null

One-Verse Reminders

Every morning I begin the day with Liturgy of the Hours and the daily Mass readings, along with the Daily Gospel Reflection from CatholicMom.com.

That means I’m reading parts of three psalms every single morning.
The Psalms have the power to derail my morning prayer—or, more accurately, switch it to a different track—like no other element of the readings and prayers for the day.
Usually that’s because, as a musician and sometimes cantor at my parish, I can’t help but hear the melody for those psalms from when I’ve sung them at Mass. (This is only a bad thing when the verses I’ve sung before are different from the verses I’m reading now.)
But Psalm 42:3 (from yesterday’s responsorial psalm) hits different.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
I don’t hear a melody behind that one: I hear a voice.
There’s a woman in my parish who served faithfully for many years as a sacristan for daily Mass and a frequent lector. When I read that psalm, which comes up fairly frequently in the weekday readings, I hear Cathi proclaiming it. Her accent (there’s more than a hint of New York City) sounds like home to me, so that might be the reason her delivery of the first part of that verse made such an impression.
Athirst is my soul for God—the LIVING God.
That’s not a word I would have emphasized, but every time she did so, I’d lose track of the rest of the psalm while I mulled over how it’s important to remember that God IS a living God. Living, present, active, and loving. And our souls long to see Him. We were created for exactly that.
I suppose it’s OK to be derailed a bit if you’re actually thinking about the message of the readings, as opposed to your grocery list or how behind you are on the laundry or how you’ll solve this or that problem at work.
If you’re a lector, your natural inflection and emphasis can lead the reader to contemplate in a way you probably never expected. You are bringing the LIVING Word of God to your parish. And our souls long to hear it.
null

Copyright 2022 Barb Szyszkiewicz
Images created in Stencil

Holy Cross Cathedral Boston 2019

At Simply Catholic: Prayer as Liturgy

I have a new article up at Our Sunday Visitor’s SimplyCatholic.com: Prayer as Liturgy.

A few highlights:

Liturgy, which includes but is not limited to the Holy Mass, is considered “formal” prayer because it follows a certain pattern, or rubric. Liturgical prayer is also “common” prayer, meant to be prayed by the community as a group.

The liturgy of the Church includes the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, and the celebrations of the sacraments.

Liturgical prayer invites us to engage in praise, blessing and adoration, thanksgiving, petition and intercession as a community.

Read the whole thing: Prayer as Liturgy.

This is the second in a series of eight articles on prayer. A new one will be published each Tuesday at SimplyCatholic.com.

 

Boston's Holy Cross Cathedral, copyright 2019
Boston’s Holy Cross Cathedral

 


Copyright 2021 Barb Szyszkiewicz
Photo copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz, all rights reserved.

"Wrong Answer. Wrong Question?" by Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS (Franciscanmom.com)

Wrong Answer. Wrong Question?

“How was church?” I asked my daughter yesterday after she returned from the 8:00 Mass.

“Boring.”

Maybe I’d asked the wrong question. Maybe I should have inquired if she’d seen anyone she knows there, or how the music was, or who had preached the homily.

I don’t know what answer I’d hoped to hear. But the answer I did hear leads me to believe that I’ve failed.

When I was her age I suffered through the summers because I had to sit in the pews instead of with the musicians. I didn’t have a place to sing at home in the summertime. I’d go to Mass with my parents sometimes (and once I begged sheet music for original hymns from the songwriter who was playing them at Mass.) Other times, I’d walk to the church a mile away from our house. A lot depended on my work schedule.

I didn’t consider it boring, but then again, I didn’t go to Mass expecting entertainment. My biggest obstacle in the summer was that I wasn’t serving.

And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I haven’t taught my kids that Mass isn’t about entertainment. Maybe I haven’t stressed enough that we’re not there to get, but to give (and I’m not referring to what we’re putting into the collection baskets).

I can make my kids go (as long as they’re living in my house) and I can even insist that they don’t wear shorts to Mass. But I can’t make them want to.

