Monday, April 24, 2017


An answer to my prayers happened during Holy Week. For the first time since I used incense at a funeral, my first funeral in our new church, which at Holy Communion triggered our elaborate system of smoke detectors causing strobe lights, ear piercing sirens and a mechanical voice declaring in an ominous tone, "a fire has been detected, evacuate now" over, and over again, all of which caused the deceased to rise, I used incense at our Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper to include the transfer of the Most Holy Eucharist as well again at the Easter Vigil and without incident.

While I did not use incense on Easter Sunday, I did on Divine Mercy Sunday at our 11 AM Mass which I see as our "principle" Mass and will continue to do so each Sunday. As well we will use incense at our Confirmatioin Mass next Sunday and our First Holy Communion the following Sunday.

You may be wondering, how in the name of God and all that is holy, are you able to use incense without your post-traumatic stress syndrome completely overwhelming you?

We shut the system down altogether, which takes a kind of act of congress to do so. We designate fire monsters, usually our ushers, call our fire monitoring system and indicate to them we are going to turn off the system. They give us permission after we tell them how long a period it will be. Then we go to our mechanical room and enter elaborate codes and push secret buttons and use two separate key pads until the system is disabled.

It is so convenient and so simple, no?????


brc said...

This sounds cumbersome. Acknowledging that this particular system is installed in a church where the liturgy contemplates the use of incense, there must be some way to lessen the sensitivity to what is effectively vapor vs open flame burning/charring/toxic smoke. Had your system been installed where I attended Divine Liturgy yesterday, it would have gone off continuously for an hour and a half!

Victor said...

Your trouble with burning incense proves that your church is neither Catholic nor Orthodox, but Protestant.

Joe Potillor said...

We have a saying in Easterndom, if you can see the priest, you didn't use enough incense. Or if you can see the iconostasis after the great incensation, you didn't use enough incense.

When I was Roman, it was my goal to set off the smoke detector during Mass, succeeded once. :p

In Easterndom, our smoke detectors are less sensitive, and usually don't go off with incense.