Let’s bring an end to the use of Confirmation as a Kind of “Graduation”

Earlier this month Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu made waves by instructing his diocese that they are to begin efforts toward restoring the sacraments of initiation to their “proper order:” Baptism, Confirmation, and then First Holy Communion. As a liturgical theologian I applaud the change. It makes much more sense both historically and theologically to present the sacraments in this order.In the waters of baptism, a person is united to the life of God in Christ. Under the oil of Chrism, the … [Read more...]

Monks stand in prayer between police and demonstrators

I was moved by this display of liturgical action[Wednesday] morning, monks from the Kiev-Caves Lavra Fr. Gabriel, Fr. Melchisedek, and Fr. Ephraim stood on Grushevsky Street in Kiev with a cross and icons, between the demonstrators and the Ukrainian special police force “Berkut”, and stopped the conflict. They entered the arena as peace-makers, and not in support of one side or the other.Although they were invited to join the “people”, the fathers only prayed and sang the Paschal tropari … [Read more...]

▶ Interview with Tom Corcoran, author of Rebuilt

A few weeks ago I got to chat with Tom Corcoran about how he is working to put serving Christ and others at the center of worship and life in the Catholic Church. His new book Tools for rebuilding, which came out just over a week ago, offers a collection of best practices in how to take practical steps toward bringing new life and participation in the local parish. Take a listen!If you've read his first book Rebuilt, which tells the story of how he helped transform his parish or his new one I … [Read more...]

In the liturgy, the the music of heaven has already begun

Gregory Palamas once wrote that heaven would be akin to a dance without end before the throne of God (On the divine Energies, 76). This image is powerful, one can imagine the Church adorned in wedding garments joyfully being led into the dance of the life of God. Each step in rhythm with grace and love, each measure drawing us into the embrace of the unfathomable mystery. Such a vision is in many ways to wonderful for words, but for inquiring minds the question may naturally be raised, "What … [Read more...]

No Father Z, we are the icon of God

So today on @FatherZ 's blog I saw an image that really disturbed me. It was a depiction of the Mass being celebrated "ad orientem" (facing toward a crucifix) contrasted with the mass being celebrated "ad populum" (facing toward the people). It asked the question, which makes sense? Here is the image in question.First I have to make it clear that, although the evidence seems clear that a number of the ancient churches in Rome were constructed so that the priest would serve facing the peop … [Read more...]