Seder meal

I am a cradle Catholic that walked away from the church during my adolesence, but later returned. As a child I remember my parish celebrating Seder meals on during several Lenten seasons. Now that my adult faith is forming and growing I am interested participating in a Seder meal again. I know my parish does not do one anymore, and I do know of any that do. Can I do a meal at my home? Does anyone have any suggestions? Would it be appropriate for me to encourage my parish to do one?


Just google seder meal and you will find many great resources. As far as doing it home, go for it - however, doing it alone is less than advisable because it is a ‘family’ or group activity.

Do try to get your parish do host one. I am on staff in the Faith Formation department of my parish and we helped put one on a few years ago. Actually we do one every year for our Confirmation class. The one we did a few years ago was a very traditional meal with food prepared by a chef. The one we do with the kids every year is more ‘educational’ and not as detailed.

It is no simple effort for a parish to organize a Seder, but if well-done, with an adequate number of volunteers, it is well worth it. We try to encourage families to bring their children, even the infants. We have several dozen parishioners participate every spring, but we always need more than just a few volunteers.

Meredith Gould’s book “Come to the Table: A Catholic Passover Seder for Holy Week” might be helpful to you.

Although Catholics are allowed to attend Jewish seders, our archdiocese discourages “seders” not hosted by Jews (as opposed to academic explanations of seder meals that include physical examples of the words, food and utensils used), for reasons of inter-religious respect. We would not want anyone running an approximation of the Mass. In the same sentiment, the archbishop discourages approximations of seder meals.

I think he’s right.

As for Jewish seders, it would be worthwhile to read the Haggadah to be used beforehand, to make certain that it isn’t in violation of our own faith. Otherwise, the most we could do would be to observe, not participate.

I knew I’d read that somewhere. The thought of a seder meal outside of Jewish ritual really makes me uncomfortable. As you say, we wouldn’t want the (insert denomination/Church of your choice) to have a ‘mock Mass’ just so they could ‘experience’ what our ritual is like.

My old parish held a Sedar meal every year during Holy Week and it was wonderful - well worth the effort.

I went to a Sedar meal this year with an elderly friend who is living in an Jewish assisted living facility and was very nice.

It’s a little different. During the Mass, you are bringing the physical aspect of God to the people (or however you describe transubstantion).

Our Seder is more of a learning experience and remembrance of God bringing us out of Egypt.

this is also the position of our former diocesen bishop, following some vocal complaints from Jewish neighbors of parishes that used to have large “seder” celebrations. I never heard of anyone here doing it, or commenting on it. I think more beneficial from a catechetical standpoint is a session on the elements of the Last Supper, perhaps before Holy Week. To my mind, if it is not in a Jewish home following their prescribed ritual as well as the proper foods, it is not a seder.

You should listen to this talk:

Seder Meals Violate the 1st Commandment

So how does that square with the Apostles who continued to observe the Sabbath and then gathered on Sunday to celebrate the resurrection.

I can accept this with regards to the ritual sacrifice of animals, since that ritual has passed away completely with the one incomparable Sacrifice of Our Lord, but attending a seder hosted by a Jew is a little different. There are seders that wouldn’t be appropriate, because the Haggadah used is in violation of Christianity: that is, if the ceremony says plainly that the Messiah has not yet come. So many Haggadahs have been written since, though, including by Jews* intending* to include Christians, that a Jewish seder that does not violate Christianity is possible, by leaving questions open upon which Christians and Jews do not agree.

Is that watering down Judaism? That is Judaism’s issue. We have to realize that Judaism does not have a well-defined deposit of faith such as we have. So while some Jews wouldn’t sit for a seder that doesn’t clear disavow Christianity and the possibility that Jesus is the hoped-for Messiah, while his point probably applies, then, to a seder that would be acceptable to most Orthodox Jews, that is not all seders.

Early Christians kept celebrating seder, separately from the Breaking of the Bread, for many years after the Mass was instituted. Just as it is not wrong for a Christian to be circumcised, it is not wrong, per se, for a Christian to attend a seder. It is only wrong under particular circumstances.

