Spirituality

Including an ancient hymn at a funeral, and an unconventional Mass

Father Kenneth Doyle[/caption] Q. I would like to have the "Dies Irae" played at my funeral Mass (which I hope will be in the distant future). Is this permissible? (Towson, Md.) A. The "Dies Irae" (literally, "day of wrath") is a 13th-century hymn that served until 1970 as the sequence prayer (following the Gospel) in the standard Catholic funeral ritual. It had been set to soaring and majestic music by such composers as Mozart and Verdi. That hymn was removed from the "ordinary form" of the funeral ritual in the liturgical reforms following the Second Vatican Council.

Faithfully celebrating ‘feasts of quiet remembering’

“…and we remember James Collins, who died on this day in 1893.” Every day at Morning Prayer, we remember members of the local Augustinian province who died on that date. Here we are gathered, briefly holding in prayer a young Augustinian priest, who died a more than a century ago, just a year after his ordination by Archbishop Patrick Ryan of Philadelphia. There is no one left alive who knew him. But we pray, regardless.

Should a diocesan appeal replace a homily?

Q. I feel very disappointed and perplexed at the decision of our diocese to omit the homily, without any reference to the Sunday readings for the day, in order to use the time instead to campaign for our annual diocesan appeal. It happened last year and again this year. Shouldn't better judgment be used? What, after all, are our priorities? (Richmond, Va.)

On holy days of obligation and sacramental sponsors

Q. While visiting family in Maryland on the weekend before the feast of the Ascension, I attended a local Catholic parish and heard the priest announce that the feast would be observed on the following Sunday. When I got back to Pittsburgh, I went to work that Thursday unaware that it was a feast day; I was very upset to learn later that in the Pittsburgh diocese, the Ascension is still observed on Thursday, making it a holy day of obligation. My question is this: How could I have sinned in one diocese when I would not have sinned in another? I find this inconsistency quite confusing. (Pittsburgh)

When adversity comes at us, joy is the antidote

A good friend of mine from our college days at Fordham University lost his wife of 62 years to Parkinson's disease. I was unable to attend the funeral but offered to come to his home a month later and have a memorial Mass for her happy repose. With few exceptions, his whole family attended: children, grandchildren and his brand-new great-granddaughter. The in-laws were present as well. We had a blessed reunion.

Is there a path toward holy Communion for a remarried Catholic?

Q. I am a divorced and remarried Catholic, married now for more than 20 years to my second wife. I continue to attend Mass, but since my marriage have been unable to receive holy Communion. It seems to me that, if a priest can forgive a murderer -- assuming that the person is truly repentant -- he should also be able to forgive someone for remarrying after a divorce. (I am truly sorry for what I did to contribute to the divorce, and in particular for the pain which the divorce caused our children. But the situation is irreversible now; I cannot simply leave my present wife, whom I love very much.)

Vatican II texts critical for navigating troubled world, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Though they were written a half-century ago, the documents that came out of the Second Vatican Council are indispensable for helping today’s Christians navigate their way in a stormy world, Pope Benedict XVI said. Unfortunately, the council’s 16 landmark documents have been buried under “a mass of publications, which, instead of […]

The relevance of religious faith in the world of business

I meet monthly as a facilitator for a small group of active and retired business professionals who have one thing in common: a desire to reflect on the relevance of their religious faith to their business and professional responsibilities. At our most recent meeting, we began, as we always do, with a short Scripture reading followed by a few moments of quiet reflection and then an open exchange of insights prompted by reflection on the text. The reading at our previous meeting was from Ephesians 3:14-21 and the lines that caught the attention of all were the words "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith" followed by the assertion that God "is able to accomplish far more than we all ask or imagine."

Christ, not priest or faithful, is at center of the liturgy, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A liturgy is not Christian if Christ is not the center of the celebration, Pope Benedict XVI said. “The conviction must grow in us every day that the liturgy is not 'our' or 'my' doing, but is God's acting in us and with us,” he said Oct. 3. The pope spoke […]

Rosary key to evangelization, helping families, says Marian expert

ROME (CNS) -- As the church is set to begin the Year of Faith and a synod on the new evangelization, the rosary can play a key role in strengthening and spreading the word of God, said a leading American expert in Marian studies.