Thursday, September 03, 2009

Mass for Bishop Moeddel

Last night, we had a Requiem Mass for Bishop Moeddel at St. Boniface. It was simple, but it was a privilege for me to offer the Mass. John Wright and the Schola Cantorum provided music; Father Tom and Father Ang concelebrated with me (all in black vestments); my homily talked some about Bishop Moeddel, but more about the importance of praying for those who had died, and thus joining ourselves to the Mass for someone who has died, to be purified in purgatory. We did use some Latin; I didn't use incense, because I knew some would avoid the Mass if I did.

Sorry I didn't give you a head's up, I do what I can.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why in the world would you want to wear black to celebrate Bishop Moeddel's entrance into his eternal reward? That is one of the "old ways" that totally baffles me. Makes absolutely no sense to me.

Father Martin Fox said...

Anonymous:

Black is the color of mourning. A lot of us are very sad to lose Bishop Moeddel.

When people come to funerals, I notice they often were somber colors, and black is frequently what they wear. People still wear black armbands on such occasions. When Pope John Paul II died, we tolled the bells and draped his portrait in black. When I went to the cathedral on Saturday, it was draped in black bunting for Bishop Moeddel's funeral.

Are all these customs wrong, do you think?

Anonymous said...

As a Christian, death is not to be mourned, but celebrated. I realize black is used for mourning, but the church should teach the proper perspective of death. I think the Cathedral should have been draped in white or gold, to proclaim to the world the joy that one of its members has entered into everlasting life. The change from the black of mourning to the white of celebration and joy was one of the most meaningful changes the church has made. And the bells should not have tolled but rung in joyous celebration. That, too, would have sent an awesome message to the world of the faith we have in life everlasting. So, yes, for Christians, the custom of black sends the wrong message.

caite said...

anonymous, the custom of black funeral vestments is centuries old in the Latin Rite and not to be so easily dismissed. There is often much to be learned in the 'old ways' if we take the time to try and undersatnd them. There was recently an interesting discussion in the comments on one of Father z's blog post that is rather informative... http://wdtprs.com/blog/2009/09/poll-what-color-vestments-for-your-own-funeral/

Anonymous said...

Caite, I have read most of the comments on the site you gave me. I think that you would have to agree that those who answered the survey do not in any way represent a tru cross-section of American Catholics. I have lived through the old times and I can tell you that I find a "white" funeral celebration much more meaningful than "black". Using white does not indicate the deceased is a saint or does not need prayers. In a wonderful way it indicates to me the awesome beauty of God's forgiveness and the promise of eternal life with God. It is truly a celebration of our faith. As an afterthought I don't think that I have ever seen or read an official explanation of why black was used except as a color of mourning. When someone dies, we mourn from the time of death, thru the viewing. On the day of the funeral our minds should be on the celebration of our faith, a faith that teaches us to believe and hope for a better life after death. Death is simply a transition to something we hope and believe is better.

caite said...

I would suggest that on the day of the funeral, and every day after, our thoughts should be on praying for the eternal soul of our loved one.

I certainly hope that after I die, at my funeral and elsewhere, those that care about me offer their prayers to God for mercy on me, a sinner, like us all.

Anonymous said...

Caite, I can't agree with more. It is what we have been taught from childhood. And as far as color goes, that should be the least of our concerns during this time. I would begrudge no one who would wish to have black vestments for their funeral Mass. But please make mine white.

In Christ.