Anything "special" in your Mass because of Newtown Tragedy?


#1

I'm just curious. :)

I play for the Family Mass at our parish, which is almost all families with young children. So when I went to Mass on Sunday morning, I knew that it would be hard. My children are grown up, but all weekend long, just seeing little ones would make me feel very emotional because I kept remembering the 20 children who were murdered in Newtown. In fact, I went to a McD's on Sat morning for a quick breakfast, and saw a mom with two little girls, and I just about lost it.

It seemed like all weekend long, everywhere I went, there was more tolerance of children--less scolding, less angry looks, and more hugs.

Anyway, at the Family Mass, when it came time for the homily, Father sent the little ones out of the room with the lady who is in charge of family Mass (she is a hired staff member of the parish, not just a volunteer), and told them that they would hear a special Bible story just for them.

This never happens at our parish. There is no "Children's Homily" in any of our Masses. The whole point of the Family Mass to give parents the opportunity to train their children and prepare them for the regular Masses, and so the homilies are always geared towards the children (they come up to the front and sit on a rug).

So I knew that Father was going to talk about the tragedy. And he did. He gave a wonderful homily that lasted almost a half hour, talking about some of the hard issues like "How could God let this happen?" and "What is the Christian response to tragedies like this?"

For the most part, there wasn't a sound in the room. At least three hundred adults were in attendance. A few of them kept their children with them. Father didn't say anything graphic or frightening. It was mainly a theology lesson from Thomas Aquinas and from the Bible, and it was very reassuring and comforting.

There were also prayers for the children during the "Prayers of the Faithful," but nothing prolonged or graphic.

Father did not specifically mention gun control (our parish tends to be extremely conservative politically, although there are liberal factions), but he did admonish us to contact our representatives and senators and let them know that something must be done to keep children safe.

So did your parish do anything special during the Mass or otherwise?


#2

Our priest did mention it briefly at the start of the homily, but did not dwell on it specifically because there were children in the congregation. It is good that your parish was able to coordinate taking the children out so that your priest could speak specifically about it. Our priest gave a wonderful homily of God's love (Gaudete Sunday) and how sacramental reconcilliation brings us back to God's love. It was a wonderful homily.

It was also mentioned in the prayers of the faithful.


#3

At the end of the petitions, our priest asked us to take a few moments to pray silently for the victims and their families. It was simple and beautiful, and there were a great many people wiping away tears when it was done.


#4

Our priest replaced the normal intentions of the Mass with the new intention of praying for the victims of the shooting. He also discussed it at length in his homily. My 2 year old son was too young to understand any of it, but I felt uncomfortable for the parents of the slightly older children who were in attendance. He was somewhat graphic in his description of the massacre. I really feel that children should be shielded from this.


#5

Same here, and he asked us to keep them in our prayers throughout the Holiday season and beyond.


#6

My parish has three churches (for those who don't already know that :tiphat:); one has the anticipated Mass at 6pm, another at 6:30pm. I was sacristan for the 6pm. The Husband went to the 6:30pm in order to record my pastor's homily for me since I could not be there myself to listen to it. Nothing was said at the Mass I served at, but The Husband said the one he attended included a mention. However, I'm not sure if this was during the General Intercessions or if Fr. B offered the Mass for the victims and their families. He has been known to do things like that spontaneously—he offered at least two Masses for those affected by Sandy.

The following day I was sacristan for the 10:30am Mass at the same church I was in the previous evening, and once again nothing was said about Newtown but this surprised me much less than the omission the previous evening because our parish's three Sunday Masses were family Masses. I can see how it might seem inappropriate to mention an extremely violent event that happened in another country (and has thus not received the extent of media coverage here as it rightfully has in the US) to a congregation made up largely of families with young children.


#7

At our Family Mass, the Priest said a few words - we believe that these children are in heaven and we need to pray for their families. Then he went on to the regular homily about the day's Gospel.
At the Prayer of the Faithful, one of the intentions was the 'Children of Newtown'


#8

They tolled the bells 26 times for the victims just before the final blessing.

