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Online Edition - Vol. IX, No. 2: April 2003

About Letters to the Editor

READERS' FORUM

Readers' Forum -- the lively "Letters to the Editor" of the Adoremus Bulletin provides a forum for exchange of ideas, comment and information on the sacred liturgy -- but the letters column is not normally published online . ( Sample letters below ).

If you are reading the Adoremus Bulletin in the "online edition" only, you are missing one of the most popular and useful features of the journal. To become a member of Adoremus -- and receive the "hard-copy" edition, including the "Readers Forum", see Membership page.

We are grateful for your letters. While we read every letter, we get so many that it is impossible to answer or publish all of them. In selecting those to appear in "Readers Forum", preference will be given to subjects of widest interest. Letters should be 250 words or fewer, preferably typed. They may be e-mailed. Please include your name, address, city and state (which may be withheld on request). If a letter refers to a previous issue of AB, please include the date of that issue and name of article. All letters may be edited for publication. Be sure to indicate clearly if your letter is NOT intended for publication.

We are grateful for your letters. While we read every letter, we get so many that it is impossible to answer or publish all of them. In selecting those to appear in "Readers Forum", preference will be given to subjects of widest interest. Letters should be 250 words or fewer, preferably typed. They may be e-mailed . Please include your name, address, city and state (which may be withheld on request). If a letter refers to a previous issue of AB , please include the date of that issue and name of article. All letters may be edited for publication. Be sure to indicate clearly if your letter is NOT intended for publication.

****

Reader's Forum April 2003

Lollipop of Christ? -- Donation Date Reminder Helpful -- Sand in the Holy Water Font? -- What Are We for? -- Thankful for Our Parish -- "Worship Space" Woes -- Keep Hope Alive -- Survey Follow-Up -- Extraordinary Ministers Are Necessary -- Baptismal Fonts -- Reverence at Any Age -- Subscriptions for Seminarians -- Mass is the Perfect Prayer -- Saint Joseph -- Online Source of Mass Music -- Kneeling SITuation -- A-choired Taste -- Defining Catholic

****

Sand in the Holy Water Font?

Our parish has adopted again the desert theme to decorate the church during Lent. The controversy revolves around the holy water bowl. In some parishes it is taken out, in ours it was one year filled with sand and last year half filled with pebbles. They plan to do the same this year.

Many find this unacceptable, and so do I. Please help in providing arguments to present to the decorating team. Our parish priest does not intervene.

Anne Ridler -- via e-mail

Response

There is no authorization whatever in the approved liturgical books for removing holy water or draining fonts during the entire length of Lent -- and especially silly is replacing it with sand or pebbles.

The fonts containing holy water are not mere decorations to be changed when we get bored with them, but are sacramentals, potent symbols of the water of baptism. When we make the sign of the cross with holy water upon entering a church, this is a sign of our baptism.

The holy water fonts are not to be empty until Good Friday (after Mass Holy Thursday evening), and they are replenished at the Easter Vigil with the newly blessed baptismal water.

Trying to make church decorations symbolize a "desert experience" during Lent was a fad among some liturgists a few years ago. As with such fads, however, it is now out of style, even among trendy liturgists.

For more clarification on this, see the letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship on page 5 of this issue.

****

Mass is the Perfect Prayer

Our children are our blessings. The greatest task we have been given is to see to it that they, and we, get to heaven. The Bible and the Church have always stressed that prayer and fasting are the best ways to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks, and in this day and age, this, our greatest task, sure does seem impossible.

The Church has never changed her teaching that the Mass is the best prayer. We have eight children and I started taking them to Mass the day we got home from the hospital, post-delivery. Though my attendance at Mass was not always the best, attention-wise, the sacrifice I could at that point offer along with the priest to God was much greater thanks to their presence. There it is! The formula to get them and us to heaven, the perfect prayer plus sacrifice!

