Tag Archives: catholic

Why do the Clergy wear Vestments during Mass and other Liturgical Celebrations?

POPE PIUS XII – – in full vestments                                       stock photo

By Larry Peterson

The origins of wearing vestments at liturgical ceremonies date back to the Old Testament. The Old Testament practice of wearing special garb for religious events did influence the church. However, Christian vestments were not adaptions of the Old testament clothing but were more or less copied from the dress of the  Roman-Graeco world.

History tells us that in the early Christian church, priests and other clergy wore the same type of clothing as everyone else. When celebrating Mass or conducting other liturgical ceremonies, they were required to make sure their clothes were pure and clean.

The 4th century saw the beginning development of the vestments we see today. By the beginning of the ninth century rules for vesting were more or less set in place. Finally, by the 13th century,  the Catholic Church had set in place the vesting process which, except for minor changes, has lasted more or less up to the present time.

If you were an altar server or sacristan it would be your job to lay out the vestments the priest would be wearing for that day’s Mass. You would have to know what they were and how to present them. This is the order for the vesting process. It follows the rubrics (rules) of the Church:

  • Amice

The Amice is used to cover the collar of streetwear. Today it is mostly used by priests celebrating the Latin Rite (Tridentine Mass). There are those priests who do wear it when celebrating the Novus Ordo Mass. The Alb can be used to cover the collar instead of wearing the Amice. Originally used as ahead covering the Biblical reference is from Ephesians 6:17: “And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is God.”

  • Alb

The Alb is the long white garment that covers the priest from the neck down to his feet. It is white to symbolize freedom from sin and purity in life.  From the Book of Revelation 7:14: we have; “ “These are the ones who have survived the great period of trial; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

  • Cincture

The Cincture is the long cord with tassels on the end that the priest ties around his waist to hold the alb in place. Unlike the Stole this can be white or the color of the vestments. This reminds the priest of the quote from 1 Peter 1:13: “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

  • Stole

The next item you layout is the Stole which is laid on the ChasubleThis is the long cloth that drapes around the neck and hangs down beyond the waist. This may be crisscrossed across the chest which symbolizes the Cross. The Stole is the same color as the Chasuble. It reminds the priest to preach the word of God with courage and conviction. Biblical reference is in Hebrew 4:12: “Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating between even soul and spirit, joint and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”

  • Chasuble

The Chasuble. This is the outermost garment that only a priest or bishop may wear. It is only worn when Mass is being offered. It covers and embraces all underneath it.  Biblical reference is in Colossians, 3:14: “And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.”

  • Maniple

There is one more and it is called the Maniple. This is similar to a large handkerchief that hangs over the left forearm. It is the same color as the other vestments. It stopped being used after 1969. However, it is still required use for those priests who offer the Latin Mass (Tridentine  Mass).

There are many more vestments used in liturgical services such as Benediction, Adoration, and processions. Several common ones are the Cope, the Humeral Veil, the Surplus, and the Dalmatic which is worn by Deacons. These may be presented at another time.

 Copyright©Larry Peterson 2018

 

 

Family and Death—The common denominator that helps many move forward is FAITH.

Grief looks to faith

By Larry Peterson

I am the oldest of five, and my mom died when I was fifteen. My brothers were eleven, six, and two. My sister was twelve. Grandma lived with us and decided that dad had killed her daughter. Mom, who had just turned forty, had died of leukemia; so grandma was wrong. But dad believed that we kids were better off with Grandma looking after us than him doing it. He was wrong too

Since there was no reasoning with her, dad became a constant patron of the local saloons. (We lived in the south Bronx, and there were plenty of “watering holes” for him to choose from). The truth of it was—he could not live with her as she berated him mercilessly every chance she had, including calling him a no-good murderer. Yup, in keeping away from her got to know a lot of people, and everyone loved him.

Two years after mom passed on, Grandma had a massive stroke. Some events are emblazoned into your memory forever as if they just happened and this was one of them. Dad was home, and he yelled to me, “Something’s wrong with your grandmother. She needs your help. I’m calling the priest.”

