Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bishop Sample's Example - Limit Homilies by Deacons! Now, About Them Liturgical Impressarios. . .

They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues - Steely Dan

Marquette, Mich., Jun 21, 2011 / 05:54 am (CNA).- Permanent deacons should not preach at Mass often. Rather, they should preach at other services and serve the Church in the course of their daily witness to Christ, Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette, Mich. has said in a new pastoral letter on the deacon’s role in the Catholic Church.

Bishop Sample’s 19-page letter, titled “The Deacon: Icon of Jesus Christ the Servant,” cited the principle that the one who presides at a liturgical service or who is the principal celebrant at Mass should also give the homily.

“This should be the ordinary practice,” he said.

Deacons should preach the homily at Mass “for some identifiable advantage for the faithful in the congregation, but not on a regular basis,” the bishop wrote.

My kids all played parish sports for the Catholic grammar schools that they attended. Very often, we would need to hit Mass before a game. My neighbors and their kids in Blue/White for St. Mary's or Gold/Black of St. Cajetan's would crowd the pews. The Order of the Catholic Mass is this:
Entrance procession The Catholic Mass begins with the entrance procession. Father in full liturgical vestments follows the altar servers, lectors, possibly a Deacon - often in a get-up that would make a Coptic Bishop seems like an LL Bean Summer Poster Boy. One of the servers ( usually the top miscreant in his class -God Bless him!) is the Cross bearer. The cross must be present at or near the altar of the Sacrifice. The cross depicts the sacrifice of the cross and made present in the altar. There is an entrance hymn sung by the parish liturgical clique.Often we were very late and kept other teams waiting, due to the excesses of Liturgists and Deacons. Liturgy should elevate and not enervate.


After the hymn, with us standing, the priest and the faithful make the sign of the cross and the priest greets the faithful, usually with the traditional, "The Lord be with you." Chorus: En Also Wit Chew. The lector might announce which day of the liturgical year it happens to be, or announce for whom the Mass may be celebrated.

The Penitential Rite or Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water:

Here is where, my kids look at me. Yes, I know, "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy."
Kyrie: the Greek Orthodox Church and of the Roman Catholic Church.
GloriaGloria in Excelsis is Latin meaning, Glory to God in the Highest

The Collect, the priest now invites us to pray in silence,

Liturgy of the Word

The Lectionary - we all sit.
Here the lector, or reader ( usually Bruno at Sacred Heart Church who looks like he could tear a New York Phone Directory in Half) reads from Scripture -Old Testament Psalms, Prophet, or Wisdom readings and then the Epistles, or Acts of the Apostles.

Then, Bruno reads
The Responsorial Psalms usually the first verse gets read followed by an Alleluia sung with great force and majesty by Terry McEldowney's baritone (AL -LAY- LOO-YA X Three)at the 8:30 Scared Heart Mass, or a full operetic production that can last five to ten minutes at too many Parishes dominated by Liturgical Impressarios. Remember the kids in the uniforms and the Moms and Dads that need to drive to Tinley Park, or Flossmoor for a sound beating from the kids at St. George or Infant Jesus of Prague?

Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John)

Everybody up! We stand for the Gospel read by the priest.

Everyone takes a seat. Here it's a crap-shoot;especially, if Deacon Elmer was in the procession make book he's going to Billy Sunday It Up!

HomilyIn the Homily, or the Sermon, Priests are professionals - ten minutes tops for the Homily. They get paid and well they should. Homiletics can be brutal. A bum priest will phone-it-in or talk down at the ignorant pests in the pews. A good priest will recap the three readings from Old and New Testament. A great priest will succinctly present the message of Christ's love for his neighbors and friends with wit and humility.

Then there is the Deacon. Deacon's are ecclesiastical substitute teachers. We go to Mass expecting Father Tony, or even better Father Gallagher; but are not too put off by visiting Oblate Father Jonathan Ugalandoora from Uganda who offers a strict warning to be Goot Poisin Squirrels . . . EACH Dey, Nut Joost SahnDay.

The wheels can come off when Deacon Elmer majestically mounts the Oratory - that's the old time concrete mini-cathedral in older Churches that are rarely used for Homilies, unless a Deacon is present.

