Liturgy Corner

The purpose of the Liturgy Corner is to provide education to parishioners about liturgy in brief and easy-to-understand articles, while encouraging people to be critical and think more carefully about the issues surrounding the celebration of the liturgy. Liturgy Corner articles are primarily written by Father Paul Turner, pastor of St. Munchin Parish in Cameron, Missouri. Fr. Paul holds a doctorate in sacramental theology from Sant’ Anselmo University in Rome. Other articles will be written by numerous liturgists and priests from around the United States, and even some within the Diocese of Orlando.

El propósito de la Esquina Litúrgica es proporcionar educación a los feligreses sobre la liturgia en artículos breves y fáciles de entender, a la misma vez anima a la gente a ser críticos y pensar con más cuidado sobre los temas relacionados con la celebración de la liturgia. Los artículos de la Esquina Litúrgica están escritos por el Padre Paul Turner, pastor de la parroquia St. Munchin en Cameron, Missouri. El P. Paul tiene un doctorado en teología sacramental de la Universidad Sant 'Anselmo en Roma. Otros artículos serán escritos por numerosos liturgistas y sacerdotes de todo los Estados Unidos, e incluso algunos dentro de la Diócesis de Orlando.

Palms

03-25-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2005 Resource Publications, Inc. (edited by Jonathan Branton)

The Catholic faithful use palm branches at Mass on Palm Sunday and bring them home for devotional purposes. “Palm Sunday” is the popular name for the Sunday before Easter, though its full title is “Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.” Two Gospel passages are proclaimed at Mass that day: One tells of people waving branches or spreading cloaks to welcome Jesus in triumph to Jerusalem, and the other tells of his Passion and death.

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Indulgences

03-04-2018Liturgy Corner

An indulgence is the remission of punishment for a forgiven sin. If your child breaks a window at home and tells you, "I'm sorry," you may forgive the young offender, but you may still issue a punishment. In the Catholic Church the sacrament of reconciliation brings forgiveness of sins, which may still carry punishments. Indulgences relax the punishments.

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Veiling Statues

02-25-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2005 Resource Publications, Inc.

The veiling of statues is no longer officially sanctioned in the United States, but the practice continues in other parts of the world. In the past, crosses and statues in all churches were covered in purple before observing the Fifth Sunday of Lent. The cloth had to be opaque and free of symbols. For example, you could not cover a cross with a cloth decorated with a cross. Left unveiled were the stations of the cross, used for Lent devotions. Crosses remained covered until Good Friday, when the main cross for veneration was solemnly unveiled. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, the Easter Vigil was celebrated on Holy Saturday morning, and the statues were unveiled during the Glory to God. Where that was difficult, statues were uncovered later in the day.

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Rite of Sending

02-18-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc.

The rite of sending is a parish celebration that sends catechumens to the rite of election. At the rite of election, usually on or about the First Sunday of Lent, the church names the catechumens to be baptized at Easter. Generally, the rite of election takes place at the cathedral with the bishop. Because of the cathedral's limited space and sometimes remote location, parish communities celebrate the rite of sending.

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Lent

02-11-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2002 Resource Publications, Inc.

Lent is the season that prepares us to celebrate Easter. The main reason Lent is important is that Easter is our most important feast. On Easter we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whose passage beyond death into life offers redemption to believers. The resurrection is the cornerstone of Christian faith. The mystery of Christ’s rising from the dead is so deep that the church invites us to six weeks of preparation before we fully celebrate it. We call that period Lent.

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Flowers

02-04-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc., edited by Jonathan Branton

Flowers that decorate a church beautify the sacred place. Flowers please the eyes and the nose, engaging our senses in the wonder of creation. Flowers may draw attention to some object or to the sacred space they occupy. If your church has a gathering area (Narthex) between the front door and the worship space, a large floral arrangement on a center table may greet you as you enter. Some churches keep vases of flowers near statues of beloved saints, in wall niches or on shelves. You may also see flowers adorning the altar, ambo or font.

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Elevation

01-28-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc.

While reciting the words of Jesus from the Last Supper, the presider of the Mass shows the consecrated bread and wine to the assembly. His gesture is called the elevation. With each elevation he actually performs two actions. He shows the body and blood of Christ to everyone else, and then he genuflects in adoration. There is no explicit instruction for what the assembly is to do during the elevation. However, because the presider is instructed to show them the sacred elements, the obvious conclusion is that they should watch. Many worshipers lower their eyes and bow their head in adoration as the presider performs the elevation. This bow, well-meaning in its devotion, probably belongs more with the genuflection that follows the elevation.

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Forgiveness at Mass

01-21-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc.

The sacrament of reconciliation is the church's special celebration of pardon, but forgiveness of sins is also one of the fruits of the Mass. There are many moments throughout the Eucharistic celebration when the texts and gestures of the Mass express the community's sorrow for sins.

We begin with a penitential rite, which may include striking the breast in a simple gesture of sorrow. The presider then asks that God have mercy on us and forgive our sins. On Sundays this penitential rite may be replaced with a sprinkling rite, signifying our purification. While singing the Glory to God and the Lamb of God, we ask the One who takes away the sins of the world to have mercy on us. When the deacon or priest kisses the Gospel, he prays that its words may wipe away our sins. While washing his hands, the priest asks God to wash away his iniquity and cleanse him of sin. During the Lord's prayer we all ask God to forgive our sins.

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Epiphany Chalk

01-14-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc.

edited by Jonathan Branton

Some Christians bless their homes on Epiphany each year. With chalk, they write an inscription on the inside lintel above the door. The series of numbers, letters and crosses changes only slightly from year to year. For example, at the start of the year 2017, the line will read as follows: 20 + C + M + B + 17.

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Epiphany on Sunday

01-07-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2005 Resource Publications, Inc.

On many calendars, Epiphany falls on Jan. 6. But the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates it on whatever date Sunday falls during the week of Jan. 2. "Epiphany" means "manifestation," and it celebrates the day that the infant Jesus revealed his divinity to the magi. Traditionally, this event is connected with two others from the Gospels: the baptism of Jesus and the wedding at Cana. In all these events, the mystery of Christ became more manifest. The magi, coming from the East, signify that gentile nations – not just Jewish nations – were coming to recognize Jesus as the savior of the world.

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