I heard the word “priest” and hurried into the kitchen. Grandma was standing with her head arched into her shoulder and her hands were clamped like vise-grips onto the cupboard door. I had to pry her fingers up one at a time, so I could drag her to her bed. My little brothers and sister were staring at this spectacle taking place. It was surely a surreal moment.

I managed to drag her convulsing and contorted body to her bed. Dad was home and called the rectory. She was squeezing my hands so tight I thought they might break. She was conscious and looking me in the eyes as I looked into hers. “Grandma, pray with me. Okay grandma, C’mon, pray with me.”

Together we prayed the “Our Father.”  Barely able to speak, she made an Act of Contrition. She sort of relaxed a bit and her eyes closed. Father Quirk hurried in and gave her the Last Rites. She died soon after as I held her in my arms. The ambulance was too late.

Dad was like a lost pup. Monsignor Martin gave him some work at the church, and he drove a cab a few days a week. He was not living as much as he was existing. He drank too much and two years later he died of an acute attack of Pancreatitis. That was the moment we officially became orphans. I was old enough to work so things worked (pun intended) out—as best they could.

My brother Bobby passed away unexpectedly ten years ago, from a heart attack. He was 53.  The baby of the family, Johnny, sad to say, took his own life when he was 55. He had alcohol and other drug issues during his life and any deep-seated issues he may have had were never resolved. He had just turned two when Mom died and (according to several medical health professionals) his suicide was the final result of the losses he suffered during his formative years.

My high-school sweetheart, Loretta, stuck by my side (I had three brothers I was taking care of) , and her family was not too happy about her and I being together. In hindsight, I understand why. But her loyalty and love for me was unshakable and we tied the knot several years later. We were married thirty-five wonderful years.

In 1978, she was expecting our fourth child and was in her sixth month of pregnancy when the baby was still-born. We named her Theresa Mary, and she is buried with my parents. Loretta became ill in 1991, was sick for a long time, and passed away from melanoma in 2003.

Four years later I married again. Her name was Marty (Martha), and we were both members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. In March of 2017, Marty passed away after fighting lymphoma and Alzheimer’s disease for six years. We had made it to our tenth anniversary.

So there you have it; our lives will all end in death. Many have reached out to God and embraced the faith He has gifted us. Many have rejected it. That is called a “choice.” For those who have embraced the God given gift of Faith they know that death is a NEW beginning. Having that gift to live with can help make  living gratifying, no matter what the circumstances.

 

Copyright© Larry Peterson 2019

 

Mary Lou Williams—-This Catholic Convert and famed Jazz Pianist composed Sacred Music including the First Jazz Spiritual Mass celebrated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Mary Lou Williams–Jazz great                                                       www.npr.org

By Larry Peterson

Mary Elfrieda Scruggs was born on May 8, 1910, in Atlanta, Georgia. When she was a toddler the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and this is where Mary grew up. She was the second of eleven children, but unlike her siblings, Mary was a “gifted’ child.  She had perfect pitch and a superb musical memory and was picking out tunes on the piano at the age of two.

Her mother, a classically trained pianist, recognized the talent and began teaching Mary how to play when she was three years old. By the age of ten, Mary was known as the “Little Piano Girl” and was performing for audiences all over Pittsburgh.

She was only seventeen when she met saxophonist, John Williams. They married, and he and his new wife moved to Oklahoma to join the popular band, Andy Kirk and the Twelve Clouds of Joy. This was when Mary Lou began to be recognized as an outstanding piano player and musical arranger. By the late 1930s, Mary Lou Williams was arranging for renowned musicians such as Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and Louis Armstrong.

In 1942, Mary moved to New York City. Duke Ellington recorded her arrangement of “Trumpet No End,” and her reputation became known all over the country. She began meeting with younger musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Charlie Parker. They would meet in her apartment and discuss and write music together. She made the transition to bebop and wrote songs such as “Waltz Boogie,” “Knowledge,” and “Lonely Moments.” But her life was soon to take a dramatic change.