One of our children is profoundly disabled and hyperactive. Her activity level makes a whirling dervish look calm. After fifteen years of going to Mass, she is not only calmer there than anywhere else, but she actually folds her hands and makes the sign of the cross and sits, much to the amazement of all who know her. In short, she is most reverent and not at all super-hyperactive.

Why? Perhaps it is the familiarity of the church (yet at home where she is also very familiar she is quite active!) Perhaps it is because the rest of the family and Mass-goers are quiet and reverent? Perhaps, just perhaps, the perfect prayer - the Mass - embraces her pure innocence and God calms her and lifts the burden of her cross, just like He does for all of us!

Dear reader, take your children to Mass. It is the very best gift you can give them. Ask for yourself the patience you need at the Holy Sacrifice, and in His time you will receive it. Remember our family in your prayers and be assured of our prayers too.

Barbara Fredericks -- Rochester, New York

Response

Thank you for sharing your story with us. Read on for another take on this topic....

Back when my daughters were still toddlers they indeed could be a handful when we attended Mass each Sunday. My youngest even once crawled partway to the altar going under the pews and people's feet before we realized what she had done. Talk about embarrassment!

Yet it wasn't until my wife received an anonymous call that in no uncertain terms told her to "leave your kids at home" that I took action.

I decided to take pen in hand and write a letter to our parish that I distributed by hand and left in our church with the bulletins the next Sunday. It put into context the reason to accept all babies and toddlers at Mass.

It went as follows....

Children in Church

My mom and dad they bring me here
because it's what they ought to do.
I know I talk instead of sing
And play instead of pray
Which causes people to call my mom and say
That at home I ought to stay.
Yet even though I am this small
And at times I like to crawl
You must agree that when it comes to God
I'm the closest to Him of all!!!

My oldest daughter while still in preschool attended her first Stations of the Cross with me. She had her own little picture book of each station to follow. The twelfth station really frightened her. Wanting to know more as we stood there she asked in a loud stage whisper, "Daddy did this happen when you were little?"

Thinking that she was asking if I ever went to stations when I was her age I whispered back "Yes, Daddy came to this when he was little".

"No, did Jesus die when you were little?", she replied.

"That happened a long long time ago", was all I could think to say. Yet you could see in her eyes that she was still trying to understand it in her terms.

It was only after I thought of our discourse that my daughter's questions made me realize that, yes, the crucifixion did happen when I was little. In fact it is still happening at the consecration of every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass I will ever attend. How does the saying go... "Out of the mouth of babes!!!"

Bob Okraszewski -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

If you are reading the Adoremus Bulletin in the "online edition" only, you are missing one of the most popular and useful features of the journal. To become a member of Adoremus -- and receive the "hard-copy" edition, including the "Readers Forum", see Membership page.

We are grateful for your letters. While we read every letter, we get so many that it is impossible to answer or publish all of them. In selecting those to appear in "Readers Forum", preference will be given to subjects of widest interest. Letters should be 250 words or fewer, preferably typed. They may be e-mailed . Please include your name, address, city and state (which may be withheld on request). If a letter refers to a previous issue of AB , please include the date of that issue and name of article. All letters may be edited for publication. Be sure to indicate clearly if your letter is NOT intended for publication.


Reader's Forum April 2003

Lollipop of Christ? -- Donation Date Reminder Helpful -- Sand in the Holy Water Font? -- What Are We for? -- Thankful for Our Parish -- "Worship Space" Woes -- Keep Hope Alive -- Survey Follow-Up -- Extraordinary Ministers Are Necessary -- Baptismal Fonts -- Reverence at Any Age -- Subscriptions for Seminarians -- Mass is the Perfect Prayer -- Saint Joseph -- Online Source of Mass Music -- Kneeling SITuation -- A-choired Taste -- Defining Catholic

****

Sand in the Holy Water Font?

Our parish has adopted again the desert theme to decorate the church during Lent. The controversy revolves around the holy water bowl. In some parishes it is taken out, in ours it was one year filled with sand and last year half filled with pebbles. They plan to do the same this year.

Many find this unacceptable, and so do I. Please help in providing arguments to present to the decorating team. Our parish priest does not intervene.

