Monday, June 11, 2012
SOME PEOPLE THINK I'M AN ULTRA TRADITIONALIST, BUT AM I REALLY A CLOSETED UTLRA LIBERAL? I REPORT AND YOU DECIDE!
One of the few homilies I recall from my childhood is one given by Father Nicholas Quinlan our pastor at St. Joseph Church in Augusta and this was in pre-Vatican II times so I must have been about 10 years old. He said that we should be hospitable to people when they enter our homes. (I don't recall the religious purpose for this assertion though.) The example he used was that if a household did not have any smokers, if someone visited who did smoke the hospitable thing was to provide an ashtray for them and allow them to smoke in your house. This seems so unhealthy now and archaic too! But in fact I can remember how rude one would be if one did not allow a passenger in one's car to smoke--thank God those good old days are gone. My Honda Accord doesn't even have an ashtray!
Well on Sunday I did the most hospitable thing I know to make it possible and comfortable for those who prefer to kneel for Holy Communion, I provided kneelers at all our Host stations.
This is what I wrote in my bulletin letter and reiterated in my Corpus Christi Homily at each and every one of the five masses I had this past weekend:
"Some people prefer kneeling for Holy Communion and Church law does not prevent this. Kneelers will now be available for those who wish to kneel. But the norm in the USA remains standing. The choice to stand (the norm) or to kneel (the exception) is yours."
And here is my casual observation of what happened by Mass breakdown:
The highest number who chose to kneel were at the 4:30 PM Saturday Anticipated Mass and the 9:30 AM Mass. The least number was at our 5:00 PM Sunday Mass. 7:45 AM and 12:10 PM had fewer kneeling percentage wise but a goodly number did kneel.
A goodly number of 20 somethings chose to kneel, but others I think, and this is just conjecture on my part, did not want to come across as "holier than thou" by kneeling. And in fact, if that is what some people think, that kneeling makes one look holier, then what does this tell us about kneeling and modeling reverence during Mass? Just wondering.
A goodly number of people knelt for the first time in their Catholic lives on Sunday as most of my parishioners are former Protestants or true converts. I had one of my RCIA candidates from this year's Easter Vigil who is a former Southern Baptist thank me for the kneeler and that she found it more reverent and "special" to kneel for Holy Communion.
But, folks, admit it, the very fact that I placed kneelers out for those who want to use them to receive Holy Communion means that I am really an ultra liberal, no?
Time will tell though as others watch the others kneeling for Holy Communion if more won't take advantage of this pro-choice option. I must add also that there was no difficulty offering the Consecrated Host to people who stood and received either on the hand or tongue. In fact, the kneeler forced these people to actually come closer to the minister distributing Holy Communion.