Snow and Vacation. It looks like the parish weathered last weekend’s snow pretty well. No damage to the church or facilities, and no severe damage or injuries reported by parishioners. Praised be Jesus Christ.
If you couldn’t get to Mass last Sunday due to the weather—whether from being snowed in, or out of serious fear of maneuvering in the snow or ice—be assured that no sin was involved. On the other hand, for those of you who did make it to Mass, I want to tell you how proud I am of your effort. I know God will give you a little extra grace for that.
And I’m sorry I couldn’t be here with you to endure/enjoy the snow and cold. Unfortunately, I was in Florida, golfing in 80 degree and sunny weather.
Parish Volunteers. As we begin a new year we all make certain “new year’s resolutions.” I hope this applies to us especially when it comes to resolutions about growing in our Catholic Faith.
One of the best ways to grow in your Catholic faith is to become active in one or more parish groups or committee. It may not be as essential as receiving the Sacraments, reading the Scriptures or studying the Catechism, but getting involved in parish activities can be an important means of discovering the meaning of Christian service, as well as the support of your fellow parishioners. Moreover, it can lead you to discover other opportunities the parish provides for spiritual growth.
I know when I was a 20-something year-old Catholic lay man that was an important factor contributing to the deepening my faith. Sometimes the Church, and even the parish, can seem so huge and impersonal. But by being involved in a particular small group or activity of the parish you can really become involved in the life of the whole parish. Not only does this create a personal and familial sense of belonging, but it also draws you deeper into the life of the whole parish and the whole Church—you meet more people and make more good Catholic friends who help and encourage you in your spiritual and moral growth.
So this year I encourage you to resolve to take a more active part in the life of our parish, and to do so as did the Lord Jesus, who “came to serve, not to be served.” Resolve to become a committed volunteer for one or more activities or groups in the parish.
Many St. Raymond parishioners have a strong history of committed volunteerism (God bless you!). Sometimes, however, this causes others (especially newcomers) to think that their help isn’t needed. But the reality is just the opposite: we constantly need fresh ideas, younger muscles, new voices, etc. And, frankly, some of our volunteers are stepping back due to age, and others are just worn out because they don’t get the help they need!
Moreover, we can’t grow or improve, much less keep current services going, if we don’t have more help, and new help! So I encourage folks who aren’t committed to some volunteer parish activity now to do so in 2019, especially those who are newer to our parish. And I encourage those of you who are volunteers already to invite other parishioners you meet to join you!
I know everybody’s busy, and many of you are already serving the Lord in many ways outside of the parish. But I beg you to think and pray seriously about the specific ways you can volunteer in our parish. We need your help. To jog your thoughts here, see the insert in this bulletin for list of the various parish committees/activities that need your help.
In particular, I know of immediate needs among the Ushers, the Choir, and the Knights of Columbus. But, look over the insert, and ask God to show you where He wants you.
The Maniple. Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing about the vestments the priest wears at Mass. But one priestly vestment that you may not even be aware of is the “maniple.” This vestment is about a yard long and 3-5 inches wide and is worn over the priest’s left forearm.
Historically, the maniple probably derives from the small towel or handkerchief, a “mappula,” than ancient Romans wore on their left arms to wipe away sweat or tears. The use of this as a liturgical vestment dates at least to the 6th century in Rome, and very early on came to symbolize the tears and sweat related to the toils of the priest. St. Alphonsus Liguori tells us that it, “was introduced for the purpose of wiping away the tears of devotion that flowed from the eyes of the priest; for in former times priests wept continuously during the celebration of the Mass,” (The Dignity and Duties of the Priest). Other symbolic meanings are often attached to it as well, such as relating it to the ropes or chains that bound Jesus during His Passion.
If you’re not familiar with this vestment, don’t worry—it is hardly ever used anymore. In 1967 the Vatican allowed that, “The maniple is no longer required,” (Tres Abhinc Annos, 25), and when the new Roman Missal was published in 1970 the maniple was omitted from the list of required vestments for the “Novus Ordo Missae” (New Order of Mass) or the “Ordinary Form of Mass.”
However, it continued to be worn by priests celebrating the “Extraordinary Form of Mass” using the Roman Missal of 1962, or the “Old Latin Mass.” Because of this, some priests have asked Vatican officials if the maniple may still be worn even in the Ordinary Form. In response to this and other questions about vestments, in 2010 the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff issued an explanation of the vestments worn at Mass, in which it reminded us that the maniple was never forbidden and so is still a legitimate vestment in the Ordinary Form: “It fell into disuse in the years of the post-conciliar reform, even though it was never abrogated.” (See “Liturgical Vestments and the Vesting Prayers,” http://www.vatican.va/).
As a priest who celebrates both the Extraordinary Form and Ordinary Form of Mass I have often thought of wearing the maniple during the Ordinary Form, i.e., our regular Sunday Mass. One reason it fell into disuse is that it is a bit cumbersome/awkward having a long piece of cloth tied to your forearm during Mass. But to me this awkwardness serves as a constant reminder both that priestly ministry involves the hard work and suffering (sweat and tears), and that I must say Mass with profound reverence and devotion (i.e., St. Alphonsus’ “tears of devotion”).
So, I’ve decided to wear the maniple, at least at some of my Sunday Masses. We’ll see how it goes. But I thought you’d like to know what was on my mind in doing this.
Oremus pro invicem, Fr. De Celles