Skip to comments.Angry priest: “I’ve had it!” with sacrament prep of young people!
Posted on 06/21/2012 3:08:22 PM PDT by NYer
A while back I gave a talk in Chicago to the group Legatus. I had the great pleasure of meeting several great priests. One of them was Fr. Richard Simon, Pastor of St. Lambert’s in Skokie. Fr. Simon is a regular host of Relevant Radio’s “Go ask your Father”.
Father is fed up with religious education as it is. He rants in his blog post and I must share some of it with my emphases and comments:
When I realized that Eastern Rite Catholics from the Middle East dont have Communion and Confirmation classes, a light went on in my head. They receive first Communion and Confirmation when they are Baptized, even if they are infants. They have religious education for the rest of their lives and, consequently, they have a spiritual life. They are prepared for the Sacrament of Penance, but not for Communion and Confirmation. The result is that they have a vibrant spiritual like that they have maintained in the face of 1,300 years of unremitting persecution. In this country, we cant manage a religious life because we are up against team sports.
I intend to drop the classroom model and go to a discipleship model that is called Youthchurch. It will involve Bibles, catechisms and water balloons. And maybe doughnuts. I will know the program is a success when I find that the kids are mad at their parents for missing Mass on Sunday.
I no longer intend to prepare children for First Communion and Confirmation. There will no longer be First Communion and Confirmation classes. How and when will the children receive Communion and Confirmation? They will receive when they are ready. When are they ready? They are ready when they want the Sacrament. How do we know they want the Sacrament? When they understand it, can tell the pastor what it is and why they want it. [OORAH!] If they are not in ongoing religious education and they are not coming to Mass on regular basis, they dont want the Sacrament.
I am tired to distraction of having to chase young people down the aisles in church to retrieve the Blessed Sacrament because they have no clue what it is. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] A year or so back, I was offering a funeral Mass and a teenaged girl came up for Communion, took the host, looked at it, turned it over and began to walk away holding it in her palm. I followed her and asked, Have you made your First Communion? She said simply, Im Jewish. I smiled and said, Perhaps I should take that from you. Quite a few of the mourners were furious with me for my discourtesy.
At another funeral not long ago I saw a passel of tattooed and pierced adolescents coming down the aisle at a funeral. It was a large funeral so a number of priests were helping with Communion. I had finished my line so I stood about ten paces from the celebrant, a visiting priest. The first of the young Goths received the host, looked at it curiously and as she passed me I asked, are you Catholic? She said, no. I said Perhaps I should take that. So there began a curious ritual, of clueless youths. One priest would say Body of Christ and the second priest would say Ill just take that.
Ive had it. My efforts will be directed to preparing people for the Sacrament of Conversion (Maybe you call it Penance or Reconciliation. Whatever.) Then maybe the little dears will understand that Communion is more than an edible poker chip. Registration will take place over the summer. I will be doing it personally. If you are registered in the parish and using envelopes, that will be the first step to getting your child in Youthchurch. How else can I tell if you are coming to Mass? As Ive said before I dont care that moneys in the envelope, I care that you are in the pew.
How very intriguing!
WDTPRS kudos to Fr. Simon!
A quite misleading statement. As many of you know, I am a Roman Catholic practicing my faith in a Maronite Catholic Church. Many of our children attend catholic school AND religious education classes at the parish level. The rel ed classes supplement the catholic school program by introducing these children to their Maronite heritage.
In the Maronite Tradition, children are baptized and chrismated at the same time. Like children in the Latin Church, however, they are prepared for First Penance and First Communion through the religious education program, and receive both mysteries (sacraments) in 2nd grade. It is important to note that parents are strong supporters of the program and often volunteer to teach these classes.
This year, we had only one 2nd grader, a young boy who attends an all boys catholic school. According to his grandmother, in May the school invited a Franciscan brother to celebrate Mass and administer First Communion to the 2nd graders, on a Friday afternoon. The young boy did not want to appear different from his peers and attended the service. The only family member in attendance was his grandmother. There was nothing special about the mass and communion was distributed in the hand.
The grandmother later spoke with the pastor of our Maronite parish. Together with the young boy, they agreed that First Communion is so important that it deserved a worthier celebration. They fixed the date for June 17. Invitations were sent out to distant relatives. The boy's maternal grandmother flew in from Lebanon. A large group came from MA. The boy's uncle, ordained a deacon in March, was invited to assist at the liturgy, read the Gospel, deliver the homily and administer First Communion in the Maronite Tradition - by intinction and on the tongue - to the young boy.
