Tag: Holy Mass

20 Mass Etiquettes To Remember At Mass

20 Mass Etiquettes To Remember At Mass

Distractions seen by the community.

Catholic Lectors and Altar Servers: Ettiquette is not only about behaviour at a party or formal meeting.

There is also Mass Etiquette which is neglected:

20 Things to remember at Mass.

1. One must fast for at least 1 hour before receiving Holy Communion. The only exceptions are medicine, water or unless someone is ill and needs to eat sooner.

2. Don’t pack a snack basket for kids. It’s not a picnic. The only exceptions would be milk for infants, water for the priest or choir and sick.

3. Don’t bite your nails, it indicates nervousness. Don’t shake your legs, it indicates tension. Don’t fidget with your hair, it indicates distraction. You may haven’t been taught this when you were young, that it is wrong to focus on any other person or object, when the focus should be on God alone.

4. Never chew gum in Church. It breaks your fast.

5. Cross yourself with Holy Water on entering and leaving the church. This is a reminder of our Baptism, which made us members of Christ’s Church.

6. Dress modestly, the Mass is not a fashion show. And Christmas and Easter masses are not a part of Milan Fashion Week. Dress in a way that gives witness to your faith not to seduce anyone. Don’t go for Mass to check out who is hot in the parish.

7. Come early and be as close to the altar as possible. Don’t walk in when half the mass is over. Don’t stand outside the Church. One shouldn’t go for Mass for the heck of it or to be noticed or to avoid uncomfortable questions.

8. Cell phones should never be used during Mass for checking messages, making calls or texting. Keep them on silent mode. No call is more important than Mass.

9. Youngsters should offer their seats to the pregnant, sick or aged who are standing.

10. When we enter and leave the Church, genuflect (bow your knee) towards the Tabernacle. Christ is present for our sake. By allowing our right knee to hit the floor, we acknowledge He is our Lord and God. If someone is physically unable to genuflect, then a bow is sufficient. During Mass, if you pass in front of the altar or tabernacle, bow reverently.

11. Sit quietly in Church. Don’t talk or comment on what others wear. You don’t go there to judge anyone’s dressing style, make -up or accessories.

12. Take loud children behind. Sometimes the baby will be restless. Parents with young kids should sit at the end of a pew, so that you can take the kid behind quickly. Don’t joke with them & disturb others during Mass. Stop them from playing with hymn books and reading materials. Don’t joke or play with toddlers during mass.

13. Prepare your offering before Mass. Christ tells us not to let your left hand know what your right hand is doing when you make your offering. Keeping the basket while you get your wallet out can be quite a scene. Digging the basket for change is wrong. Come to mass with your offering prepared.

14. No sleeping, day-dreaming, bulletin reading or saying the rosary during mass. Pay attention to God’s Word.

15. Respect the worship. Stand during the gospel reading and other set time during worship. Kneel at the consecration, it is part of worship. The only exceptions are for the sick, people with knee problems, aged and those with infants. If you can’t kneel occupy a pew that does not obstruct the view of the Lord from those who do kneel.

16. Bow before receiving Holy Communion, you are before God.

17. Say Amen and bow before receiving Communion. Do not drop the host, or play with it with your tongue or bite it.

18. Do not leave early. We should stay to the end of the final blessing and the recessional hymn that accompanies it, if there is one. Remember who left the Last Supper early (Judas).

19. Pray after Mass, thanking God for His abundant blessings.

20. Leave quietly. We encourage you to visit others especially your pastors as a part of Christian fellowship, but once you are outside of the main sanctuary of the church so you won’t disturb others who want to stay and pray.

*Don’t say’ Thank God mass is over,’ when you come out. You will sound as if you were forced to attend or as if it is a weekly punishment.

We may have not always behaved well during mass, but it’s never too late to learn.

Let’s share this with all, to know how important it is to behave well in Church.🙏

Holy Smokes: Why Catholics Use Incense In Worship 

Holy Smokes: Why Catholics Use Incense In Worship 

Holy Smokes: Why Catholics Use Incense in Worship.

