Handshakes, High Fives, Hugs and Kisses: The Sign of Peace, What It Means and Why It Sometimes Doesn’t Work

At one church in our archdiocese, the Sign of Peace is offered enthusiastically. Clandestine handshakes give way to effluous hugs, cheeky kisses, whispered greetings. Worshippers reach out, grasping one another's hands during the Our Father. United in joy and praise, they raise their clasped hands high as they say, “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.” These faithful Catholics welcome the opportunity to celebrate their unity and enjoy the casual friendships that a … [Read more...]

Dear Choir Director: Let’s Make a Deal

 I try hard not to be a cranky Catholic.  I may have a personal preference, but I can appreciate all kinds of worship styles, even those that some folks regard with disdain:  Organ and guitar.  Choir and community.  Gregorian chant and David Haas vocals.  Latin and vernacular.I do have one issue, though, which no one from the post-Vatican II era of the St. Louis Jesuits seems to understand:  I can't pray over the sound of pop music.That means that as I approach to receive commu … [Read more...]

What Part of “Keep Holy the Lord’s Day” Don’t You Understand?

 Ah, Summertime!Time to kick back, forget to set the alarm clock, enjoy a leisurely breakfast over the morning paper.... BUT WAIT!  The clock is ticking.... and if you don't hurry, you'll NEVER make it to Mass on time!What, you can pray as well out in nature, you say?  Blah, blah.... But here's the thing:God told us, in the Third Commandment, to "Keep Holy the Lord's Day."  That's "holy" as in "pray."  Devote that one day each week to Go … [Read more...]