Faith and Family is a weekly column by Lani Bogart, in which she provides practical ways to connect the Sunday readings, especially the Gospel, to the lives of families. Lani oversees all things catechetical at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and co-leads the Committee to Serve Wives and Widows of Deacons for the Diocese of Phoenix.
God is doing a new thing at Our Lady of Perpetual Help!
Many parish families are actively learning and practicing how to pass our Catholic faith on to their children.
It’s exciting to see parents on campus Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. They bring their Bibles and Catechisms and hearts open to learn.
Returning parents participate in Zoom meetings with their children and a catechist who checks in to see how they are doing.
Parents with children just beginning preparation for sacraments are learning a new program called A Family of Faith.
If you look closely you will see past the masks covering their smiles to the joy of the Lord shining out from their eyes!READ MORE
Today is Catechetical Sunday when our parish catechists are commissioned and blessed by the pastor to catechize the children in our community. This year because of Covid-19, all parents of children in our Religious Education program and a few grandparents have assumed responsibility as the primary catechists for their own children in a new way. They are, with the guidance and accompaniment of a few trained catechists, teaching the faith to their children at home and helping them prepare for sacraments.
Our youth minister is also a catechist along with her core team and they work via virtual meetings with those parish teens who are preparing for sacraments. She also plans and implements youth group, which are in-person-but-social-distanced-meetings for junior high and high school students. All parish teens are welcome at youth group whether or not they have their sacraments.READ MORE
Our series on the Mass concludes with three final parts: the PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION, the FINAL BLESSING, and the DISMISSAL.
The PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION prayed by the priest asks that the graces of Holy Communion fill our lives. Our part is to think of a specific change we can make to cooperate more fully with these graces.
Next comes the FINAL BLESSING in which our Lord, present in the person of the priest, blesses us. This sometimes also includes a special blessing for the day, like a blessing for moms on Mother’s Day or a blessing of Catechists on Catechetical Sunday. Our part is to receive the blessing of Christ to strengthen us in living as His Body.READ MORE
COMMUNION was the theme last week in our series on the Mass. Because COMMUNION is a sign of complete union with our Lord and each other, we are welcome to receive HOLY COMMUNION only if we are in the state of grace.
Before we receive HOLY COMMUNION, we fast from all food for at least one hour. We must also confess and receive absolution for any mortal sins, arrive to Mass in time to hear the Proclamation of the Gospel, and approach the altar with reverence.
After COMMUNION comes the PURIFICATION OF THE VESSELS. The priest or deacon cleanses the vessels reverently and thoroughly to ensure that even the tiniest particles of the Blessed Sacrament are consumed.READ MORE
In our series on the Mass, PREPARATION FOR COMMUNION was the theme last week. It ends with the “I am not worthy. . . prayer which we discovered is also found in the Gospels on the lips of the Centurion Soldier whose servant Jesus healed.
COMMUNION comes next. The priest receives first and distributes Jesus’ Body and Blood to the deacon. Then they both distribute Holy Communion to the altar servers and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. These lay ministers are called “extraordinary” because the priests and deacons are the “ordinary” ministers of Holy Communion.READ MORE
Last week we focused on The FRACTIO and AGNUS DEI (LAMB OF GOD). You may recall that the LAMB OF GOD prayer immediately follows the SIGN OF PEACE and begs God for mercy and peace.
Next comes our PREPARATION FOR COMMUNION. The priest offers prayers with all of us asking that God cleanse us from sin and enable us to receive eternal life through Holy Communion. Then he silently prays a longer prayer before he raises the Host and proclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God, Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the Supper of the Lamb.” The prayer that we respond with here is straight from the lips of the centurion servant in the Gospels.(Mt 8:5- 14, Lk 7:1-10) “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”READ MORE
The SIGN OF PEACE, we discovered last week, is a simple and powerful sign of unity between us who are brothers and sisters in Christ. Immediately following is the FRACTIO and AGNUS DEI (LAMB OF GOD).
You might recognize the root of our word “fraction” in the name of this part of the Mass. That’s because the priest breaks the Host and mingles small pieces (or fractions) with the Precious Blood showing that Christ’s Blood and Body are united and cannot be separated.