Anne Ridler
via e-mail

Response

There is no authorization whatever in the approved liturgical books for removing holy water or draining fonts during the entire length of Lent -- and especially silly is replacing it with sand or pebbles.

The fonts containing holy water are not mere decorations to be changed when we get bored with them, but are sacramentals, potent symbols of the water of baptism. When we make the sign of the cross with holy water upon entering a church, this is a sign of our baptism.

The holy water fonts are not to be empty until Good Friday (after Mass Holy Thursday evening), and they are replenished at the Easter Vigil with the newly blessed baptismal water.

Trying to make church decorations symbolize a "desert experience" during Lent was a fad among some liturgists a few years ago. As with such fads, however, it is now out of style, even among trendy liturgists.

For more clarification on this, see the letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship on page 5 of this issue.

****

Mass is the Perfect Prayer

Our children are our blessings. The greatest task we have been given is to see to it that they, and we, get to heaven. The Bible and the Church have always stressed that prayer and fasting are the best ways to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks, and in this day and age, this, our greatest task, sure does seem impossible.

The Church has never changed her teaching that the Mass is the best prayer. We have eight children and I started taking them to Mass the day we got home from the hospital, post-delivery. Though my attendance at Mass was not always the best, attention-wise, the sacrifice I could at that point offer along with the priest to God was much greater thanks to their presence. There it is! The formula to get them and us to heaven, the perfect prayer plus sacrifice!

One of our children is profoundly disabled and hyperactive. Her activity level makes a whirling dervish look calm. After fifteen years of going to Mass, she is not only calmer there than anywhere else, but she actually folds her hands and makes the sign of the cross and sits, much to the amazement of all who know her. In short, she is most reverent and not at all super-hyperactive.

Why? Perhaps it is the familiarity of the church (yet at home where she is also very familiar she is quite active!) Perhaps it is because the rest of the family and Mass-goers are quiet and reverent? Perhaps, just perhaps, the perfect prayer - the Mass - embraces her pure innocence and God calms her and lifts the burden of her cross, just like He does for all of us!

Dear reader, take your children to Mass. It is the very best gift you can give them. Ask for yourself the patience you need at the Holy Sacrifice, and in His time you will receive it. Remember our family in your prayers and be assured of our prayers too.

Barbara Fredericks
Rochester, New York

Response

Thank you for sharing your story with us. Read on for another take on this topic....

Back when my daughters were still toddlers they indeed could be a handful when we attended Mass each Sunday. My youngest even once crawled partway to the altar going under the pews and people's feet before we realized what she had done. Talk about embarrassment!

Yet it wasn't until my wife received an anonymous call that in no uncertain terms told her to "leave your kids at home" that I took action.

I decided to take pen in hand and write a letter to our parish that I distributed by hand and left in our church with the bulletins the next Sunday. It put into context the reason to accept all babies and toddlers at Mass.

It went as follows....

Children in Church
My mom and dad they bring me here
because it's what they ought to do.
I know I talk instead of sing
And play instead of pray
Which causes people to call my mom and say
That at home I ought to stay.
Yet even though I am this small
And at times I like to crawl
You must agree that when it comes to God
I'm the closest to Him of all!!!

My oldest daughter while still in preschool attended her first Stations of the Cross with me. She had her own little picture book of each station to follow. The twelfth station really frightened her. Wanting to know more as we stood there she asked in a loud stage whisper, "Daddy did this happen when you were little?"

Thinking that she was asking if I ever went to stations when I was her age I whispered back "Yes, Daddy came to this when he was little".

"No, did Jesus die when you were little?", she replied.

"That happened a long long time ago", was all I could think to say. Yet you could see in her eyes that she was still trying to understand it in her terms.

It was only after I thought of our discourse that my daughter's questions made me realize that, yes, the crucifixion did happen when I was little. In fact it is still happening at the consecration of every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass I will ever attend. How does the saying go... "Out of the mouth of babes!!!"

Bob Okraszewski
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

***

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