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.
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.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
Returning to our series on the Mass, we have come to one of the most meaningful moments. It is called the EPICLESIS. During the EPICLESIS the priest prays not only with his voice, but also with a gesture his hands make as he lifts them (palms down) high, and lowers them slowly with a downward motion calling down the Holy Spirit over the gifts of bread and wine we have brought, that they may become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. An altar server rings the bell as if to say, Wake up! Pay attention! Something sacred is happening in the invisible world!
As the priest prays, we ask the Holy Spirit to come down into our hearts, to dwell in our bodies that have become his tabernacle and to make Christ present in us like He did with Mary.READ MORE
As we continue our series on the Mass we move from the THANKSGIVING & PREFACE to the SANCTUS or HOLY, HOLY, HOLY . . .
This familiar prayer unites our human voices to the voices of heaven’s angels so we can together proclaim God’s holiness.
We are to think, as we pray, about God’s perfection, beauty, and his holiness. We use our imaginations to envision the hosts or armies of angels gathered around the altar. If we could see them, we would be astounded!
As we cry “Hosanna” in the highest, the angels are praying with us. Hosanna means “Lord, save us!”
Let this prayer be the cry of your heart especially on this day when we begin the first of eight Masses offering the Sacraments of Initiation to the children of our community.READ MORE
Following the INVITATION TO PRAYER which we considered last week, is the THANKSGIVING in which the priest invites us to “lift up your hearts”. When we hear these words, we ought to bring ourselves to attention, and do our best to ignore any distracting thoughts.
Next the priest says, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God” and we respond that “it is right and just”. Our response reminds us that God deserves our thanks so much that it’s impossible to thank him too much. The THANKSGIVING is followed by the PREFACE which the priest says on behalf of all of us.
The PREFACE begins “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation . . .” The words that follow change according to the mystery we celebrate that day. For example, on this Pentecost Sunday, the PREFACE reads: “It is truly right and just, always and everywhere to give you thanks,READ MORE
Last week we considered the PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS and how we silently place our suffering, joys, work and play on the paten and in the chalice to be transformed in Christ.
Next is the INVITATION TO PRAYER . The priest invites us to pray in a way that is spoken more like a command than an invitation. “Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters), that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the almighty Father.”
This invitation from the priest for us to join him in prayer teaches us to support our priest with our prayers. We spiritually unite with the priest in humbly asking God to accept all that we offer.READ MORE
In our series on the Mass, we have discussed the Liturgy of the Word, which is made up of the PROCESSION, SIGN OF THE CROSS AND GREETING, PENITENTIAL ACT AND CONFITEOR, GLORIA,COLLECT, 1ST READING, RESPONSORIAL PSALM, 2ND READING, ALLELUIA GOSPEL, HOMILY, CREED, and PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL.
Two weeks ago, we began the Liturgy of the Eucharist. First was the OFFERTORY PROCESSION, then PREPARATION OF THE ALTAR.
Today we ponder the PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS during which the priest talks to God about the gifts we bring. He mixes a drop of water into the wine in the chalice and silently prays these words: By the mystery of this water in wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.READ MORE
In our series on the parts of the Mass last week we considered the OFFERTORY PROCESSION. Now we take a look at the PREPARATION OF THE ALTAR.
Altar servers bring the Sacred Vessels to the priest or deacon and he arranges them on the altar. The chalice and paten are made of precious metal. Some of the most beautiful materials of the earth are chosen to hold the Body and Blood of our Lord.
It’s tempting to “zone out” as the deacon or priest arranges the vessels on the altar, but we can watch attentively as the deacon or priest arranges the vessels.
Notice how he carefully unfolds a pure white cloth called a corporal and places it beneath the paten and chalice. He places a purificator nearby to absorb any tiny spills of the wine and water which will become Christ’s Body and Blood and also to clean the chalice after communion.READ MORE
Last week we discussed the PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL The part of the Mass we focus on today is the OFFERTORY PROCESSION.
A family from our parish presents the bread and wine to the priest while a hymn is sung. The family is one of us and we unite our hearts with their actions as we sing the hymn.
Think of how the bread began as a grain of wheat planted in the ground by a farmer and how many people (those who harvested the grain, those who ground it into flour. those who baked the bread and transported it) have collaborated in bringing the bread to the altar. The same is true of the wine. It began with the planting of grapevines in a vineyard so many years ago. People tended, harvested and pressed the grapes and made them into wine.
When we present the “fruit of the earth and work of human hands” we bring all we have and all we are, indeed, all creation to be transformed by the Holy Spirit whom the priest will soon call down over the gifts.READ MORE