Mary Lou had always possessed a deep need to develop her spirituality, and she knew something was missing from her life.  In 1955, she began her journey in Harlem at the Abyssinian Baptist Church. She even tried preaching in the streets. Ironically, it was Dizzy Gillespie, who was the link that connected her to Catholicism.

Dizzy introduced Mary Lou to Father John Crowley, a priest he had met in South America. Father Crowley also happened to be a jazz lover. The priest persuaded her to “offer her playing up (to God). Mary Lou embraced Father Crowley’s advice and began doing just that.

Mary then went over to Our Lady of Lourdes parish on 142nd St. in Harlem. She knocked on the door, and Father Anthony Woods answered the door. He invited her in, they became friends, and he soon became Mary Lou’s mentor. She began receiving instruction in the Catholic faith and was baptized on May 7, 1957. She received her Confirmation one month later.

Mary had refrained from performing because she realized that jazz did not fill her spiritual needs. However, once a Catholic she was buoyed by her new faith. Finding the comfort she had sought, she resumed her musical career appearing with Dizzy Gillespie at the Newport Jazz Festival of 1957.

She founded her own label, Mary Records, which was the first recording company started by a woman. She also started Cecilia Music Publishing Company. Influenced by post-Vatican II reforms and by the civil rights movement, Mary now wanted to write sacred pieces. Looking for some guidance, she asked Father Woods to help.

He assisted her with the lyrics for her first sacred work. The result was a piece called Black Christ of the Andes (1962). This honored St. Martin de Porres,  the lay Dominican from Lima, Peru, who was the patron saint of black and mixed-race people.

Mary Lou was the guiding spirit behind a February 1967 concert at Carnegie Hall, entitled Praise the Lord in Many Voices. She wrote Mass for the Lenten Season (1968), and Music for Peace (1970) which came to be known as Mary Lou’s Mass.

In 1975, Mary Lou’s Mass became the first jazz arrangement to be performed at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. She became an artist-in-residence at Duke University and taught at the  University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She also received an honorary degree from Fordham University.

Mary Lou Williams died on May 28, 1981, from bladder cancer. She was seventy-one. She is known as the “first lady of the jazz keyboard,” but it was her Catholic faith that ultimately defined her musical legacy.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

Meet Dr. Lena Frances Edwards—This Pro-Life, African American, Catholic Mother of Six changed the Face of Medicine in America

Dr. Lena Frances Edwards                                              aleteia.org

By Larry Peterson

Lena Frances Edwards was born in Washington, D.C., on September 17, 1900. Her father, Thomas Edwards, was a dentist and an oral surgeon. Her mom, Marie Coakley Edwards, was a homemaker. They were not only African American, but they were also devout Catholics.

Lena’s mom devoted her time to instilling the faith into her four children. Teaching them civic responsibility, developing personal self-worth, and a philosophy she called  “Lift as you Climb’, Marie Edwards left no stone unturned in doing her best to raise well-rounded youngsters. In 1917, Lena graduated at the top of her class at Dunbar High School and was the valedictorian. Mom had taught her well.

Lena then attended Howard University and earned her baccalaureate in three years he moved on to Howard University Medical School and graduated from there in 1924. While in medical school she and a fellow student, Keith Madison, became a couple and upon graduation they married. Between 1925 and 1939 they would have six children.  Following her mom’s example, Lena raised them with their Catholic faith always at the forefront of all they did.

After completing their internships at Freedman’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., Lena and Keith moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, to establish their medical practices. During Lena’s early years of practice, she had to work from home and delivered most of her patient’s babies from the small clinic she had set up there.

It was during this time that she also became a public speaker about women’s health issues and an advocate for natural childbirth. She was also a staunch defender of life from conception and on. She spoke about public health and social issues at local churches and the YWCA. She helped organize the People’s Charitable League which included a day-care center which she provided with ongoing medical visits.

