Saints and Readings

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Q:  As I think ahead to next week and the Memorial of Sts. Timothy and Titus, I’m wondering about the history of the proper first reading for this day. This happens on other days as well (Mary Magdalene, Our Mother of Sorrows).  What’s up? THIS 1) To ensure that even if the other readings of the day are used, we hear a scriptural narrative relative to the day being celebrated (like in the case of Sorrows) or something written by them (Timothy and Titus) OR 2) Because these feasts had a higher rank in the old calendar, and now that they’re not “feasts”, they still need …

Kyrie and Sprinkling

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Q:  I have a question regarding the Kyrie—should it be done even with a sprinkling rite?  I know the sprinkling rite replaces the Penitential Act, but, in GIRM 52, it says “After the Act of Penitence, the Kyrie is always begun unless it has already ….”   Can you clarify? A:  The USCCB gave a L – O – N – G answer to this question starting on page 8 here:  http://www.usccb.org/about/divine-worship/newsletter/upload/newsletter-2014-02-and-03.pdf.   The short answer is no, don’t include the Kyrie when you sprinkle.

Striking the breast and bowing

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Q:  if an assembly stands during the entire Eucharistic Prayer and bows during the two times that the presider does within the prayer, after the elevation of the Body of Christ, and Blood of Christ … are people to strike the breast as they did a while back, after “do this in memory of me”?  I sometimes see people doing both, striking the breast and making a profound bow…isn’t bowing enough?  Could you share any history on this? A:   There has never been a rubric for people striking their breast during the elevation, nor for them to lower their heads. The rubrics are quite scant when it comes to …

Sign of the cross during Eucharistic Prayer I

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Q:  During Eucharistic Prayer I, when the sign of the cross is made by the presider, is it intended for the entire assembly to do so as well?  Is there any history that you could share about this? A:   The rubric in Prayer I says that the presider “signs himself with the Sign of the Cross.”  I know of no history where the assembly does this as well.

And with your spirit

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Q:   We’re using the Catholicism series by Robert Barron.  In the one on Eucharist he says that the reason to say “And with your spirit” is because it’s a response to the persona of Christ in which the priest is acting.  Is that your read on the meaning of the change of translation? A:    No, but it is an interpretation I’ve heard quite a bit, and it was the official stance of the USCCB. My position is that the greeting “The Lord be with you / And with your spirit” is based on biblical passages in the letters of …

Unconfirmed Catholic at a Baptism

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Q.  Can an unconfirmed Catholic serve as a Christian witness at a baptism? A.   An unconfirmed Catholic is not qualified to be a godparent, so someone has to fulfill that role. There is no provision in the law for an unconfirmed Catholic serving as a Christian witness, but it is a logical alternative as long as someone else serves as the godparent. The unconfirmed Catholic could take part in the liturgy with the godparent and pose for photos, but the church record has to indicate one godparent. You could also encourage the unconfirmed Catholic to take the necessary steps …

Priest Washing Hands at Mass

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Q.  Is the priest representing anyone when he washes his hands at mass? A.  No. There’s no connection to Pontius Pilate. The priest is praying that his own sins be washed away. The practice probably began as a way for the priest to wash up after handling the incense.

Saints and Votive Candle Holders

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Q.  There is a parishioner who says you MUST have a picture of a saint behind a votive candle holder.  Is there any teaching that says this? A.   Nope. There is no legislation governing votive candle holders and their relationship to pictures of saints. It would be appropriate, but not necessary.

Living together without marriage requesting sacraments

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Q.  “We have a woman in RCIA with her daughter (who is 18 and not baptized).  The daughter decided to become catholic and so the mother is supporting her by coming to classes with her.  The mother is a baptized catholic but was never confirmed.  She lives with the man with whom she has 4 children including the daughter who decided to become catholic.  They were never married.  Now the mother wants to come back to the catholic church with her daughter at Easter vigil.  My question is can I confirm her at Easter?  Can she be confirmed by the …