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.

The Parts of the Mass: The Prayers of the Faithful

04-26-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Last week we put our attention on the CREED. Next come the PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL.

Now that we have heard the readings and stated what we believe, we ask God to make us people who live what we have just heard.

The Deacon, or if a deacon is not present, a layperson speaks our petitions. Beginning with prayers for all the priests, deacons and religious, we pray for all the people in the Church as well as those who in our world who are suffering in any way. We even pray for those who have already died, that they will find peace in Christ.

We listen and agree mentally to the words that are prayed, then we make the prayers our own when we say “Lord, hear our prayers.”

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The Parts of the Mass: The Creed

04-19-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

I wonder how many of you listened to a HOMILY for Easter last Sunday?

Our faith is a shield that defends us from lies or wrong ideas that will hurt us if we believe them. When we recite the CREED together, we announce the important truths we believe; we profess our faith. The CREED sums up in a few sentences what we believe as Catholics. The CREED is also a way of handing on our faith to the next generation.

When we profess our faith by reciting the CREED we accept Christ’s teaching as our own.

You can imagine the reciting of the CREED as polishing your shield of faith.

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The Parts of the Mass: Homily

04-12-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Last week we discussed GOSPEL. You probably already guessed what is next - the HOMILY. Now the priest or deacon explains the meaning of the readings or some other important topic and tries to show how it applies to our lives.

Some deacons and priests are easier to listen to and understand than others, but the HOMILY is not really about the deacon or priest. It is for all the people. Our part is to listen attentively to the HOMILY. Here are three tips for better listening:

1. Sit up straight and look at the priest or deacon while he talks. If you are distracted and have a hard time paying attention, maybe you should choose a different place to sit. Choose a place where you can focus better.

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The Parts of the Mass: Gospel

04-05-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

The focus this week in our series on the Mass is the GOSPEL. This word literally means Good News. Every week, try to find what is the good news in the GOSPEL reading. Ask yourself, “How does Jesus reveal His Father’s love in this reading”?

Today is Passion or Palm Sunday when we hear the longest GOSPEL of the liturgical year. The GOSPEL always brings us scenes from Jesus’ life.

During this time when we cannot gather for Mass, watch a televised Mass with your family. Dress as you would for Church. Stand, sit and kneel. Help your family pay special attention to today’s GOSPEL.

We stand at the GOSPEL like knights and damsels receiving orders from Christ our King. We make the sign of the cross on our forehead, lips, and heart while praying, “may the words of the Gospel be always on my mind, on my lips, and in my heart.” Notice at the end of the reading that the priest or deacon shows reverence to the book of the GOSPEL with a kiss.

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The Parts of the Mass: Alleluia

03-29-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Continuing our series on the parts of the Mass, we focus today on the ALLELUIA.

After the 2nd READING on every Sunday except Sundays of Advent and Lent we stand and sing the ALLELUIA. This word of praise may be spelled differently but is pronounced similarly in every language of the world. During the ALLELUIA the deacon or priest processes over to the ambo carrying the book of the gospels. On either side of him are lit candles. The flame reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the World and is present to us in a particular way in the Gospel. The flame also symbolizes the Holy Spirit who helps us understand the message our LORD wishes to speak to our hearts.

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The Parts of the Mass: 2nd Reading

03-22-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

We continue our series on the parts of the Mass. After the RESPONSORIAL PSALM we are ready to listen to the 2nd Reading. (Note, at daily Mass there is only a 1st reading, Psalm and Gospel most days) The reading, sometimes called an epistle, is from a letter written to people in the early Church by one of the Apostles. Even though these letters were originally written for people in a particular place and time, the Holy Spirit makes the words come alive for us today so we can hear them and understand how to live for Jesus.

Our part is to listen attentively. That means we sit up straight, quiet our bodies, put other thoughts out of our mind and listen and try our best to understand the meaning of the reading. At the end of the reading the lector says, “The Word of the Lord” and we respond in a way that shows we mean it, “Thanks be to God.”

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The Parts of the Mass: Responsorial Psalm

03-15-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

So far, we have learned about the PROCESSION, SIGN OF THE CROSS & GREETING, CONFITEOR, GLORIA, COLLECT, and 1ST READING. Today, in this 7th week of our series we focus on the RESPONSORIAL PSALM.