Deacon Elmer lays into it with a will and Testament! You hear about his childhood desire to be a priest and how it was his special task each Christmas to sprinkle the Lux laundry flakes over his sister Gwen's vanity mirror that the family placed in the the pillows of cotton under the Christmas Tree's Nativity Scene that young Elmer and Gwen turned into that great scene from It's a Wonderful Life with tiny painted metal ice-skaters placed on the mirror pond that Elmer showered with those Lux laundry flakes . . . leading up to Easter when they used Popsicle sticks to make three Crosses of Calvary and placed army men on each with the Lt. as Jesus . . .in the 3rd Grade Elmer was asked by Sister Dolorosa to monitor the cloak room and MONITOR he did! . . .( next 15 minutes -The Years of Triumph!!!) . . .Elmer became an altar boy in 1967 and continued to serve through high school at Quigley and all of the louses on Wood Street from Leo, Little Flower, and St. Lawrence would arch pop bottles from Hite's Candy Store when he got off the bus . . .in College . . . William Faulkner would blow his brains out, if he had to finish Elmer's homily.

By the time one and all reach the conclusion of WhateverThe#$%^ElmerWasTalkingAbout and the . . .

Profession of Faith - The Credo- "We Believe in One God the Father the Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth and please give this windy SOB a grabber!"

General Intercessions and Prayer of the Faithful - Generally are silent prayers for storms of righteous misery upon Deacon Elmer and all of his kin. What follows is a blurr:

Liturgy of the Eucharist
Preparation of the Gifts The Offertory LavaboThe Rite of Hand Washing, or Lavabo, Father is really cleaning his mitts, more in anguish and penitence over his numbness caused by Deacon Elmer

Prayer Over the Gifts"Pray, Brethren that my sacrifice andyours may be pleasing . . ." sacrifice? Absolutely!

Mass has been going for a good forty-five minutes now;thus in a somewhat quick succession"

Eucharistic Prayer/Sabctus
The Consecration

Bread and Wine become the Body and Blood of Christ! This is what Mass should be all about the TransubstantiationDuring the epiclesis or invocation, God is called upon to send the Holy Spirit and transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. "This is my Body!" The Bread/Christ/Faithful/Church are One!

Remembrance Death, Resurrection Ascension & etc. We have all of that going for us!

Offering With the priest we offer our lives up to Christ.

IntercessionsThe priest intercedes with the Father. We pray for those who have departed and we pray "for us sinners."

Final Doxology Father lifts the Host and the Chalice proclaiming the doxology, the words of praise linking the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
Communion Rite

The Lord's Prayer The absolute best prayer of any religion.

The Communion Rites continue and you look at your watch because you are supposed to be at St. George in twenty minutes. Gonna be late.

Agnus Dei
"Lamb of God." Qui tollis peccata Mundi! Who takes away the sins of the world? God, the burglar of sins! Pay attention.


We file up and take the Body of Christ from Father, Deacon Elmer, and the Eucharistic Mininsters on tongue or in palm. Some of us "pull a Murphy" and hot-foot it out of Church once Communion has been received. Most of us return to our pews in silnce and kneel in prayer until after Father has taken his chair for reflection.

Concluding Rite that used to be called the Last Gospel.

Announcements: "There's a benefit for the Santorini Family at Bourbon Street on July 25th. There will be a special collection after Mass for the next three weeks for those of you goin' on vacation and can't make on july 25th. See, Mike Thomas and Jimmy Finn . . .don't make them come and see you. Some of you could stand to part with some of your 1st Communion money. Oh, there's donuts after Mass next week."

Greeting and Blessing Father blesses us and might offer a commentary on our attendence or lack thereof, but after Deacon Elmer . . .maybe not.

Dismissal:Exeunt Omnes! One hour and twenty minutes and change with Deacon Elmer taking up the lion's share of the Ordinary. Without, a devout and fulfilling 40-45 minute Liturgy or weeks seem empty, but we are not Greek Orthodox or Two-A-Day Baptist and our kids are representing the parish a long way away. Father shakes hands and Deacon Elmer does his Pope Pius XII to one and all. The common-most-of-us avoid direct eye contact and the very best of us will ask Elmer, " All that Testor's glue you sniffed as kid really seems to have paid off, ther Elm."

Bishop Sample of UP Michigan has done us pew birds a real solid. Click my post title for the whole story.

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