Tag Archives: Singing the Mass

“Stay with me”

15 Jan

The “Invitation to Communion” has previously been the topic of a homily in church and a post on this blog. But its beauty astounded us again today, as we heard an extraordinary scripture passage at Mass. 

“Behold, the Lamb of God.”

“What are you looking for?”

“Where do you stay?

“Come, and you will see.” 

As Jesus walks by, there is an acclamation by John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God.” Two of John’s disciples follow Jesus.  One is Andrew. The other is not named, which leaves room for you to be the other disciple.  

There is an acclamation: “Behold the Lamb of God.” Something stirs within them. They approach Jesus. He asks them a question. They ask their own, “Where do you stay?” In response Jesus offers them an invitation – “Come …” – and gives them a promise – “… and you will see.”  And they stay with him that day.  

Acclamation, question, invitation, promise – and communion. 

At Mass we hear the acclamation, “Behold the Lamb of God.”  When you hear that, something stirs within you. As you walk up the aisle toward the altar for communion, Jesus asks you what you are looking for. You approach him with your question or your wonderment, whatever question or wonderment you have about yourself or about life. Jesus gives you an invitation, “Come. Come to me in the consecrated bread and wine.” And he makes you a promise, “You will see.” You will get an answer. It might not be clear now. It may take some time. But he does promise, “Stay with me. You will see. There will come the time when all your questions are answered, when you will wonder no more. Stay with me. You will see.” Then the most extraordinary of things happens. We receive communion, or better, we are received into communion.  

He asks us to stay with him, and he asks to stay with us. It is communion – “holy” communion.

Emphasis on “Humble and Hopeful Pleading”

2 Dec

In the Mass prayers proper to the Second Sunday of Advent, we found these new words in the updated English translation, and noticed an emphasis on “humbly pleading hopefully.”

Collect: “those who set out in haste to meet your Son … gain … admittance to his company”

Prayer over the Offerings:  “come, we pray, to our rescue with the protection of your mercy”

Preface:  “when … all is at last made manifest … may inherit the great promise in which now we dare to hope”

Prayer after Communion: “we humbly beseech you, O Lord”

Emphasis on “Now”

28 Nov

In the Mass prayers proper to the First Sunday of Advent, we found these new words in the updated English translation, and noticed an emphasis on “now.”

Collect: “the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming … so that, gathered at his right hand”

Prayer over the Offerings: “gathered from among your gifts to us”

Preface: “the great promise in which now we dare to hope”

Prayer after Communion: “for even now you teach us … to hold fast to what endures”

Did Not Keep Us from Praying

28 Nov

All day on Friday and Saturday, I had that icky, nervous, churning, unsettled, bothersome feeling in my belly, that feeling that I get whenever I feel uncertain or incompetent or inexperienced (or when I am worrying, as I regrettably do too often, about how I will perform or how I will look in the eyes of others).  

After Masses on Sunday I was exhausted and relieved – and grateful. It was an exhaustion and relief full of gratitude. 

Even during Mass on the weekend I was feeling grateful for the Deacon and the Music Director with whom I serve here at St. Andrew.

Dovile has been remarkably capable and positive (and patient with me). Her choir members were of immense assistance, some of them coming to more than one Mass in order to help the congregation (and me) to navigate our way through the changes.

I find it hard to imagine how priests could have survived the First Sunday of Advent this year without the presence and assurance of a liturgically savvy deacon like I have at my side when I am in the sanctuary.

Add to that the good sport and ever willing, flexible and humble (and brilliant) Sunday priest-associate that we have in Father Ken Morman.

All things considered, our transition to the new words and chant were as uneventful as they were eventful. How did it go at Masses this weekend at St. Andrew? It was as much a non-event as it was a huge event, thanks to Karen Kane and her Archdiocesan Worship Office and the outstanding learning opportunities and materials and worship aids provided for us, to Dovile Krempasky and her choir members, to Deacon Tim Schutte, to Father Ken Morman – and to the good people of St. Andrew who have been accepting, teachable, responsive and engaged during the time of preparation – and of especial good humor during the “first” Masses that we celebrated together.

Of course, we all flubbed up and stumbled a few times, but it did not keep us from praying. Contrary to the headline in this morning’s local newspaper, there was “no Mass confusion” here at St. Andrew. Today I feel proud to be a Catholic priest, and humbled to be able to be the parish priest among the Catholics of Milford.

Preface I of Advent: November 27-December 16, 2011

26 Nov

Preface I of Advent

(The following Preface is said in Masses of Advent from the First Sunday of Advent to December 16.)

The Lord be with you. And with your spirit. Lift up your hearts. We lift them up to the Lord. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right and just.

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord.

For he assumed at his first coming the lowliness of human flesh, and so fulfilled the design you formed long ago, and opened for us the way to eternal salvation, that, when he comes again in glory and majesty and all is at last made manifest, we who watch for that day may inherit the great promise in which now we dare to hope.

And so, with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominions, and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven, as we sing the hymn of your glory without end we acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts . . .

for clergy: “new” Missal Examination of Conscience

20 Nov

Hey, Father ….

As you prepare for next Sunday and the first use of the “new” Mass translation, how about hearing with me these questions Father John Baldovi, S.J., suggests for us?

1. How have I prepared liturgically?
2. How have I prepared spiritually?
3. Are the “horizontal” and “vertical” in balance?
4. Do I make myself (ouch!) the center of the liturgy?
5. How well do I know the missal?

One line that Father Baldovin speaks in his presentation (below) that caught my fancy – maybe something I need to hear? – is this: “Rubrics are there, after all, to protect the Christian people from some of our idiosyncrasies.”

Andrew, the Bride and the Centurion: Holy Communion

20 Nov

It is an invitation to communion.

We are Andrew. “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world.”