Her career changed when she was granted admitting privileges to Margaret Hague Hospital in Jersey City. Unfortunately, because of her race and her gender, she was prevented from being given a residency in obstetrics and gynecology until 1945. When she finally decided to sit for the National Board Examinations, she had to fight to garner the necessary hospital endorsements. Obstacles to her advancement were always in front of her, and with prayer and grit, she always seemed to knock them down.

In 1954 Dr. Edwrads returned to Washington, D.C. and took a position at Howard University teaching obstetrics. In due time she was offered the job as a department chair, but she rejected the offer because of her strong, religious objections to abortion.

While in Jersey City, she had focused on treating the poor Eastern European immigrants. Now, in the nation’s capital,  she turned her attention to working with the poor black. She became part of the Urban League, the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, the Social Work Advisory Committee, and the Catholic International Council. She also served on boards for unwed mothers and local maternal welfare organizations.

In 1960. Lena moved to Hereford, Texas to help in starting Our Lady of Guadalupe Maternity Clinic for poor Mexican migrant women. She served there until 1965 when a heart attack cut her career short. She went back to Washington and resumed work at the Office of Economic Opportunity and Project Head Start. She retired in 1970, her heart too weak to continue working.

During her life, Dr. Lena Edwards was foremost a devout and ardent Catholic woman. In 1947, she became a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis. Her son, Thomas, joined the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and was ordained a priest in 1962. He was the first African American priest to be ordained in the Society of the Atonement.

In 1964 Dr. Lena Frances Edwards was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the governments highest peacetime honor, honoring her lifetime of work and service for those in need.  She continued to lobby against abortion and programs that she felt demeaned and hindered the progress of the poor.

Dr. Edwards, always fortified by her Catholic faith, overcame many obstacles considering the prejudice and discrimination that was so prevalent during the first half of the twentieth century. She was truly a remarkable woman and a shining example to all people, no matter what their ancestry. She passed away in Lakewood, New Jersey, on December 3, 1986.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

 

An unexpected Evangelization Moment—Distributing Ashes on Ash Wednesday in Walmart

Celebrating Lent                                                                    allevents.in.jpg

By Larry Peterson

The USCCB states that evangelizing means bringing the Good News of Jesus into every human situation. So how can we everyday Catholics always be prepared to evangelize?

Our behavior and our actions and the words we use are tools for evangelizing. They show that we are Christian. Saying grace before meals while in a restaurant with family or friends or simply having an “I Love Jesus” bumper sticker on your car gives a powerful message. You get the idea.

Many times things happen that are “in our face,” and we have only a moment or so to decide what to do; should we stay and help or keep on walking?  It is very easy to “ignore,” a situation, but that is not what the Good Samaritan did, is it?  What follows is an example of one of those unexpected moments.

I am an  EMHC, and on Ash Wednesday, on my way home after distributing ashes and Holy Communion, I decided to make an unplanned stop at Walmart. I did not have to go there; there was nothing specific I needed, but there was the store and the next thing I knew, the car was parked.  As I walked toward the entrance I decided I needed “double A batteries.” I did not need them but I guess I had to validate my being there.

Walking into the store, the express lanes were ahead and to the right.  Ahead and to my left was McDonald’s. Outside McDonald’s was a bench and sitting in it was an elderly lady I knew from church. We have been friends for a long time and her name is Rachel. I walk over to her to say “hi”, and she looks at my forehead and says, “Oh, Larry, it’s you. We forgot today was Ash Wednesday. We didn’t get ashes.” Let the unplanned evangelizing begin.

Rachel weighs about 70 pounds soaking wet and she is in her late eighties. Her husband, Jim, has Parkinson’s disease and is about the same age. They were both widowed and have been married for about fifteen years. I was still in my shirt and tie and wearing my EMHC cross. Next thing you know I am sitting next to Rachel praying with her and placing ashes on her forehead. When I finish I ask her, “Where is Jim?”

