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.