Call Me Catholic

Mitres, Crosiers, & the Eucharist

The other day Bishop Kagan celebrated Mass for our local homeschool group to signal the beginning of another academic year.  We were very grateful to him for this.

Two of my sons served this Mass.  (Paul, of course, could not, as he was still in the hospital.)  Their particular roles during the Mass were to take care of the Bishop’s mitre and crosier.  Each son wore a special cope draped over his shoulders, which he used to cover his hands, so as to never touch either object.  For only the bishop may touch these holy items.

It was impressive to watch this interplay of giving and receiving.  One instinctively knew that something special was being given and received each time, by nature of that cope.  It was out of the ordinary and beautiful.  I wish I had a picture of it.

Kagan’s homily was beautiful too, even though it appeared to have nothing to do with the Mass readings.  Rather, it was all about the Real Presence in the Eucharist.  At the time I wondered if he was reflecting on the recent Pew Research Poll showing that 69% of Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence.  In other words, the majority of Catholics believe the Eucharist to be only a symbol, which is nothing short of a tragedy.

My Husband is Spot On

I called my husband that night (he was still in the hospital with Paul) and told him about the Mass, about Kagan’s homily, about the boys serving, and finally about the special treatment of the mitre and the crosier.

My husband was quiet a moment and then said, “It is beautiful how carefully and respectfully the bishop’s mitre and crosier were handled.  You know, we used to treat the Eucharist this way too.  No one touched Him with his hands.  Rather, we knelt at an altar rail, and we received Him on our tongues.”

My husband sighed and went on, “I wonder if there would be more belief in the Real Presence if our actions showed what our hearts believed?”

“You mean,” I said, “if churches were to bring back altar rails and patens and if we all knelt once again?  You think it would help Catholics believe in Jesus’ Real Presence?”

“Yes.”

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

This got me thinking.  Of course our actions and our postures matter.  There is a little phrase that one comes by, “Lex orandi, lex credendi.”  It means that how you pray will affect how you believe.  For our actions and postures aid our faith and belief.

4 thoughts on “Mitres, Crosiers, & the Eucharist”

  1. Wonderful post! I enjoyed hearing about your boys serving mass and I have wanted the altar rail back too! Have you ever been to the Guadalupe Shrine in LaCrosse? All their masses use one and it is so reverent and beautiful. I don’t think the communion line took any longer and an extraordinary minister wasn’t needed. I was raised to receive on the hand, but after my son was born I always ended up holding him and receiving on the tongue. It felt weird to go back so I’ve stuck with it now. And yes that poll is disheartening but I am also not surprised.

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    1. I’ve always wanted to go to the Guadalupe Shrine in LaCrosse. In fact, it’s so close to Rochester, that we’re contemplating a family trip when Paul has his next round of Mayo appointments. We’ll see. Our Lady would definitely have to intercede for us, to make that happen! As Shawn has virtually no vacation days, and it would likely require at least one night at a hotel… Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

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