Jim was on the line in McDonald’s. The entrance was about fifty feet from where we were sitting. As I got up to find Jim,  I noticed there were about a half-dozen people standing there watching us. It dawned on me that there were some people wondering why I was smearing dirt on an old lady’s forehead. I simply looked at them all and said, “Hi folks, today is Ash Wednesday. You can Google it.”

I turned and headed into the restaurant. There is Jim, standing there about eighth in line with about ten more people behind him. The place is packed and the poor guy is standing there with his left forearm and hand trembling unmercifully. I walk up to him and he is stunned to see me. I say as quietly as I can, “Jim, I just gave Rachel ashes. Would you like to have them too?”

As I stood praying softly with Jim, our audience began to grow. By the time I placed ashes on his forehead more people were coming over to see what was going on. I did hear some people mention, “Ash Wednesday.”

That was my impromptu queue. I turned and faced the gathering crowd and raised my hands in the air. “Hey everyone, today is Ash Wednesday. I am Catholic as are my friends here who I just happened to bump into. They were unable to get to Mass today so they are receiving ashes which remind us to “remember that we are dust and into dust we shall return.”

I actually gave several more people ashes but then I had none left. I know a lot of people, religious and non-religious alike, watched the unscripted distribution of the ashes. It was an evangelization moment for sure and it all happened in less than fifteen minutes. I also know it had to be my guardian angel who helped me pull that steering wheel to the right leading me into Walmart.

A sidebar to all of this; I never got the batteries.

copyright© Larry Peterson 2019

This Blessed Mother statue was carved by an Angel; Our Lady of Liesse aka Our Lady of Joy

Our Lady of Liesse aka Our Lady of Joy                  amercianeeds fatima.com

By Larry Peterson

During the time of the Crusades, it happened that one day three of the Knights of St. John were caught in an ambush and captured by the Saracens. The three prisoners were brothers and happened to be from the highly regarded family of Eppes in northern France. They were all loyal and true to the faith, a trait that would be immediately tested.

The men were taken to Cairo and brought before the Sultan. The Sultan thought he could convert them to Islam by offering them lavish gifts, but that proved to be an effort in futility. The Sultan angered at their obstinance,  threw them into prison. The three men were then subjected to all kinds of torture and hardships, including starvation. It did not matter; they refused to waiver.

Exasperated at his failure to convert the men to Islam, the Sultan tried another approach. He sent his beautiful daughter, Princess Ismeria, to try and win them over.

Princess Ismeria knew the cruel death that awaited the three Knights if they did not give in to her father. However, when she would try to coax them with promises of riches and high positions they would quote scripture to her. She began to weaken, and then they told her of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They told her that the Virgin Mary’s image was enough to capture every heart, convincing it to love her.”

Princess Ismeria, curious about this beautiful image, asked the brothers to create an image of this Divine Mother so she could see what she looked like. She gave them wood, brushes, paints and all the necessary tools to make such an image. Then she went away.

The brothers, having no idea how to make a statue,  fell into a deep sleep. As they slept an angel, sent by the Virgin Mary, came and carved a statue of the Madonna with a face that was filled with kindness and love. Soon after finishing, a brilliant light awoke the three young men.. When they saw the figure, they immediately knelt before it and began to pray.

Early the next morning, Princess Ismeria arrived and saw the statue. She was astonished and fell at the foot of the icon. She began pleading with the Virgin Mary to make her Christian through Baptism. That night, as the princess slept, the Blessed Mother appeared to her in a dream and told her that the three knights would escape from Egypt and take her to France with them

When Ismeria awoke she rushed to the tower and found the big doors opened. She led the knights out of the fortress giving them their freedom. They made their way to the banks of the Nile, and a boatman was waiting to it take them across. When they reached the other side the man vanished. He had been an angel sent by Our Lady.

As evening approached, the four travelers sought out some shelter to rest for the night. Exhausted from their long day’s journey, they quickly fell asleep. When they awoke, they discovered that they were in another place. Confused, they asked a traveler where they were. He told them they were in Picardy, which was near  Eppes. They all knelt in prayer realizing that another miracle had occurred bringing them to safety.