I think the way the speaker differentiates Biblical Judaism from modern Judaism in order to make his point is a stretch. The Temple that was destroyed was the *Second *Temple. Jews had been in diaspora and were without the Temple Sacrifice for a time before the coming of Christ and the building of the Second Temple. That didn’t mean that Judaism ceased when the Temple Sacrifice was taken from them, either the first time or the second. I think his understanding of modern Judaism is at cross-purposes with what the Magesterium teaches about modern Judaism, as well. He almost treats Jews as pagans. That creates more confusion than it cures, IMHO.

It is well for a Christian to read the Haggadah to be used before deciding to participate, though. It is desirable to thank God for the Exodus, and it is fine to join Jews in doing so. The line is crossed when any disavowal of Jesus as the one Savior sent by God is part of the seder. In that case, it is necessary to decline to participate.

I’d repeat, too, that this is a Jewish ritual. A group made up of Catholics alone, having the Mass, wouldn’t do it. Without a Jew to lead it, the meal would have no raison d’etre, for the common ground for which we praise God would have a far higher common denominator.

The Priest is quoting from St. Thomas, the Popes, Council of Trent and moral theology texts - I wouldn’t dismiss what he has to say.

I was under the impression that the Seder meal is the same as the Jewish Passover meal…I was also taught that the Eucharist is the Passover as transformed by Christ. then to celebrate the Seder is to celebrate a Passover not transformed. Why would you want to do that?

I’m not dismissing it, nor am I in favor of so-called Christian seder meals. I’m pointing out that the Haggadot available at the time of St. Thomas, the Council of Trent and most of the Popes aren’t the only ones a modern Jew is ever going to use. Because Jews do not have a single Magesterium imposing rubrics upon seders, the ritual and even the meaning it is given is not set in stone. The question has more subtlety to it than the priest implies, and perhaps, unless he wants to say that a Christian has no business breaking bread or discussing the meaning of the Exodus with a Jew, more than he realizes.

Perhaps because you can hardly share Eucharist with a Jew? (Mind you, I am in the camp that thinks that Christians do not host seders, but that it is sometimes, under some conditions, OK for a Christian to accept an invitation to a Jewish seder.)

Seriously, though, Christians in the early Church celebrated seders separate from Mass for a long time. It is possible for there to be a common ground on which to share a seder, if the Jew or Jews who are hosting are amenable to accomodate what we can’t do. It would be a little like having a Jew to dinner in our home, and having to have kosher food and servingware. There are things we do for the sake of hospitality and friendship. Still, if a Haggadah can’t be found that we find “kosher”, then it is also OK to politely decline. Friends allow each other their integrity.

Point of talk:

It’s a violation of the 1st commandment to offer true worship to a false god or false worship to the true God. Seders are the latter.

I thought they were forbidden, now, because of protesting from some Jewish groups, who saw it as a “mimicking” of their religious traditions - which, in the case of the ones I attended, it actually was - they were telling us that this is what the Jews actually do, and here’s how they do it, etc. - which is a good enough reason, as a Christian, not to participate - we should never imitate the customs of other religions.

So if you pray with a Jew, you are automatically offering false worship? If not, then you can’t judge a seder until you read the Haggadah. You have to realize: this is not like the Mass. There are Haggadot with endorsement by particular rabbis or rabinnical schools, but there isn’t a supreme Jewish liturgist, no “Vatican of Judaism”, that has to give its rabbinical imprimatur in order to make a seder legitimate for any Jew.

There are Haggadot that specifically deny that the Messiah has ever come. No, we Catholics can’t pray that way, that would be false. But if prayers in a Haggadah thanks God for the Exodus without doing that or being specifically false in another way, I would argue that it would be OK.

Why would such a Haggadah exist? Because Jews don’t agree on these things. Because some Jews are married to Catholics, and specifically want a Haggadah that avoids any reference that offends Catholicism. That is their perogative.

Having said that, there isn’t a reason for us to literally have a seder. If a Jew doesn’t invite you over for Passover, I’d not go looking for a seder. We don’t want other people going around inventing pseudo-Masses. Seders should be totally under the purview of the Jews.

I don’t recall there being anything in the traditional Hagaddah that is anti-Catholic. The prayers are all psalms. And, as you know, it focuses on the story of Exodus. There are messiah oriented haggadot that are geared toward messianic Jews.

Unless you are of the opinion that the psalms are a form of false worship, I don’t see how you can allege that jews holding a seder violates the 1st (or any other) commandments. I’d be interested to know if there are priests who hold this position. I can’t imagine it is in line with Church doctrine/teachings.

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