My Dear Parishioners,
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia recently reinstituted the liturgical practice of offering one another the sign of peace at Mass. In the instruction, it says that there are no prescribed words or gestures for this practice so if you are not comfortable shaking hands you may choose another suitable gesture. In every case, I would hope that no one would make someone who is unwilling to receive a hand shake feel uncomfortable, because that is the exact opposite of a sign of peace. Here is the instruction that we received.
The sign of peace gives expression to the peace of Christ that arrives with the Eucharistic Prayer, the “Sacrifice of our reconciliation” (Eucharistic Prayer III), and prepares for the deepest possible communion with the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ. Although there are no prescribed gestures or words for this sign in the United States, it is expressed typically with shaking hands. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (hereafter GIRM), number 154, adds, “[w]hile the Sign of Peace is being given, it is permissible to say: The peace of the Lord be with you always, to which the reply is Amen. The gesture should be fitting and sober and extended to those who are nearest (see GIRM, number 82). Waving and the victory sign would be incompatible gestures with the intended expression of communion with those nearest to one another. The invitation to offer the sign of peace always remains optional (see GIRM, number 154, and the Order of Mass, number 128). An example for the use of this option is when the faithful are scattered throughout the church and sitting at a distance from one another.
This week we also celebrate Memorial Day. The website www.usmemorialday.org says that it is a day of remembrance for those who died serving our country. Originally called Decoration Day, it was first established as a way to honor those who died in the Civil War. The date May 30, 1868 was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. After World War I, the holiday was designated as a day to honor Americans who died in any war. Later the date was changed to the last Monday in May. I know that traditionally this is the “unofficial start” of the summer season, but let’s not forget the reason for the holiday. We are grateful for the service and sacrifice of all those who died serving our great country. Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine on them. May the Souls of all the Faithful Departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in Peace. Amen.
Last Saturday Archbishop Perez ordained six men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Please pray for the newly ordained priests and for an increase in vocations. Sadly we learned that St. Robert Bellarmine parish will be losing their parochial vicar. Fr. Anthony Raymundo will become the School Minister for Monsignor Bonner/Archbishop Prendergast High School. Fr. Raymundo has not been replaced with another priest. Unfortunately there just aren’t enough of us to get around.
God Bless You!