The Psalm, especially the part that the people sing is a response to what we heard in the first reading. In it we speak to God in words chosen by God. When we sing it from our heart, our faith in what we hear ourselves singing grows and we allow the words to shape our thoughts. This prepares us to hear and understand the readings still to come. Imagine yourself being led by the Good Shepherd to the green pastures of the Word he has for you.

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The Parts of the Mass: 1st Reading

03-08-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Last week we focused on the COLLECT, the prayer that gathers God’s people and our intentions. After the COLLECT comes the 1ST READING.

The first reading is usually, but not always, from the Old Testament like this week’s reading.

We already know that we ought to listen attentively to God’s Word. But we may not know what to listen for.

Listen for three things: 1. Which book of the Bible is it from? 2. What part of the story of our salvation is in the reading? 3. How is this reading from the Old Testament related to the today’s Gospel?

If you remember that the Old Testament reading is your family story, it might help you tune in with more interest.

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The Parts of the Mass: The Collect

03-01-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Last week we focused on the beautiful GLORIA.

Now we turn our attention to the COLLECT prayed by the priest. This prayer gathers God’s people, that is each one of us and all of our intentions. This prayer focuses our attention on the mystery we celebrate in this particular Mass.

When the priest is praying, we are not supposed to “tune out.” Instead we remind ourselves that we are in the presence of God. We remember what we want to thank God for or ask him for and we join our prayers to the prayer of the priest when we say “Amen.”

Today is the first Sunday of Lent. The COLLECT summarizes for us the theme of this Sunday’s Mass, helping us see how the readings apply to us today. It reminds us of our weakness, but also that we are not alone. How personal and fitting is this prayer. When we pay attention to the prayer of the COLLECT, we find help to seek God and hope in him. Let’s ponder the words of the COLLECT:

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The Parts of the Mass: Gloria

02-23-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Here we continue our series on the different parts of the Mass. Last week we discussed the PENITENTIAL ACT and CONFITEOR.

The beautiful GLORIA captures our attention this week.

The GLORIA is an ancient hymn of praise to our God. It begins with the very same words the angels sang when they appeared to the shepherds to announce Christ’s birth.

Can you imagine a whole host or army of heavenly angels singing the GLORIA? That’s exactly what happened when they came to announce Jesus’ birth. It also happens at every Mass!

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The Parts of the Mass: Penitential Act and Confiteor

02-16-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Here we continue our series on the different parts of the Mass. Last week we discussed the SIGN OF THE CROSS and the GREETING. Today we focus on the PENITENTIAL ACT and CONFITEOR.

In the silent pause, we examine our consciences. During this part of the Mass we beat our breast as a sign of humility and true repentance. All our venial sin is forgiven, making us ready to open our hearts to God’s Word and open our mouths to receive the Lord in Holy Communion.

What a perfect way for us sinners to approach the all HOLY GOD! It is only because of God’s love and mercy that we dare to approach him in worship.

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The Parts of the Mass: The Sign of the Cross

02-09-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

Here we continue our series on the different parts of the Mass. Last week we discussed our part in the Procession. Today we look at:

The SIGN OF THE CROSS is the most ancient and basic Christian gesture. It sums up the two most important parts of our faith, 1. The Holy Trinity and 2. Jesus’ death on the cross for our salvation. As we make the sign of the cross, we mark ourselves with the sign of Jesus’ love for us and remind ourselves that we belong to the greatest communion of love; the perfect love that flows between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The sign of the cross tells us our deepest identity, a deeper identity than even the names given us by our earthly parents. When we know what the sign of the cross means, tracing it on our bodies is sincere prayer.

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The Parts of the Mass

02-02-2020Faith and FamilyLani Bogart

In a recent catechist meeting we reviewed the parts of the Mass and how we can pray each part. Our parish catechists’ positive responses encouraged me to offer in this weekly column a series on the different parts of the Mass.

Today we discuss arriving and The Procession. It’s best to arrive a few minutes early. As you leave your car and approach the church, breathe deeply and quiet yourself. Walking slowly helps to prepare our bodies for the silence waiting for us. In the atrium, before crossing the double doors, going towards the nave of the church, we dip one or two fingers in Holy Water and make the sign of the cross remembering to thank God silently for the gift of Baptism. Genuflect with reverence toward the tabernacle before being seated. Once we know where we are sitting, we kneel and thank God for the gift of another Sunday to worship him.

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