God Bless


#9

After Divine Liturgy, we prayed a panakhida, which is a Byzantine prayer service/memorial for the dead, as well as having intentions inserted into the litanies for the victims and their families.


#10

[quote="bilop, post:8, topic:308597"]
They tolled the bells 26 times for the victims just before the final blessing.

God Bless

[/quote]

That's absolutely beautiful. Tolling bells in memorial creates such a profound internal feeling for me. I wish our church (modern style) had bells. :(

Our priest spoke briefly on the tragedy in his homily and added prayers to the victims in the general intercessions.


#11

A violet vestment was worn instead of the traditional option of rose color vestment on Gaudete Sunday.


#12

[quote="bilop, post:8, topic:308597"]
They tolled the bells 26 times for the victims just before the final blessing.

God Bless

[/quote]

Mine did something similar.

Newtown was mentioned in the homily and was included in the intercessions. But the biggest thing was after the homily they had a gong that they rang 27 times for all the victims. Hearing that sound over and over was heart wrenching. I saw people crying (including myself) and parents hugging their children. There was also a book of prayers and condolence that people could sign after Mass. It will be sent to St. Rose of Lima parish in Newtown.


#13

we have an assistant priest that is a Franciscan...lets just say....um, we got stuff about goth (which I know has evil elements from what I know about it and supposedly the shooter was involved in it? and how the internet is evil. He did tell us about the pastor of the Church in newtown and how he was dealing with the tragedy and about the pagaent they had before Mass and how one of the victims was going to be an Angel. However, I don't recall anything about how it wasn't God's Plan for this to happen or anything like that....really wish my Pastor had given the Homily...it was Gaudete Sunday after all.


#14

Our deacon made reference to the event in his homily about how we are to be a joyful (it was Gaudete Sundayl) people. And I believe priest made a few indirect comments.

I have a feeling there was supposed to be something about it in the Mass intentions (but wasn't) because there was no intention where we prayed for those who have died. And when the celebrant began reading the final prayer after the petitions, the music/liturgy director, his wife, and some of the instrumentalists were all looking back and forth at each other as if something important hadn't gone as planned.

Sunday was a cold (for southern California) drizzly day and before and after Mass many people were wearing dark colored coats to stay warm. But lots of people, both men and women, had worn their pink/rose colored blouses, shirts, scarves, etc. that you could see peeking out from the darker coats. So there truly was this sense of greater than usual somberness but with hopeful joy peaking through.


#15

Our Monsignor did a beautiful homily which tied in both Hurricane Sandy and the tragedy in Newtown to the darkness of Advent before the light of Christ. It was very pastoral and on point. We have a children's liturgy already at 9 AM Mass so they were not there for the homily. So unspeakably tragic.


#16

After the events on Friday, Father scratched his prepared homily and prepared another, addressing the tragedy and answering questions such as, "Why would God allow this to happen?". He talked about original sin and the battle for our souls. He tied his homily in with the Year of Faith, reminding us what we as Catholics believe.


#17

We said a litany of special prayers and then Father spoke beautifully about the victims during his homily. This was 7:30 AM mass, so I'm not sure if the same rubric was used at the 9:30 Family Mass where more children are present. We are fortunate to have 4 priests assigned to our Jesuit parish, so most likely each mass was different.


#18

Our transitional Deacon did his homily on the tragedy (first one I think I have ever seen him give - what a way to start) and tied it to the readings; in addition they were included in our petitions.

Have to stop - makes me teary eyed just to type.


#19

Yes, the Deacon talked about it in the homily. He talked about how we have faced great setbacks as Catholics lately, with events such as these (and the recent election), but that they have all caused us to come together more strongly than ever. He talked about how young people are renewing the church and filling up the seminaries and faithful religious orders. He talked about how evil exists because of free will, and that without free will, there would be no love, because it wouldn't be love if it's not freely chosen.

I hope that all makes sense. It was a really good homily and he related the tragedy into all of it better than I can relay here.

At the end of the homily we all knelt as the Deacon led a prayer for the tragedy and all involved, concluding with a Hail Mary.

And of course, all victims were included in the prayers of the faithful.


#20

That’s wonderful.


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