At Mass and other liturgical services, we see priests and altar servers swinging censers, sending clouds of incense wafting through the air..

In Catholic liturgy, everything symbolizes a theological truth..

So, what does incense symbolize..?

Incense has been used in Christian liturgy from its earliest centuries..

In fact, it was a part of the Jewish tradition that came before it, a use that was commanded by God himself and recorded in Sacred Scripture..

Incense In The Old Testament.

God commanded Moses to make an Altar of Incense for worship in the Tabernacle:

“You shall make an altar to burn incense upon; of acacia wood shall you make it and Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it; every morning when he dresses the lamps, he shall burn it, and when Aaron sets up the lamps in the evening, he shall burn it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.. (Exodus 30:1-10).

God also commanded how the incense should be made, a “Holy Recipe”:

And the Lord said to Moses:

“Take sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum, sweet spices with pure frankincense (of each shall there be an equal part), and make an incense blended as by the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy; and you shall beat some of it very small, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting where I shall meet with you; it shall be for you most holy and the incense which you shall make according to its composition, you shall not make for yourselves; it shall be for you holy to the Lord..

Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people”. (Exodus 30:34-38).

From these passages and others, we infer that incense was part of a ritual cleansing and purification of the sacred space of the Tabernacle, making it a worthy place for the worship of God according to His terms.

In fact, frankincense, mentioned in the Bible, is now known to have antiseptic and disinfectant properties.

God gave these specific instructions to Moses because worship of God by Israel in His earthly Tabernacle was a pattern of the worship of God by the angels in His heavenly throne; that is, worship on earth was to be unified with the worship in heaven..

Incense In The New Testament.

The use of incense is also recorded in the New Testament..

Frankincense was one of the precious gifts that the Three Kings brought in homage to the Baby Jesus, which was a sign of his role as priest in addition to prophet and king.

In his apocalyptic visions of heaven, St. John the Apostle recorded that he saw incense being used in God’s heavenly throne:

“And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth; and he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne and when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints”. (Revelation 5:6-8).

In the above passage, incense is identified with the prayers of the saints.

In the one below, incense is added to the prayers of the saints by an angel, highlighting the mediation of the angels in our worship of God:

“And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God”. (Revelation 8:3-4).

Incense In Christian Liturgy.

From the Catholic Bible passages above in both the Old and the New Testaments, we can see that incense is an important part of the worship of God on earth, first by the Jews, and continued by the Christians.
The smoke of the incense is symbolic of sanctification and purification, as well as symbolic of the prayers of the faithful.

It is one of the outward signs of spiritual realities, and that is why it has its place in Christian liturgy.

These two purposes reveal a deeper truth that prayer itself purifies and sanctifies us, making us worthy of worshiping God in heaven for eternity with all the angels and saints.

Many Bible commentators show how the Tabernacle in the Old Testament is a pattern of us, human beings, as temples or dwelling places of the Holy Spirit.

Before we can dwell with God in eternity, there is a need for our purification and sanctification, the removal of sin. One of the ways this happens is through prayer.

This spiritual meaning is evident in the Wisdom books of the Old Testament, where prayer is connected with purification, making our prayer a sweet aroma rising up to God:

“Let my prayer be counted as incense before thee, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice!“(Psalm 141:2).

“Listen to me, O you holy sons, and bud like a rose growing by a stream of water, send forth fragrance like frankincense, and put forth blossoms like a lily.

Scatter the fragrance, and sing a hymn of praise, bless the Lord for all his works”. (Sirach 39: 13-14).

Incense Calls Us To Prayer.

When we see incense being used in our churches, it is meant to remind us of heaven, and that our worship of God in the Christian liturgy is Divine in origin.

It also reminds us to pray, and that our prayer rises to God like the smoke from the censer, purifying our worship of God, and allowing his Holy Spirit to work in us to make us holy.

“The usage of incense adds a sense of solemnity and mystery to the Mass. The visual imagery of the smoke and the smell remind us of the transcendence of the Mass which links Heaven with earth, and allow us to enter into the presence of God”.