One of the parishioners is a florist and he decorated the church with symbols of grapes and wheat. Missalettes, customized with the child's name, were printed. The Godparents wrote the intentions and one of them served as lector for the Arabic reading; the young boy beautifully delivered the reading (from the 1st Letter of John) in English , two cousins served as peace bearers, and Deacon Norman wore the stole gifted to him by our parish on the occasion of his ordination. Just prior to communion, the young boy delivered a profession of faith. After being reminded that:
On the day you were baptized, your godparents professed the faith on your behalf, today you will now voluntarily repeat those same vows.
After being asked a series of questions by the Director for Religious Education, to which he responded: Yes, I believe., he made the following profession:
My Lord Jesus Christ, I firmly believe that I am about to receive in Holy Communion, Your Body, Your Blood, Your Soul and Your Divinity. I believe it because You have said it and I am ready to give my life to maintain this truty.
At the conclusion of the liturgy, the young boy offered up this Prayer of Thanksgiving:
O Sweet Jesus, with this First Holy Communion, I offer to you my thoughts, my words and all that I do. May your grace help me to be ready to receive you always. Body of Christ, true bread of life, stay always in my heart! Thank you, Lord, for coming, I'm so glad that you are here. Even when I leave this church, I know that you will be near. Help me to speak and act today, that everyone may see: I'm ver special - Jesus lives in me!
The beauty of small parishes is that such personalization is integrated into the liturgy. This Sunday, the boy's cousin will be received into the Catholic Church via the Mysteries (Sacraments) of Baptism and Chrismation. Here again, the maternal grandparents have flown in from Lebanon for this joyous event. As a parish community, we ALL feel a part of these milestones and join the family with our prayers and best wishes.
What you call Protestants have been doing that from the beginning, fr.
In Eastern Orthodoxy, it is common for the priest or deacon to ask “Are you Orthodox?” to a strange face. In which case the blessed bread, antidoron, is offered, usually by other parish members.
Reminds me off Billy Jeff in South Africa. His generation should know better.
totally wrong. The Eastern schism did not sever the relationship between the Eastern and Roman church. The protestand revolution did. The eastern and western branches of Catholicism are united in most things except the leadership role. The protestant revolution severed relationships because the "reformers" decided that they knew better how to interpret the teachings of Christianity than did either the eastern or roman catholic church.
One of the parishioners is a florist and he decorated the church with symbols of grapes and wheat. Missalettes, customized with the child's name, were printed. The Godparents wrote the intentions and one of them served as lector for the Arabic reading; the young boy beautifully delivered the reading (from the 1st Letter of John) in English , two cousins served as peace bearers, and Deacon Norman wore the stole gifted to him by our parish on the occasion of his ordination. Just prior to communion, the young boy delivered a profession of faith.
Beautiful! A child never forgets his or her First Communion, and this boy's family and religious community made certain that this First Communion was more than memorable. God bless them all.
>>I am tired to distraction of having to chase young people down the aisles in church to retrieve the Blessed Sacrament because they have no clue what it is. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] A year or so back, I was offering a funeral Mass and a teenaged girl came up for Communion, took the host, looked at it, turned it over and began to walk away holding it in her palm. I followed her and asked, Have you made your First Communion? She said simply, Im Jewish. I smiled and said, Perhaps I should take that from you. Quite a few of the mourners were furious with me for my discourtesy.<<
In my parish, our wonderful Pastor does a quick explanation of what the Holy Eucharist is, how only Catholics who have been to confession may receive and how non-Catholics are welcome to come up for a blessing. He doesn’t have to chase anyone.
Hey FATHER.....we ALWAYS had sports, but we USE to have parents thatknew how to raise religious children!!!
I used the word 'Protestant' to describe those non Catholic beliefs of knowledgeably believing to be saved .. born again .. and baptism after believing.
My statement in no way was meant to induce a cliff notes history lesson.
If you really love words .. I'm an Anabaptist.
Mr Simon correctly has reached a level of comprehension that ... what you call Protestant ... has believed and preached from the beginning.
Being born into a Catholic family but leaving Catholicism after reaching understanding is not schismatic, breaking off, splintering nor protesting.
It's like learning how to bake a cake that doesn't fall.
Back in the 50’s, we first graders dressed in long light yellow dresses and the boys had outfits like Chistopher Columbus and they were our “escorts”, and when we got to the second grade and received our First Communion, we had the first graders as “escorts”......it was VERY special and VERY religious.....as Holy Communion should be!!!
“Being born into a Catholic family but leaving Catholicism after reaching understanding is not schismatic, breaking off, splintering nor protesting.
It’s like learning how to bake a cake that doesn’t fall. “
Um, sure. Whatever.