They had carried the statue from Cairo and began walking toward their villa in Eppes. As they neared the villa, the statue became so heavy they could not move it. They were in the town of Liesse, and they immediately knew that this was the place Our Lady wanted her statue to stay.

The three brother Knights of St. John were greeted with great jubilation by their relatives and friends. They were all fascinated by Princess Ismeria who renounced her former life. The Bishop of Leon baptized her and gave her the name of Mary. Her prayers had been answered. The people built a church to receive the Statue of Our Lady of Liesse.

As time went by the church took on the name of the statue and then the entire region. Eventually, the Basilica of Notre Dame de Liesse also became known as Our Lady of Liesse and Our Lady of Joy. Pilgrims come from all over the world to see the statue and there is an annual pilgrimage to the Basilica on Whit Monday (the day after Pentecost). The Feast day is December 2.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

A Priest and his Bishop defend the Faith in Kansas

By Larry Peterson

Once again folks who reject the teachings of the Catholic Church are claiming ‘victimhood.” That is because the Church will NOT accommodate their blatant rejection of Catholic teaching.  St. Ann Catholic School in Prairie Village, Kansas refused to accept a child into their kindergarten class. The reason was that the child’s parents are two lesbians who are “legally married” under state law.

The pastor of the Church, Father Craig Maxim, stood by Catholic doctrine. Here is an excerpt from CCC 2357: —“Basing itself on sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that  ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life—-under no circumstances can they be approved.”  (Click here for entire link)

The Archbishop of Kansas City, Joseph Nauman,  gave his priest his full support. Kudos to both of them because, first and foremost, they are the spiritual guides to the lay Catholics within their authority. They did the right thing. They stood tall in the face of the “social justice” mantra and the secular onslaught that has grabbed hold of so many in our culture. “Social Justice” is a fallacy because all it means is that it is OK to do what is pleasing to you. That is also called secularism, and that has even fooled many Catholics into embracing it.

Using the guise of compassion and tolerance and Christ’s love, they reject church teaching in favor of what makes them feel good.  According to WDAF-TV in Kansas City and FOX4kc.com within a short time more than one thousand signatures were on a petition demanding the church rescind their ruling and allow the child to attend St. Ann’s.

One parent, Joe Skates, who admits he does NOT like organized religion but sends his kids to another Catholic school nearby, was quoted as saying, “The hypocrisy is so insane. I just don’t really get it. They need to change. They need to modernize.”  But it is Mr. Skates and those who agree with him who are the hypocrites. The church is defending its principles. That is NOT hypocrisy.

The petition that has been submitted reads as follows, “Respectfully, we believe that the decision to deny a child of God access to such a wonderful community and education, based on the notion that his or her parent’s [sic] union is not in accordance with the Church teaching in Sacramental marriage, lacks the compassion and mercy of Christ’s message.”

Why do Mr. Skates and so many others “not get it?” This is church teaching. These are part of the rules. They do NOT have to send their children to Catholic school and then demand the Church reject its teachings to accommodate their wants and desires. It does not work that way and it is time for this “political correctness” nonsense to be shut down.

The microcosm of society is the family. The Catholic church has always defended and honored family.  Once again we can reference the Catechism at CCC 2202. “A man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children, form a family. This institution is before any recognition by public authority. It should be considered the normal reference point by which the different forms of family relationships are to be evaluated.”

The child’s lesbian parents want their child educated in a Catholic school and to receive teaching that goes against the very core of what they believe. The school will teach that marriage is ONLY supposed to be between a man and a woman. The child will learn that God created man and woman and that children can only be a result of the bond between them.

What should the child think when her “parents” are two women? Why would they want the child to go there? Why would they want the child to come home to a family that is being taught as improper? There are many other alternatives, and they are free to enroll their child in any other school. This makes no sense whatsoever.

As far as Father Maxim and Archbishop Nauman are concerned, They displayed courage and conviction in defending the faith and I, for one, am proud of them.

 

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019