– Father William Saunders.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass transcends space and time, and the use of incense helps the worshiper to enter into this eternal reality through the use of the external senses.

How To Participate At Mass 

How To Participate At Mass 

The good news is this: In as much as we need to cooperate with Christ in celebrating the liturgy, the power of the Mass does not depend on us. Christ always and perfectly does his part. We need only to open ourselves up to him and the Mass will work.

Lift up your hearts! The priest bids us at the very heart of the Mass itself. God always accomplishes the divine part of the bargain. So how might we get involved better at Mass?

1. Listen: it’s hard work

It’s not so easy to simply listen today. We are so used to seeing a story as well as hearing it: watching television, going to the movies. And it’s difficult enough to follow the plot of a modern soap opera, let alone the stories of ancient Israel and the first Christians. But Baptism gives us the grace to hear the Word of God. Just as Jesus opened the ears of the man who could not hear, he opens our ears to hear God talking to us today in the old and holy words of scripture.

Can you remember a time, your loved one tried to tell you something you didn’t quite comprehend at first. What did you do? Most likely you positioned your body carefully so you could pay attention. You listened clearly, with your heart and mind as well as your ears.

The proclaiming of scripture and preaching at Mass is like this. The One who loves us beyond all telling is telling us. The proclaiming of scripture and the preaching of the homily at Mass is not like someone giving a report, it is a living dialogue between God and the church. And when God speaks, things happen.

So strive to listen. Position your body so that you can concentrate. Unless you have a hearing impairment or difficulty comprehending the language in which the scriptures are read, put down the missal and truly listen. When we have a lively dialogue with someone we love, we don’t read the newspaper at the same time. We look into each other’s eyes and listen deeply. We should do the same thing with the reader and the preacher.

Let the scripture and homily wash over you, and pay attention to the droplets that stick.

Some people read the assigned scriptures before Mass. Make it a point of duty to always go back to the scriptures that were read first at Mass again and again throughout the week. If nothing else, try to recall the verse from the responsorial psalm and use it as your prayer during the week.

During periods of silence, don’t pick the lint off your lapel, futz with or read anything. Listen for God’s voice. If you listen clearly, you’ll hear it.

2. Enter into mystery

The Greek word for church means “those whom God has called together.” Adopted by God in Baptism, we are brothers and sisters of Christ and hence brothers and sisters of each other. No other bond, not age or race or ethnicity or sexual orientation or political affiliation or economic status or educational background – not even biological relationship – is stronger than the bond of the water of Baptism that draws us together. This water is thicker than blood. This does not mean we all have to be best friends. But we have to act like we are more than just a bunch of strangers in the same room at the same time doing the same thing.

Practice this: Be alert about the presence of others as you get out of your car or walk toward your church. Make eye contact. Smile, nod, say hello. Recall that after he rose from the dead, Christ appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus as a stranger. And Mary Magdalene mistook him for the gardener.

Consider reaching early so you can spend some time in quiet solitude in the Blessed Sacrament chapel if your church has one. The Eucharist reserved in the tabernacle came from a prior celebration of the Mass, so praying in the presence of Christ in this manner can help us meditate on how to penetrate more deeply into the sacrifice the next time we go to Mass.

Bless yourself with holy water to recall who you are (a baptized person) and why you are here (because you are a baptized person). If you see the gifts of bread and wine set out, stop for a minute. Look at the bread. Place alongside the bread all that you have fulfilled in the past week: the work you did, the test you took, all the simple acts of kindness you expressed. Also place there all the things the parish did this past week to educate children, care for the sick, feed the hungry, stand up for the oppressed.

Look at the flagon of wine. Put into the flagon all the struggles that you passed through in the past week: to comprehend others better, to love others more. Put in the flagon, too, all the things the parish struggles with: the attempts to be a more inclusive community, a more vibrant community, a more faithful community. These, then, are the things we will offer to God under the signs of bread and wine.

