On this most sorrowful day in Irish history.
“When the time comes, as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God — and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there’ll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world — and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, ‘Spare him, because he loved us!'”
Congressman Henry Hyde
Look, Ma! No Hands!!
By Gino Galley
The issue I’m going to address here does not seem to be raised much in most Catholic discussions or periodicals. The reason, I’m guessing, is because the matter seems so minor, and even normal, to a large majority of Catholics in the U.S.A. that most of them do not even realize it is an issue at all!
It is a widespread practice (which somehow crept in) in the United States by which, during the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the Mass, everyone in the congregation would hold hands together. Ever since I started to attend Mass regularly (I am a convert to the Faith) I have seen this practice done regularly at my local parishes. Since everybody was doing it, I thought it was part of the liturgy, and so I innocently took part in it. I continued this liturgical feat for a couple of years more until, one day, I was listening to EWTN radio and heard Fr. Mitch Pacwa, a well-respected Jesuit priest and preacher for the Faith, speak on one of his talk shows; in it, he said that he said that he believed that holding hands during the Lord’s prayer is an illicit act in the Mass!
“What in Pete’s world is he saying?” I exclaimed to myself, “What’s so wrong about holding hands?” I did not understand, and so I went on the internet to research this claim using major (and authorized) Roman Catholic evangelization organizations such as Catholic Answers (www.catholic.com) and EWTN (www.ewtn.com). To my surprise, I found that the practice of holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer is indeed wrong; not in the action by itself, but in the fact that it is NOT part of the liturgy. That is, nowhere in the Roman Missal does it command or even mention such a gesture (compared to other gestures such as bowing during the Creed or making the sign of the cross for the gospels).
Though the Vatican has not addressed the issue directly, she has nonetheless used language that discourages holding hands in a document call the Notitiae, the official publication of the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship.
“The prolonged holding of hands [during the Lord’s prayer] is itself a sign of communion rather than of peace. Further, it is a liturgical gesture introduced spontaneously but on personal initiative; it is not in the rubrics.” (Notitiae 11  226, DOL 1502, no. R29).
Furthermore, canon law prohibits any changes or additions to the liturgy:
“The liturgical books approved by the competent authority are to be faithfully observed in the celebration of the sacraments; therefore, no one on personal authority may add, remove, or change anything in them.” (CIC 846, para. 1).
Once again, the Vatican currently has only used words that discourage the practice; she has not yet issued any official decision whether it is approved or prohibited (compared to something like liturgical dancing, which she directly declared forbidden).
Personally, I believe since it is only a matter of custom (which is changeable) rather than of doctrine (which can never change) the Church can approve it if She sees it fit. But until then, and with due respect to those who do practice it, I choose to prayerfully keep my hands folded during the Our Father in obedience to the rubrics of the liturgy of the Mass. The liturgy which “no one on personal authority may add, remove, or change anything in them”.
Novena to Saint Stephen
O glorious St. Stephen, first Martyr for the Faith, filled with compassion for those who invoke you, with love for those who suffer, heavily laden with the weight of my troubles. I kneel at your feet and humbly beg you to take my present need under your special protection …(mention here). Vouchsafe to recommend it to our Lord Jesus. Cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted. Above all, obtain for me the grace to one day meet God face to face, and with you and Mary and all the angels and saints praise Him through all eternity.
O most powerful Saint Stephen, Deacon and martyr, do not let me lose my soul, but obtain for me the grace of winning my way to heaven, forever and ever.
Every year on Mother’s Day, our parish gives a small bouquet of roses to the oldest mother in the congregation, the youngest one, the mother with the most children and the mother with the youngest child. When we got to asking the mother with the youngest child to stand up, it was asked that any pregnant woman stand – no pregnant women at Mass. Then, the question went from all the months of babyhood with no response and finally ended up with a ten year old. Many at Mass thought this was pretty amusing. I thought it was sad. Where have all the children gone?
I think that Archbishop Naumann of Kansas stated in 2014 what every Catholic pastor and bishop should put to their dioceses and congregations early and often: The question for Catholic couples should not be: How many children do we want to have?” According to the Church, Catholic couples should be open to having the children God gifts them. Too many, today, decide their ‘perfect’ family on the basis of providing them with all the pluses in life rather than the faith, sacrifice, and love of a family with more than one sibling.
In view of this, Archbishop Naumann has offered to take the time to baptize the third (fourth, fifth, etc.) child of any family in his diocese. He said, “My purpose in doing this is to demonstrate my personal support for those couples who take seriously the call to be generous in cooperating with God’s grace in giving life.”
Just about every bishop is bemoaning the lack of vocations and we do seriously have a shortage of priest and nuns. Why? Because parents want the perfect family and think that replicating themselves with a son and daughter, in many cases, fulfills the “go forth and multiple” BUT when it comes to vocations, they often feel that surely God wouldn’t take away their chance to have grandchildren so leave the vocations to some other family. These days, too many Catholics are relying on vocations coming from ‘some other family’.
I had a friend in school who had six brothers and the family lived in a three bedroom home but no one felt deprived and there was always a team to play ball. Another family in our parish in the olden days had thirteen children in a tract home but they were always dressed, clean, and happy. I learned later that all the children had gone on to be productive, well-educated people in the world. I don’t know if they had any vocations but I wouldn’t be surprised.
My husband and I married later in life having waited for the perfect person! Everyone was so pleased that we had the ‘standard’ boy and then a girl to complete our family. When we had our third, the world ‘forgave’ us for the ‘mishap’ but when we were expecting number four . . . The obstetrician for number four was so rude and antagonistic about me daring to have a baby outside of his view of when you should have a baby, we had to find another doctor weeks before the baby’s birth. You could say that with an agnostic doctor, you could expect that but I got similar remarks from other Catholics!
Well, God has given his mortal men freedom of choice but often our mortal choices are not in line with what God knows is best for us. Many proclaim the ‘Let Go and Let God’ but not when it comes to what they consider TOO many children. Life is an adventure and allowing God to work with and in our lives could bring about some joyous and learning events that may never have happened without our submission to God’s Will. When you deliberately limit your family, you may be limiting a multitude of blessings in your lives.
Send Your Holy Angel to Mass (Discovered on the Internet)
O holy Angel, at my side,
Go to the church for me
,Kneel in my place, at Holy Mass,
Where I desire to be.”
At Offertory, in my stead,
Take all I am and own,
And place it as a sacrifice,
Upon the Altar Throne.”
At holy Consecration’s bell,
Adore with Seraph’s love,
My Jesus, hidden in the Host,
Come down from heaven above.”
Then pray for those I dearly love,
And those who cause me grief,
That Jesus’ Blood may cleanse all hearts,
And suffering souls relieve.”
And when the priest Communion takes,
Oh, bring my Lord to me,
That His Sweet Heart may rest on mine,
And I His temple be.”
Pray that this Sacrifice Divine,
May mankind’s sins efface;
Then bring me Jesus’ blessing home,
The pledge of every grace.” Amen