St. Stephen Cathedral Mass
Blessed Sacrament Chapel Mass
Published on August 19th, 2011
Several people have come to me expressing concerns about a restaurant scheduled to open soon in the Mall. Apparently, it is the practice of this chain that the servers wear skimpy and provocative clothing, contrary to the modesty and decency we have a right to expect in public places. In their words, “attractive, model quality Show Me’s servers.” I encourage those who find this offensive to write letters voicing your concerns to the owners of this establishment and to our local paper. When the restaurant opens, the surest way to insure that it will not be there long is to avoid going there and discouraging others from patronizing the establishment.
It will soon be Advent and we will begin using the new translation of the Roman Missal. As we prepare for this transition, I feel it important to state clearly once again that the Mass is not changing. The Latin texts from which all translations are made have not changed at all. What is changing is the translation of some of the prayers we say.
I would like to address a comment regarding the prayers at the beginning of Mass just prior to the Opening Prayer. We are accustomed to calling this part of the Mass the “Penitential Rite,” but in the Roman Missal it is more properly called the “Penitential Act.” The word “rite” is commonly used for one of the Sacraments (Rite of Baptism or Marriage, etc.) but the word “act” in this context refers to a step or action that is part of something larger. According to the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, “Our communal ‘action’ of acknowledging our sinful state is the first step toward thankfulness for God’s mercy, which is always greater than our sinfulness.” In other words, the purpose of this part of the Mass is not so much an examination of our conscience as it is the admission that we are sinners so that we can praise God for His mercy. “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.” We must always make a distinction between this Penitential Act and the Rite of Penance with sacramental absolution. That is not what is occurring during this part of Mass.
Love, Fr. John