More Alms and More Grace
Sunday, May 31, is Pentecost Sunday (Year B, Cycle I). Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass at St. Peter's at 9:30 a.m.
It's a great idea from an unexpected submitter. EPriest.com passes on an idea submitted by Cardinal Roger Mahony at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.
"Slowing down the offertory process and placing emphasis on preparing our gifts has made a big impact upon the people," he says. "It has also increased the offertory collection by 10% to 15%."
Msgr. Kevin Kostelnik developed the idea. At the end of the Prayer of the Faithful, the celebrant reads a brief two or three sentences linking something in that Sunday's Scriptures to preparing our gift at the offertory. The ushers come down and stand at their respective places, then wait. "We give them a full minute of silence," the cardinal says. Then they pass the baskets.
Anyone ever caught by surprise by a basket knows how helpful this is. If you don't have an envelope, it gives you time to grab more than a stray dollar bill. See more details at the website.
For Pentecost, you can give seven gifts appropriate for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit to seven families: an Ignatius Bible (wisdom), Sophia Press' The One-Minute Philosopher by Montague Brown (understanding), Ignatius Press' Sermon in a Sentence: Teresa of Avila (counsel), A Man for All Seasons DVD (fortitude), The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (knowledge), National Catholic Register's Guide to the Rosary (piety), and Our Sunday Visitor's A Pocket Guide to Confession by Michael Dubruiel (fear of the Lord).
Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34; First Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23
We both took the class "20th-Century Literary Revival" from Dr. Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis in college.
He introduced us to Flannery O'Connor's stories, including "The Enduring Chill."
It's a short story that can provide great discussion for older kids — particularly those who, like one of ours, plan to be confirmed this year.
The story has some great features to it: the young hypochondriac who sees himself as a tortured artist; his failed attempt to find a priest who will tell him what he wants to hear.
The vision of the Holy Spirit at the end upends his — and our — notion of the comforting dove.
It's a good introduction to this form of fiction that is symbolic and focused on the mystery of grace.
Today at Mass the Church prays the Pentecost Sequence. In its typical rhymed form it is hard to understand. In this prose version, which we featured in Faith & Family, it is a powerful prayer for hope, real peace and renewal. It's one you might want to return to even after Pentecost:
Come, Holy Spirit, and from heaven direct on man the rays of your light. Come, Father of the poor, come giver of God's gift. Come, light of men's hearts.
Kindly Paraclete, in your gracious visits to man's soul, you bring relief and consolation. If it is weary with toil, you bring it ease; in the heat of temptation, your grace cools it; if sorrowful, your words console it.
Light most blessed, shine on the hearts of your faithful — even in their darkest corners; for without your aid man can do nothing, and everything is sinful.
Wash clean the sinful soul, rain down your grace on the parched soul, and heal the injured soul. Soften the hard heart, cherish and warm the ice-cold heart, and give direction to the wayward.
Give your seven holy gifts to your faithful, for their trust is in you. Give them reward for their virtuous acts, give them a death that ensures salvation, and give them unending bliss.