Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Alleged Conflict between Faith and Reason . . .

Fr Andrew Pinsent has sent me a link to a presentation he made recently in Ireland entitled 'The Alleged Conflict between Science and Faith'.

Some of you may remember Fr Andrew Pinsent from the time he came to talk to us here at St Ann's about Evangelium, a multi-media catechetical course co-authored by Fr Pinsent and Fr Marcus Holden.

I hope you enjoy the presentation.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

How to Become Pope . . .

Thanks to Laurence England for posting this great video on his blog.

Told in an amusing way but nonetheless a very accurate summary!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Changes in the Liturgy during Lent . . .

Every year around this time, I have several questions from parishioners about visible changes to the liturgy that they have noticed during Lent.

First of all, I am delighted that people do notice changes.  There is a reason for everything that we do at Mass and similarly a reason for anything that we do differently at certain times in the liturgical year.

Here is a  very helpful post on this subject. (H/T to Jimmy Akin )

A brief summary of the points made (my comments have been added in blue):

1. Instrumental music with no singing

In some parishes, instrumental music is used at certain points during Mass. A passage will be played on an organ or on another instrument or instruments, even though nobody is singing.
But not in Lent (with a few exceptions).
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) states:
313. In Lent the playing of the organ and musical instruments is allowed only in order to support the singing. Exceptions, however, are Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts.

2. Singing or saying the Gloria

Just after Sunday Mass begins, it is common to sing or say the Gloria ("Glory to God in the highest").
But not on the Sundays of Lent.
The General Instruction states:
53. The Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) . . . is sung or said on Sundays outside Advent and Lent, and also on Solemnities and Feasts, and at particular celebrations of a more solemn character.

3. Singing or saying the Alleleuia before the Gospel

During most of the year we sing or say the Alleluia before the reading of the Gospel.
But not in Lent.
The General Instruction states:
62. a) The Alleluia is sung in every time of year other than Lent. The verses are taken from the Lectionary or the Graduale.
b) During Lent, instead of the Alleluia, the verse before the Gospel as given in the Lectionary is sung. It is also possible to sing another Psalm or Tract, as found in the Graduale.

 4. Flowers on the altar
It is common for the altar to be decorated with flowers during most of the year (that is, there will be flowers around the altar, though not on top of the altar table itself).
But not in Lent (with a few exceptions).
The General Instruction states:
305. During Lent it is forbidden for the altar to be decorated with flowers. Exceptions, however, are Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts.

In the UK Laetare Sunday also coincides with the celebration of Mothering Sunday or Mother's Day which is a secular celebration.  Whilst we do remember and honour all Mothers on this day, and rightly so; the changes to the liturgy such as the provision of flowers in the sanctuary and the rose-coloured vestments worn by the Priest and Deacon are in celebration of Laetare Sunday rather than Mother's Day.  

5. Emptying holy water fonts

In recent years, some parishes have taken the holy water out of the holy water fonts during Lent. They have even filled them with sand in some cases.
The idea, they say, is to convey the thought that Lent is a time of spiritual dryness--a "desert" experience--that precedes Easter, in which we refrain from using the sacramental of holy water.
Despite its popularity in some places, this practice is not permitted.
It has been the Church's practice to empty the holy water fonts during Triduum, but for a different reason. It is not permitted to have them empty through the whole season of Lent.
The Congregation for Divine Worship has stated:
This Dicastery is able to respond that the removing of Holy Water from the fonts during the season of Lent is not permitted, in particular, for two reasons:
1. The liturgical legislation in force does not foresee this innovation, which in addition to being "praeter legem" [i.e., "apart from the law"] is contrary to a balanced understanding of the season of Lent, which though truly being a season of penance, is also a season rich in the symbolism of water and baptism, constantly evoked in liturgical texts.
2. The encouragement of the Church that the faithful avail themselves frequently of the sacraments is to be understood to apply also to the season of Lent. The "fast" and "abstinence" which the faithful embrace in this season does not extend to abstaining from the sacraments or sacramentals of the Church. 
The practice of the Church has been to empty the Holy Water fonts on the days of the Sacred Triduum in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil, and it corresponds to those days on which the Eucharist is not celebrated (i.e., Good Friday and Holy Saturday) [3/14/03: Prot. N. 569/00/L].

6. Veiling crosses and statues before the Fifth Sunday of Lent

This practice is permitted beginning with the Fifth Sunday of Lent, but not before.
The Roman Missal states:
In the Dioceses of the United States, the practice of covering crosses and images throughout the church from this [Fifth] Sunday may be observed.
Crosses remain covered until the end of the Celebration of the Lord's Passion on Good Friday, but images remain covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.
Notice that the practice is option (the practice "may be observed" not "is to be observed").
If it is not observed, in a particular parish, from the Fifth Sunday of Lent, there is additional encouragement to do remove or veil crosses after the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.
The rubrics in the Roman Missal for that day state:
At an appropriate time, the altar is stripped and, if possible, the crosses are removed from the church.
It is expedient that any crosses which remain in the church be veiled.

NB. These notes refer to Dioceses in the USA but they also apply to England and Wales.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Liturgical Dance . . .

This video interview with Cardinal Arinze seems to be 'doing the rounds' on social media at the moment.

For those of you who have not have seen it, you might like to hear what Cardinal Arinze, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has to say about the place (or otherwise) of Liturgical Dance in the Holy Mass.

He is very clear and leaves no room for misunderstanding.

Probably our Holy Father's last public homily . . .

Although, naturally enough under the circumstances, we didn't have a lot of notice about the Holy Father's last public Mass in St Peter's Basilica yesterday (Ash Wednesday) I hope nonetheless that some of you were able to watch it on television or online; or at least some of it.

It was of course a beautiful Mass and very moving.

You might like to read the Holy Father's homily from the Mass so here is the text for you to read and meditate on in your own time.

As always, whenever Pope Benedict preaches, there is a great deal of spiritual nourishment for us to reflect on.

Let us all prayer for our Holy Father and for his successor.  

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.

Friday, 8 February 2013

It's been a while . . .

Apologies for neglecting the parish blog somewhat recently.  Lots of things have been happening at St Ann's but there isn't always much time to sit down and write about it. We also have many plans for the coming weeks and months.   I thought I would do a little 'catch up' session this evening.

On Tuesday this week, we were delighted to welcome back Fr James Bradley OLW who spoke to us about prayer. This was Fr James final visit in a series of three but we hope to welcome him back in the future some time.  Fr James, you will always be welcome at St Ann's.

Each of these talks have been well attended and much appreciated by all those present  and prompted lively question and answer sessions afterwards.

Our final talk in this series of talks for the Year of Faith will be given by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith on Tuesday 5th March at 8pm.  His subject will be 'Marriage and  Family Life' and all are warmly invited to attend.

For those who are not familiar with Fr Lucie-Smith, he is a priest of our diocese and a well-known Catholic writer.  Father has a regular blog on the Catholic Herald website.  We look forward to hearing what he has to say about Family Life, especially in the light of the recent second reading of the Same-Sex Marriage Bill.

Looking further ahead, I'm delighted that it appears as if the 40 Hours Devotion is becoming a regular annual event here at St Ann's.  We will celebrate the 40 Hours Devotion once more  in June this year as we come towards the end of this Year of Faith.  The 40 Hours Devotion will  begin on Tuesday 18th June with Mass at 7pm, and will  continue throughout Wednesday and conclude with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 9am on Thursday 20th June.  

Once again, all will be very welcome to come and join us.   Come and spend an hour or so with Our Lord or even just a few minutes if that is all you can manage.  Confession will be available throughout the day on Wednesday.