Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Holy Cross: Mt. Adam's Report

It is a little known fact that the day on the liturgical calendar that marks a patron saint or patronal feast for a parish is, for that parish, a solemnity--that is to say, a feast day of the highest rank.

So, for example, last Saturday was the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross. Since our parish here is Holy Cross-Immaculata, that means it's one of our two patronal feasts.

Another little known fact is that a parish has the option of celebrating such a feast on the nearest Sunday, if it falls during Ordinary Time--which this feast does. (On the other hand, the feast of the Immaculate Conception can't be moved to Sunday; and why would you?)

So, this past Sunday, that's what we did.

That meant using the prayers and readings for the Holy Cross feast day, rather than the Sunday readings and prayers. That took a little effort to get the readings out to the scheduled readers; but they managed it fine. Unfortunately, I forgot--at 11 am Mass--to tip off the folks in the pews, so they were a little puzzled with the Missallettes. Sorry, folks!

Since it was such a big day, we had incense at the Saturday evening Mass, and at 11 am. I'd like to have sung more of the prayers, but for some reason, I'm having difficulties with some of the chants since the new translation; and folks here are still getting used to the amount of chanting I do as it is. It doesn't help when I don't hit the notes right.

But here's something special we did, which seemed to have been a hit.

We have a relic of the True Cross (actually, we have two of them); and I thought this would be the right time to display the relics for veneration. So I asked the deacon to carry it in; and as it is, presumptively, the Cross itself, I didn't have a server carry a cross. Instead, the deacon walked behind the server with incense.

I incensed the relics as is usual (that is, when a priest uses incense); and then, after the dismissal--but before the closing hymn (which isn't part of Mass anyway), I offered everyone a chance to venerate the True Cross, followed by a silent blessing with the relic. Almost everyone stayed, including for the blessing, and they seemed deeply moved. 

It helped that our fine deacon gave a careful explanation both of the origins of the relics, and the reasons we treat them as probably genuine. (Not infallibly, as no claim about a particular relic is a part of the Deposit of Faith.)

While I don't know how long I'll be at Holy Cross-Immaculata, I hope this is a tradition we can maintain.

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