told me that in the "old days", when Catholics were being killed and not allowed to practice their faith in Europe, they would meet secretly to hold mass, and since they couldn't show any signs of being Catholic or have Catholic items, i.e. crosses, they crossed their thumb over their index finger and made a cross that way, and kissed the cross. That made it so meaningful to me and I do it now to honor those Catholics who put their lives on the line to carry on our faith. We are so lucky to be able to live our faith "in public".

Something that I think I need to pass on is that I am named after the great Saint Juliana, who founded the feast of "The Body & Blood of Christ", celebrated in June...and you may not be able to handle this, but I LIVE in Corpus Christi....which means "The Body & Blood of Christ"! What a blessing. I have lived here for over 20 yrs. and just realized this.

Take care all and May God Bless you and be with you this day, through your difficulties & your joys.
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  #12  
Old Jul 10, '09, 11:49 am
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puppypatrol puppypatrol is offline
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Default Re: Why we do what we do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stitchesbyjulie View Post
I would like to see Catholic Priests give sermons on why we do what we do. I am a cradle Catholic and I didn't know the reason we do many of the things we do, i.e., before the gospel we cross our forehead, lips and heart, I just did it. When I was grown-up and teaching CCD, someone told me what that meant. Also the ringing of the bell....it's to "WAKE US UP", as the apostles had fallen asleep, sometimes we are nodding off or not paying attention. They might teach a class but many, many people never have time or just won't attend a class. What better time than to teach a "lesson" with the captive audience of mass-goers. Julie G.
I asked my pastor, Fr. Steve McLoud of St. Columbkille in Churdan, IA, this question and he said that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal indicates that a homily is an integral part of the Mass which should develop some point of the scriptural reading or Proper of the Mass for that day. However, that is not to say that it cannot also be used as a moment of catechesis or apologetics (which he has done on several occasions).
For example, on the Feast of St. Thomas, Fr. McLoud reminded us in his homily that sometimes we may have a hard time seeing the presence of God in many of the events of our everyday lives, but in our search for Him we draw strength and gain faith in Christ. Then he said that through St. Thomas, Jesus showed us that we can trust in His promises. That is why, during the consecration when the priest elevates the host and then the chalice, we that same prayer of St. Thomas and say: “My Lord and my God.” Many of us had been taught to say this, but we may not have known why. And so Father was able to preach on the readings and teach us something at the same time.
I consider myself and my parish blessed to have such a priest. There are many times when, questions on this forum bring other questions to mind and I always feel I can go to him and ask him for direction or clarification. I'm lucky I don't have to drive him crazy trying to get him to catechise our parish since he already does in many ways. In the 9 years he has been here, there have been many times, especially during Lent, he will have special gatherings during the week for "Catholic Questions, Catholic Answers" and once gave a presentation on "The Rapture--The Catholic View". Many who want to learn attend, those who don't simply missed out on a wonderful learning and faith building event.
Drive your pastor's crazy with questions and requests for them to hold special classes. Then, when you have attended these learning opportunities, tell your friends how wonderful they are and you will find that more and more people will show interest. It is not just the priest's job to catechise and evangelize. We, by our baptism into our own priesthood, have to take responsibility for the building up of our fellow Catholics, strengthening their faith and increasing their knowledge, as well as correct any misconceptions or misunderstanding.
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  #13  
Old Jul 11, '09, 10:03 pm
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Default Re: Why we do what we do.

In our bulletin each week we have 2 interesting articles. One is written by our parochial vicar and is a response to questions from parishoners. It might be a question on doctrine, or practice, or a "why do we do this?' sort of thing. This past week it was on the topic of Limbo. He titles the article "Catholic Questions".

The other article is a copyrighted one from J.S. Paluch Co. and is written by a priest, Rev. James Fields, and is titled "Treasures From our Tradition" and explains various Catholic traditions.

People in our parish really like reading both of these every week. They are interesting and informative, and a good way to communicate, because people usually do read their bulletins.
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Old Jul 12, '09, 5:24 am
Leonius Leonius is offline
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Default Re: Why we do what we do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stitchesbyjulie View Post
I would like to see Catholic Priests give sermons on why we do what we do. I am a cradle Catholic and I didn't know the reason we do many of the things we do, i.e., before the gospel we cross our forehead, lips and heart, I just did it. When I was grown-up and teaching CCD, someone told me what that meant. Also the ringing of the bell....it's to "WAKE US UP", as the apostles had fallen asleep, sometimes we are nodding off or not paying attention. They might teach a class but many, many people never have time or just won't attend a class. What better time than to teach a "lesson" with the captive audience of mass-goers. Julie G.
Mass is not the time for catechism, it is the time for worship.

Likewise a sermon is not meant to be a lecture, they are two different distinct forms of oratory, or at least are meant to be.

You should have been taught these things as a child by your parents, and if they are still alive you can ask them as an adult to, they are your primary guides in the Faith.

It is OUR responsibility once we become adults and it is up to us to MAKE time and to ATTEND the classes if they are available and we think they would be helpful to us.

There are also many many books available on everything Catholic, or you can just ask your priest when you socialise with him OUTSIDE of Mass, but at Mass concentrate on worshipping God as that is what you are there for.

Last edited by Leonius; Jul 12, '09 at 5:35 am.
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Old Jul 12, '09, 6:38 am
japhy japhy is offline
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Default Re: Why we do what we do.

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Mass is not the time for catechism, it is the time for worship.
And yet:
The Council of Trent already recognized the great catechetical value contained in the celebration of Mass but was unable to bring out all its consequences in regard to actual practice. In fact, many were pressing for permission to use the vernacular in celebrating the eucharistic Sacrifice; but the Council, weighing the conditions of that age, considered it a duty to answer this request with a reaffirmation of the Church's traditional teaching, according to which the Eucharistic Sacrifice is, first and foremost, the action of Christ himself, and therefore its proper efficacy is unaffected by the manner in which the faithful take part in it. The Council for this reason stated in firm but measured words, "Although the Mass contains much instruction for people of faith, nevertheless it did not seem expedient to the Fathers that it be celebrated everywhere in the vernacular."(GIRM 11)
This is quoting the Council of Trent, Session 22, Chapter VIII:
Though the mass contains much instruction for the faithful, it has, nevertheless, not been deemed advisable by the Fathers that it should be celebrated everywhere in the vernacular tongue. Wherefore, the ancient rite of each Church, approved by the holy Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all churches, being everywhere retained, that the sheep of Christ may not suffer hunger, or the little ones ask for bread and there is none to break it unto them, the holy council commands pastors and all who have the cura animarum that they, either themselves or through others, explain frequently during the celebration of the mass some of the things read during the mass, and that among other things they explain some mystery of this most holy sacrifice, especially on Sundays and festival days.
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