The priest then elevates both chalice and Host for us to see and acclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, happy are those who are called to the Supper of the Lamb”.READ MORE
Last week, in our series on the parts of the Mass, we discussed THE OUR FATHER, also called THE LORD’S PRAYER. It is the best model ever given for what ought to be included in prayer and should be one of the first prayers we teach our children.
This week we take a look at the SIGN OF PEACE. This part of the Mass is optional. The priest can leave it out at his own discretion. After the priest extends words of peace to all present, saying “Peace be with you.” We respond, and also with you. Then the deacon normally announces, “Let us offer each other the Sign of Peace”
THE SIGN OF PEACE has been suppressed by our Bishop during the current pandemic because it’s impossible to offer a proper SIGN OF PEACE and maintain the recommended “social distance” of six feet. In some Catholic Rites a kiss replaces the handshake as the SIGN OF PEACE, but in the Roman Rite the proper gesture is the handshake and the words. “Peace be with you.”READ MORE
The DOXOLOGY and the GREAT AMEN were our most recent subjects in our continuing series on the parts of the Mass. Recall that the DOXOLOGY is high praise to the Holy Trinity and the GREAT AMEN is the people’s response to all that has happened in the Mass thus far. By saying, singing, or chanting it we affirm that we believe that all that has been said and prayed is true.
Next comes THE OUR FATHER, sometimes also called THE LORD’S PRAYER. The priest introduces it with these words, “At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say…”
Whole books have been written on this prayer. No matter how many times we have prayed it, we can benefit from meditating on THE OUR FATHER line by line.READ MORE
Last week in our continuing series on the parts of the Mass we highlighted the INTERCESSION which unites the three states of the Church in Heaven, on Earth and in Purgatory together.
The INTERCESSION is followed by the DOXOLOGY which is a glorious prayer of praise to the Holy Trinity. The priest lifts up the paten containing the bread that has become Christ’s Body and if a deacon is serving, he lifts up the chalice containing the wine that has become the Blood of Christ. While calling attention to Jesus’ Body and Blood for all to see, the priest speaks or chants these words: “Through Him, With Him, in Him, , in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours Almighty Father, forever and ever.”
We, the people kneeling in the pews, immediately respond with the GREAT AMEN. At Sunday Mass, the GREAT AMEN is almost always sung, sometimes even repeated three times. Our AMEN means, “it is true” or “so be it”. God is rightly glorified and praised in the DOXOLOGY and our response to it.READ MORE
We continue our series on the parts of the Mass. Last week we considered the OBLATION or OFFERING in which the priest offers the Body of Christ to God the Father as a living sacrifice, mystery of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.
Next comes the INTERCESSION. Let’s not confuse it with the intercessions we pray during the PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL which we discussed several weeks back. This INTERCESSION is made by the priest who represents Christ at the altar. The INTERCESSION unites the three states of the Church together: The Church Triumphant or those already in Heaven, the Church Militant, those of us still fighting our spiritual battles here on earth, and the Church Suffering, those souls who are being purged from all sin in order to be purified for Heaven.
You will hear the priest pray for the pope and bishops, the baptized, and the souls in purgatory. While he prays, we remember all those people we want to offer to God including loved ones who have died.READ MORE
After THE MEMORIAL ACCLAMATION where we lovingly remember the mystery of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection comes the OBLATION also known as the OFFERING.
During the OBLATION, the priest offers the Body of Christ to God the Father as a living sacrifice. Remember the Body of Christ is both the Eucharist and us.
The OBLATION also brings to mind all the Saints already united with Christ in Heaven.
Our part is to offer our whole life, our joys and sorrows, tears and laughter, work and play, worries and gratitude, fears and trials to our Heavenly Father. We offer everything we have and are as a living sacrifice remembering that we are the Body of Christ.
We also thank the saints in Heaven who are praying for us.READ MORE
We continue our series on the parts of the Mass. After THE INSTITUTIONAL NARRATIVE which we learned last week is the high point of the Mass, comes THE MEMORIAL ACCLAMATION.
The priest introduces it with these words, “the Mystery of Faith”. Sometimes he speaks the words. Other times he chants the words in our language and we sing our response. At our parish, during Advent and Lent the priest may chant the introduction to MEMORIAL ACCLAMATION in the language of the Church, which is Latin: “Mysterium fide” Then we respond in Latin, “Mortem tuam annuntiamus, Domine,et tuam resurrectionem confitemur, donec venias.”READ MORE