We are the bride. “Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”

We are the centurion. “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

As we approach the altar for communion, we are Andrew. We are the bride. We are the centurion. It is an invitation to communion – holy communion!

Click here for today’s homily, Andrew, the Bride and the Centurion.”

Most Inviting Invitation

18 Nov

You might find that the “Invitation to Communion” in the new Mass translation is the most attractive change, the most inviting moment: inviting us into communion, and inviting us to reflect on the meaning of the words that are chanted. Three references to the Bible are imbedded in “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb. Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

Behold the Lamb of God The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) – As Jesus approached, John the Baptist pointed him out to two of his disciples as “the Lamb of God,” the one whom the people were waiting for, the one who would be sacrificed for their sake. Andrew, “our” Andrew, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. The other one is not named. Jesus invites them to come and see where he is staying. They went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. At communion we are that unnamed disciple, with our Andrew. Jesus is pointed out, held up as the “Lamb of God.” We choose to follow. Jesus gives us the same invitation he gave to Andrew, “Stay with me.” In the company of Andrew in the company of Jesus  – that is holy communion.

The supper of the Lamb – Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” (Revelation 19:9) – In the last book of the Bible there is a description of the feast in heaven. It is a wedding feast. The Lamb of God is the groom. His bride, his beloved, is the Church, the believers, the baptized, all those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. The Mass is a taste of heaven. There is a taste of Cincinnati, a taste of Milford, a taste of Clermont County. The Mass is a taste of heaven. The Mass is a wedding feast. As we approach the altar for communion, we are the bride walking up the aisle. Jesus is the groom, at the altar, on the altar, waiting for his bride to come up the aisle, longing to be joined in intimate communion.

Under my roof The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” (Matthew 8:8) – The centurion, as a military man with a hundred soldiers under his command, knew authority. As a Roman soldier, as an enforcer of the occupying foreign power, he was despised by the people. But his servant is sick at his house. Knowing he was not worthy to have Jesus come to his house, he asked Jesus just to say the word, knowing that Jesus had authority that he could never have, no matter how much he would ever be promoted. Jesus says the word, and his first long distance healing happens. In our unworthiness and sinfulness, we approach Jesus for communion and healing. We are flawed. We fret that we are not worthy to have Jesus enter our home. But Jesus says the word, and comes into our house, into our home, into us, into our lives.

We are Andrew. We are the bride. We are the centurion. Jesus invites us into his company, into a holy communion with him. Jesus makes an offer we can’t refuse.

“Ever So Slightly” Blessing

17 Nov

Thankfully, the Sign of the Cross and the Lord’s Prayer are the same. But almost all the other prayers we pray and the words we speak at Mass are changing ever so slightly, beginning next Sunday, November 27. In the “ever so slightly” changes there is a blessing for us. Priest and people will be jostled out of the familiar, and will focus anew on what we say and what we pray, paying closer attention to hearing things we have never heard before, even when they are the same words we have spoken for years.    

Monsignor Ken and I have been spending time together, looking over what will be sung and what will be spoken. Every prayer that we speak while standing at the altar and while standing at the chair will be slightly different from what we have used for years. We are making our lists and checking them twice. We want to do the best for you that we can do. Dovile, the choirs and the cantors are preparing their notes (of a different kind) as well, getting ready to do the best that they can for you. Deacon Tim is learning his parts, and watching over the priest’s parts, too, in order to help us all.

Near you in the pew is a red booklet that will have everything you need for your parts. During Advent, the Gloria is not sung, but we will sing the other parts of the “Mass of Redemption.” As you know already, it is in the red booklet. As we begin Mass next Sunday, we will use the Confiteor, with its new words, “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.” No need to worry. It is in the red booklet. Yes, in the Profession of Faith (Nicene Creed), we will now be saying, “… consubstantial with the Father,” and “… incarnate of the Virgin Mary.” Not to worry. It’s in the red booklet.

You might hear someone sigh, “I miss that book that used to be in the pews. It had the readings in it.” There is a stack of the “Liturgy of the Word 2012” books at each of the doors. Surprise them by getting out of your pew, going to the nearest door and bringing back a book and a smile for them. And after Mass, you can quietly and without fanfare return their book to the same door.

In the new translation of the Mass prayers you will find or hear a “new word from God” that speaks to something deep within you. As the year progresses, you will add another and another and another to your list of favorites. Perhaps the Invitation to Communion will be one. It comes almost right from the Bible: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29). “Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” (Revelation 19:9). “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed.” (Luke 7:6-7).

We will be falling in love with the Mass all over again.

A great Scrabble word!

16 Nov

Julianne Wallace, Campus Minister at St Joseph University Parish in Buffalo serving the University at Buffalo, writes on the Busted Halo website about the “Top Five Mass Changes” she thinks young adults need to know. 

#1: “And with your spirit!” 

“This response is more than just a greeting. This response is also a spiritual exchange between the priest and the assembly. The priest extends a greeting of the Lord’s presence and the assembly grants a similar greeting inviting God to be with the presider as we worship together.”  

#2: The Gloria 

“There are many minor textual changes to this prayer.  A change occurs in the Gloria when we sing together, ‘We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory!’ This five-fold invocation of praise poetically expresses the majesty and glory of God.” 

#3: “We to I” 

“This small change harkens back to when the person entering the Church says, ‘I do’ in the Credo formula. So the change from ‘we’ to ‘I’ is more consistent with how we have professed our faith throughout history.” 

#4: “Consubstantial” 

“That sounds like a great Scrabble word!” 

#5: The centurion’s faith and our response 

“As we come to the Eucharistic table, may we approach with the humble faith of the centurion and carry this humility with us through our everyday life.” 

Julianne finishes with, “And remember, we are not just saying this new translation; we are praying this new translation!”