**In my parish, our wonderful Pastor does a quick explanation of what the Holy Eucharist is, how only Catholics who have been to confession may receive and how non-Catholics are welcome to come up for a blessing. He doesnt have to chase anyone.**
We do this too, even at Sunday Masses.
sure it is...Christ founded only one christian religion, not 20,000 "denominations". If you leave Catholicism, you are indeed either a fallen away Catholic, or if you join a denomination, you are a protestant...that's just the way it is. You could also become a muslim (not recommended)
Good thing he's a stickler on reminding people what the Eucharist is, now if he would can the blessing during Communion which is a liturgical abuse and a violation of the rubrics.
>>now if he would can the blessing during Communion which is a liturgical abuse and a violation of the rubrics. <<
Not in our parish. We are a Slovak parish with our Priests under their Bishops in Slovakia where blessings are not illicit.
Asian Priests are also allowed blessings under their Bishops, from what I have heard.
Our priests are also encouraged to distribute the Eucharist by intinction while we kneel.
Jesus came into his own and his own received him not, but as many as received him to them gave he power to become sonsof God, even to them that believe on his name.
If there was nothing else written, that in itself demands self awareness and acknowledgement of Jesus and divinity
But there's more, (because they whom have received him were not;)
born of blood (into a family), not of the will of the flesh (I have decided I want to be), n or of the will of man (any church ritual Jesus never performed) ...
but of God.
Now it's late guys, and I'm not going to get into a religious pissing match with anyone.
I say, Welcome mister Simon to the family.
“Not in our parish. We are a Slovak parish with our Priests under their Bishops in Slovakia where blessings are not illicit.”
A priest can bless someone in the communion line. A lay person cannot. I think that is what was being referred to.
Too late. You already opened that can of worms, Einstein.
"According to the Churchs liturgical laws, Communion time is for Communion. Doing something other than what the liturgical rites prescribe during Mass is not permitted. The Communion portion of Mass is governed by the rubrics, rules, just like every other part of Mass. Priests and others have no authority to change those rubrics on their own. They shouldnt be giving blessings during Communion time. This is, nevertheless a wide-spread practice. In my opinion, all those people going up for a blessing, with good will and in good faith, are not doing anything wrong. I and others think (correctly) that the practice should be ended and people should be given the whys and wherefores. Ending it should be accompanied by lot of instruction and it should be ended through a careful and kind process."
Prove God's word wrong
I didn’t say the priest SHOULD bless someone. I said he can. He is the only one who can. A lay person can’t bless anyone.
By the way, here is a rejoinder to Fr. Z: http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2012/04/whats-wrong-with-blessing-children-in.html
I do liturgical training for my diocese and we are working hard to get the laity to realize they can’t bless anyone. Priests blessing people is another issue entirely.
I just skimmed the article for now and will read it in depth later. I had the terrifying experience of hearing a lay person at our local church encouraging the first communion children by saying something to the effect of spreading peanut butter on it.... People just don’t get it and so Thank God the priests are waking up!!
I think this is a good concept. I think all education should be based on individual ability and demonstrated comprehension, rather than the failed, assembly-line, "every X-year-old is the same," Prussian schooling model.
You are absolutely right ... lay people cannot bless others. I'm pinging Salvation to your comment. She is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and I vaguely recall her mentioning something about this on an older thread. Perhaps she can provide some clarification.
We don't see this in our parish but then we don't have lay ministers. Only the priest may distribute communion. Those children who have not yet made their First Communion, or non-catholic visitors, are blessed by the priest touching the their heads with the chalice.
I no longer am a EMHC, due to health (standing for long time — broken foot) and after reading a wonderful book that basically says that men should be EMHCs or lectors, not women.
I believe the author of the book will one day be a saint — probably not in my lifetime, but there are too many miracles connected with the author not to believe the book.
When I was distributing Holy Communion I would put my hand on the person’s shoulder and say something like “God blesses you always.” For children, I changed it to fit their age.
Never, never did I make a cross on the person’s forehead, and we do have a couple of EHMCs that do that. But they are older and will soon be retiring.
It’s only for the priest to bless a person in that way.
“bake a cake that doesn’t fall..
Cakes fall and dystopia happens and Christ had the nastiest death known to man.
Lay people cannot bless others - wierd dynamic
we can pray for each other though
Pray for our priests -
You can learn to bake a cake without falling, and Christ meant it to be.
All is well, under His wing.
What are you talking about?? this is a fallen world
well and succintly said!! Martin Luther (failed augustinian) vs. the real St. Augustine. How did those lies spread so easily?