Take a seat up front and move to the center. This isn’t being proud. Save the seats by the doors for those who arrive late. Save the seats on the aisles for those who may have to exercise a ministry, walk a baby, or sit next to someone in a wheelchair.

Bow to the altar before taking your place. Don’t just nod your head: Bend deeply, gracefully from the waist. Recognize Christ in this sign: a dining table where God eats with us and heaven comes to earth like a feast comes to those who are starving. When you bow to the altar, you bow to Christ.

If the tabernacle is not in its own chapel but in the main body of the church, our tradition is to genuflect to the tabernacle rather than bowing to the altar. After acknowledging Christ present at the altar or in the tabernacle, affirm Christ present in those sitting around you. Say hello, or at least offer a simple smile and a nod. Some people like to kneel and pray after taking their seat. In some monasteries, the practice is to stand attentively for a few moments before sitting. When you sit, prepare your donation and find the opening song. If you picked up the bulletin, don’t read it immediately.

3. Sing for your supper

Singing together blends many voices into one. Won’t you join your voice to the great voice of the Body of Christ? The musicians are there to lead and to assist, not to perform. We are there not to be entertained, but to sing.

Singing together is a great experience. Assembling as the church at liturgy gives us an opportunity rarely found in our technological culture: an opportunity to make music with our voices, to sing together. There is a power in our common song to spread joy to hearts that are without joy, to share sorrow so that the burden is lighter for all, to give voice to hope and yearning and gratitude and love that words alone cannot show.

4. Give it up! 

When we come to the heart of the Mass, the great prayer of thanks and praise, put your heart into it! After you make your donation, stop for a second and think of all the things you are most thankful for right now. As you watch the gifts of bread and wine being placed on the altar, recall that you put yourself alongside that bread and in that flagon when you first came in. Understand that you (and we) are being offered to God under the signs of bread and wine.

And here’s the miracle. The God who created the heavens and the earth and everything in them, the God who wove the night sky and buttoned it with stars, the living God accepts our gift of self under the sign of bread and wine. Then God changes those gifts into the Body and the Blood of his beloved child Jesus Christ and gives it back to us.

Our medieval ancestors wanted to know particularly at what point the bread and wine become Christ’s Body and Blood. They settled on Christ’s very own words that the priest repeats in the middle of the eucharistic prayer, and these words came to be called “the consecration.” Today we are aware that the whole Eucharistic Prayer consecrates the gifts. It would be a grave mistake for a priest to omit all but the words of consecration. In fact, a few years ago, the pope approved an ancient Eucharistic Prayer for continued use in some of the Eastern churches. it’s called the Anaphora of Addai and Mari. It does not contain the words of consecration but in other words, calls down the Holy Spirit to make the gifts the Body and the Blood of Christ. The pope said that this prayer still purifies.

It’s easy to check out while the priest says the long Eucharistic Prayer. Don’t do it! Don’t miss out on the divine gift exchange. Especially important are our proclamations that are part of this prayer: the Holy, Holy, the Memorial Proclamation and the Great Amen. Sing them from your heart, and remember that in doing so we are joining in the singing of the angels and the saints before God’s throne.

Next, we pray the Lord’s Prayer together, and it’s easy to simply say it from memory without thinking much about it. Here’s where posture can assist. Our bodies can help keep our minds centered on the meaning of these most beautiful words. If your parish holds hands, then hold hands. 

5. Sing, walk, eat, drink

Going for Communion is not meant to be like going through the drive-through at a fast food restaurant. it’s a communal procession in which we walk and sing together in order to eat and drink together. The communion that we share is on two levels: our communion with Christ and our communion with each other.

So sing as you walk! Most music ministers now use Communion songs with short refrains so that you won’t need to carry a hymnal or song sheet. (If they don’t, you might suggest it). Walk with the music. If you receive Communion in your mouth, walk with hands folded. If you receive Communion in your hand, walk forward with your one hand cupped in the other, palm upward, ready, eager, to receive.

Don’t pass by the cup! (Unless of course, you have a very specific medical reason for doing so). The chances of catching a cold or worse are minuscule. But the chances of catching Christ’s life and spirit as well as communion with Christ and your sisters and brothers is high.