Is my example enough? Is bringing them week after week after week, sending them to Catholic school, enough? Should I have done, said, been something more?

Have I failed my Domestic Church?

Photo copyright 2015 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz

#WorthRevisit: A Wise Choice

For Worth Revisit Wednesday, I’m thinking about Mass. TheKid is attending theatre camp, so I can’t easily make it back here on time for daily Mass. There are two closer churches that I can attend, and while they’re not “home,” a Mass at some other parish is better than no Mass at all.

On Friday, I attended the Church Where Everybody Knows Your Name. Or at least Father does. At the end of his homily he asked mine. A woman in front of me turned around and said that Father likes to know everyone’s name. Then, during the prayer of the faithful, he named every single person in that building (at least 50 people!) I was amazed.

Father H

Let’s look back at a one-liner today, from 2007. I miss Father H’s homilies!

Father H, in his mini-nugget of wisdom that passes for a homily at daily Mass, told us that “Every time we hear the Gospel at Mass we are left with a choice.” (chew on THAT for a while–he’s right!)

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

It’s All About Timing

This morning I read an article on Catholic Stand: The 18-Minute Mass.

Though I can’t get behind every statment or suggestion in this article, author Kevin Aldrich makes a good point: it’s not that hard to set things up so that the option of daily Mass is open to more Catholics.

It’s something I’d love to see happen around here.

My parish used to have an 11:45 Mass. People from several neighboring parishes (and others from farther afield who worked in the area) would come to this Mass during their lunch breaks.

When the parish merged, we switched to a 9-AM daily Mass time slot–like nearly every other parish in the area.

masstimes_appicon_1024pxA quick check of MassTimes.org shows that within a 5-mile radius of my home, on any given weekday, I can attend daily Mass at these times:

8 AM – at 2 different parishes
9 AM – at 5 different parishes

We have a total of 7 parishes in a 5-mile radius and everyone’s praying at the exact same time.

Why not spread it out–and publicize it? Why not have Parish A schedule an early-morning Mass (6:30 or 7?) Why not have Parish B take a noon time slot? Why not have Parish C celebrate an evening Mass?

Allowing more options for daily-Mass time slots, it stands to reason, will allow more people the opportunity to attend daily Mass. If neighboring parishes worked together to spread out the Mass times and to get the word out, attendance should increase.

It’s like that line from Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.”

Late for Mass: Have I Missed the Boat?

get me to the church on time

Tomorrow will be the last day for 5+ weeks that I can get to daily Mass on time.

That’s because The Kid will be attending theater camp, which begins at 9 AM (the same time as Mass), 3 towns away.

Last summer I tried going to Mass at one of the 2 parishes close to the camp, but I was late getting there, and I didn’t feel comfortable walking into an unfamiliar church after Mass had begun.

Punctuality is a thing with me. I hate to be late. I hate when others are late. And now I have to choose between being late to Mass or not being there at all. I hate that idea even more.

So today I asked Father what he thought about me slipping into Mass late. Yes, I would be later, even, than if I attended Mass at one of those other churches, but I’d be at my “home base” and I felt better about approaching the issue this way.

Father assured me that because I wasn’t going to be late because I was too busy hitting the snooze alarm, but rather because I was doing something my child needs me to do for him, I’d be OK.

I will make a special effort to read the daily Mass readings ahead of time, because I’ll probably miss some of them. Fortunately I can go to CatholicMom.com each morning for the Daily Gospel Reflection and catch the readings there.

And if I get The Kid to camp a bit early, I can send him in as soon as the adults arrive. That will get me on my way a little earlier.

Finally, I’ll slide into a pew in the way back, rather than my usual spot nearer the front, so I won’t be as much of a distraction.

I’m thankful for the reassurance I got this morning about my plan to try getting to Mass after the camp dropoff each day. And that reassurance I got today will help me remember not to judge others who don’t arrive on time. Maybe they’re taking care of a family member’s needs too.

I guess the only thing I still need to know is: who’s the patron saint against getting speeding tickets? I’ll have to put him on speed-dial!