Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mass Intentions for My Mother

I am having a series of masses said for my deceased mother at my parish. She's been gone for eight and half years now. It feel good to see her name in the church bulletin. It feels even better to hear her name read during the Prayers of the Faithful. Friends of hers from way back said it was wonderful to hear that the mass intentions have been for her. Hearing and seeing her name makes her come alive for me. She was the first person to teach me about God. You never forget the ones you love. My father misses her dearly. We miss her in different ways.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Found - St. Therese Chaplet - Thank you again, Grandpa

Among my grandfather's' things was a St. Therese chaplet. It has twenty five beads and a single Our Father bead. And there's a St. Theresa medal with a relic! I like to think of my grandpa using it to pray. I like to think he prayed for me and my grandma and other relatives and himself. It kind of makes me want to cry. I just received this chaplet over the weekend though my grandparents died over a decade ago.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Looking Back and Dress Codes

Looking back in the archives of this blog, I can't believe I didn't write about what I did the summer of 2010.

I taught a high school summer school class in a public school. I was hired only a few days before the summer semester started. For three weeks, four and half hours a day, I taught a bunch of reluctant 15 year-olds;  half of them gave the impression that they would rather be smoking pot.

I helped my friend redecorate her home while I watched her die. (We didn't finish the project).

I sat with her as she died.

Then I watched a favorite aunt die that fall.

Anyway, I was looking back at that time because a) I'm still grieving especially the death of my friend, and b) I'm thinking there should be some kind of dress code for Mass.

There was a dress code at the public high school, and as much skin those high school girls could show, the girls at Mass this summer show a lot more skin. For some reason, it's kind of embarrassing to see them so scantily dressed go up to Communion.

I don't want Mass to turn into a fashion show, and we need not judge the outerwear of others. I kind of don't get why some bloggers show us what they wore to Mass. But, I am thinking when the public high school students are more modestly dressed than girls at Mass, something is off. Kudos to the local high school district for having a dress code.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Learning Experience - Ministering to Those in Their Sunset Years Who Require Assistance

Recently a group of the aged and infirm from a local assisted living home have started coming to Mass. I think it's a newly built home.  They come on a shuttle bus with staff members from the home, and the ushers mobilize to help them off the bus and into the seats in the church. These particular elderly people sit in the back though there is plenty of room up front, and they are certainly welcomed up front. There's room up front for walkers and wheelchairs too. This group comes with walkers and in wheelchairs, canes, and oxygen tanks.

So I was an Eucharist Minister and had to walk to their seats to give them Communion, and I'm always happy to do that for those who can't make it up to Communion. (There are people who do get in line with their walkers, wheelchairs, and canes.) The ushers direct me to those who are seated but wish to receive. It was a bit awkward because it was a learning experience for me. I'll do better next time, I hope.

  • They can't always see so well. So I or someone had to tell a few people I am there with the Host to give them Communion.
  • They can't always hear so well. I tend to speak softly because the people in the pews around them are praying, and I want to keep it reverent. However, I need to speak in at least a normal tone of voice. The idea is to communicate.
  • Sometimes they receive by hand, and their hands or arms don't work too well. 
  • Some can't chew or swallow too well or don't open their mouths wide enough. I need to give them a small piece. I accidently gave a woman two Hosts because they were stuck together. Then I was worried she would choke or it would fall out.
  • One staff member from the assistant living home said, "May I?" I gave the piece of Host to Miss Staff Member, and she knew exactly how to feed it to a resident. I half-worried that I broke some Canon law, but I made the quick decision that Jesus doesn't want to anyone to choke to death in church. Also, without the trained staff member assisting, the Host may have dribbled out onto the woman's blouse. That wouldn't have been good. The staff member had a respectful demeanor and therefore, treated the Sacrament with respect. I don't know if she was Catholic or not. I did give the other staff member Communion because she held out her hands to receive. After all, she couldn't leave her charges to get in the Communion line and go up front.
  • Some of the assistant living residents seemed they just woke up. Maybe they just did, or maybe they have a touch of dementia. Where they even aware of the significance of the Sacrament or that they were at Mass? I wondered, but realized NOT FOR ME TO DETERMINE.

I went back to my seat and just asked God to sort it all out. God knows the heart and mind and soul of those residents. God knows the road they have traveled so far. God knows I tried my best and my ignorance (though I'm a little bit smarter today). Jesus wants all to partake, and everyone is welcomed at Mass. I know people receive graces in ways I don't know. It's not up to me to determine eligibility. It is up to me to be the best instrument I can be.

However, I think I'm going to shoot an email to the rectory or call that perhaps we Extraordinary Ministers need training in ministering to special populations in Church.