If it’s your parish’s custom to bow before receiving the consecrated bread and the consecrated wine, then do so slowly, carefully, gracefully.

Sing on your way back to your place. In as much as most parishes in the U.S. don’t do so, the official posture during Communion is to stand until all have received. But if your parish kneels or sits, then do what you are comfortable doing. Keep singing. This song is not a distraction, but one of the methods that Christ uses to make us one with him and with each other.

If you were taught to kneel and bury your face in your hands after Communion, you may want to rethink this practice. It’s not that it’s bad or wrong, although it is difficult to sing this way. Instead, on further reflection, there may be routines that better enable you to involve fully in the Mass at this point. The Mass is not time for private prayer – it is thoroughly a communal act. This may sound harsh, especially since many of us yearn today for moments of solitude.

The Mass, especially at this moment, is not about solitude, but about communion, being one with others in Christ.

Practice this: While singing the Communion song, watch the faces of others going to and coming back from the altar. See in each face the face of Christ. Recall that after his Resurrection, Jesus often appeared to his followers in the guise of a stranger. But it was in the breaking of the bread that they saw him.

There should be a moment of communal silence after all have received Communion and the singing is completed. Here is our opportunity to “rest in the Lord” for a moment before concluding and going back into the fray of daily living. Here, you may bow your head and close your eyes if that assists you to pray. Whatever posture you assume, don’t fidget with your belongings or read the bulletin. Simply say “thanks” to God in the silence of your heart.

Why You Must Stay Awake During Mass

Why You Must Stay Awake During Mass

During Mass, the risen Jesus is present. He comes to walk and talk with us. He opens the Scriptures for us and challenges us to open our hearts to believe in him. He breaks the bread for us just as he did with his apostles and gives himself to us in his Body and Blood.

Jesus taught the first Christians that when we gather on Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, we are not gathering only with family and friends in our parishes but also with his angels and saints for he is also present on the altar. He is the altar on which the lamb would be sacrificed, the priest and the sacrificial lamb as well.

In a mysterious way, our Mass on earth unites us with God and the heavenly choir in the eternal liturgy of heaven. Our worship in the Mass also makes us one Body in Christ with our fellow Catholics everywhere in the world — in every nation from the rising of the sun to its setting.

Thus, we must approach every Mass with a spirit of reverence and respect.

Your experience of the Mass will change if you try to get there a little early so that you have time to settle your mind and prepare your heart.

Try to enter the sanctuary slowly, reverently and without speaking. Spend a few minutes kneeling and talking to Jesus Christ with real intimacy in the silence of your heart.

When Mass begins and the priest processes to the altar, try to keep in mind that he is not only our friend and our pastor but a physical representation of Christ Ordained by God.

Thus, he will pray and offer the sacrifice of the Mass in the person of Jesus Christ — in persona Christi.

The priest calls us into God’s presence, greeting us with the salutation used by God’s angels in the Bible. When he says, “The Lord be with you,” we should have the same joy that the Blessed Virgin Mary had when God’s angel spoke those words to her.

The priest might instead use St. Paul’s apostolic greeting: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

In our new Mass translation, the priest will pray that more precise word, “communion,” instead of “fellowship,” which we are used to hearing. The people will also respond with new words: “And with your spirit.” These words too are from St. Paul.

These small changes remind us that in the Mass, God is sharing himself with us in his Spirit of love, and in his Spirit of love, he is drawing all of us into communion as one family of God.

And with your spirit reminds us that we are more than our material bodies. In Baptism, God has poured his love into our hearts through the gift of his Spirit, making each of us a child of God. What a beautiful gift!

As Jesus said that God is Spirit, and he calls us to worship him in spirit and in truth. The Mass is Spiritual as it has been for Christians since the beginning. In our worship, we join ourselves to Christ’s great act of love on the cross. “Through him, with him and in him”, we offer our lives to God and to our brothers and sisters in love.

May Our Lady help us to stay awake during Mass this week and as well better live the Mass.

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