Using Altar Rail Makes Mass More Reverent – and Speeds Up Communion

An interesting article on the Southern Orders blog:

The Church in the article recently installed an altar rail which they use for their occasional Traditional Latin Masses. The pastor Fr. MacDonald also tried using it at an Ordinary Form (regular vernacular liturgy) Sunday Mass and found that most people voluntarily knelt to take communion (even though they had the option to receive standing)

Also the time it took to communicate people was actually faster, even though only 2 ministers (the priest and a deacon) were administering communion, compared to 4 ministers when they administer in the usual single file method.

Most importantly there was an increased sense of reverence. The saying “the way we worship is the way we believe” (lex orandi lex credendi) seems to be demonstrated here. Read the whole article.

This touches on a pet peeve of mine. I wish more parishes would make provisions to make it easier for those wishing to receive kneeling and on the tongue to do so. Especially as we get older it is sometimes difficult for some to kneel on a floor and get up without anything to hold on to. Would it be too much to ask to have a kneeler (prie-dieu) available for this purpose?

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Ember Days this week

In the old calendar the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of this week are Ember Days in Lent. The Ember Days occurred 4 times a year during each season and were times of fasting and penance.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: “The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy.”

Here in Lewiston there will be Ember Day Masses as follows:

Wednesday Feb. 25 (today) 4:30 PM. Confessions before Mass starting at 4 PM.

Friday Feb. 27 4:30 PM. Confessions before Mass starting at 4 PM.

Saturday Feb. 28  at 7 AM. No confessions before this Mass.

All masses are in the Basilica Chapel downstairs, at the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, 122 Ash St. Lewiston. All Masses are in the Extraordinary Form (Traditional Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal).

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Catholics are Born for Combat

This phrase is attributed to Pope Leo XIII who reigned at the end of the 19th Century. He was also famous for initiating the prayers we used to say after Mass including the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

This phrase refers to spiritual rather than physical combat, although Catholics might be called upon at times to defend the faith physically, as they were during the Crusades.  Mostly though it is the spiritual combat that is the most common.

We fight spiritually on 3 fronts – the World, the Flesh, and the Devil.

We have to fight a spiritual battle against the World because the World is constantly tempting us with distractions that pull us away from God. For example most of us have to work for a living and we can get caught up in the latest office politics, who is getting promoted (and perhaps we think we deserve it more than them). Or the latest movie or TV series that is coming out.

The Flesh refers to satisfying our sensual desires. We like to eat and drink, sometimes to excess. We are attracted to sexual pleasures. Each of us probably has at least one of these tendencies. While eating, drinking, sex, etc. are not bad in themselves, they can be if they become the main focus of our lives again drawing us away from God.

The Devil is probably the hardest one to combat as he knows our weaknesses and how to exploit them. We need God’s grace to combat any of these but especially this one.

The principal weapons for our combat is prayer for the graces to be strengthened and to trust in God. We can do none of this on our own but need to depend on God to pull us through.

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.


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Reactivating Blog!

After almost a year I decided to reactivate this blog.

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Feast of the Assumption

Last Tuesday on said feast day, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend a Solemn High Mass at St. Paul’s, near Harvard Sq. Cambridge Mass. This Mass was sponsored by Juventutem Boston, a group which promotes the Extraordinary Form of the Mass especially for young people.


(Photo courtesy of Juventutem Boston)

A Solemn High Mass is the Mass in the fullest and is our most glorious way to offer the Holy Sacrifice. There are three clergy, a priest who is the principal celebrant, a deacon (who is usually also a priest) and a subdeacon who I believe may be a lay person, all fully vested.Generally the priest does the eucharistic prayer and the consecration. The deacon and subdeacon assist him doing some of the functions a server would do at another Mass. The deacon chants the gospel and the subdeacon the epistle.

This particular Mass was well attended, I estimate between 100 to 200 people, mostly younger. There was a wonderful choir of a half dozen men that sang the propers of the Mass. Definitely the most beautiful thing this side of heaven. As you can see the church is gorgeous with its original High Altar still in place which makes it quite suitable for the Extraordinary Form.

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Turning Together Towards the Lord

One of the recent trends in some parishes as part of a reform of the liturgy is a return to the ancient practice as was common in the Church until 50 years ago, of worship with the priest and congregation all facing the same direction. This article from a parish in South Carolina I think does a good job of explaining the reasons behind this:


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What to do about divorced and remarried Catholics

I recently attended a Mass where at the homily the celebrant spoke about the need for compassion for divorced and remarried Catholics, about how the Church needed to re-examine her “traditions” and allow that people sometimes make mistakes.

I think the answer here is very simple (although the implications may not be). There are 2 kinds of tradition in the Church – those we call Tradition with a capital T which were passed on down from Jesus and the Apostles, including the authority of scripture, the sacraments, and so on. These Traditions are from God and cannot be changed.

Then there are small-t traditions which might include disciplines which the Church maintains for good reason, such as priestly celibacy, but which could be changed if there was good reason to do so.

So what we need to decide is which kind of tradition the doctrine that a marriage is permanent and only ends with the death of one spouse falls under. One could say that Matthew 5:32 is fairly definite in this:

But I say to you, that whoever divorces his wife – unless the marriage is unlawful – causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery“. (from the Mass Lectionary as quoted in the St. Josephs Sunday Missal)

Not sure how compassion for the divorced and remarried can be reconciled with this.

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