Bulletin Letter – 5/19/24

May 18-19, 2024

Dear parishioners,

Congratulations to all of our high school seniors who are graduating this weekend!  Please keep them in your prayers as they move forward into the next stage of their lives.  In a particular way, we pray that they keep the faith and stay close to the sacraments of the Church as they discern what they will be doing in their professional careers and as they navigate whatever the future holds in store for them.  May Christ continue to bless and direct them in all their future endeavors!  

On a different note, I have received inquiry from some parishioners as to whether or not those attending Mass are permitted to hold hands as we chant the “Our Father” together.  You might recall that this topic was addressed during the Covid-19 Pandemic, especially in regard to not making hand-to-hand contact with others.  To provide an answer to the present inquiry, I refer everyone to a statement from Bishop Thomas on the occasion of the restoration of Masses without Covid-19 restrictions, dated May 14, 2021.  In this memo, Bishop Thomas stated, among other liturgical items, that: 

The faithful should be reminded/catechized to refrain from physical contact (handholding) during the Lord’s Prayer, a gesture that is not prescribed in the Roman Missal. This moment is an opportunity to explain to the faithful of those congregations where this practice has become a custom that such a practice should be permanently discontinued. Extending hands during the Lord’s Prayer is reserved to the Priest Celebrant and concelebrating Priests only who pray together with the people (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 237).

In other words, the practice of holding hands during the Our Father was never something that the Church asked us to do.  This practice is something that came about quite separately and independently from the rubrics of the Mass.  As mentioned above, the rubrics of the Mass require the priest to extend his hands during the Lord’s Prayer.  This is the case because it is the priest who is lifting up the entire congregation’s prayers as he prays it with them.  The faithful, for their part, remain attentive at prayer with hands folded. 

Although the practice of holding hands during the Our Father is commonly said to be done so as to draw the focus of the faithful to the unity of the congregation, this actually contradicts, albeit unintentionally, the very reason we come to Mass in the first place.  At Mass, we always seek to keep our focus on Christ rather than direct our attention to ourselves.  Keeping our hands folded during this moment of the Mass helps us to stay focused on what has happened/is happening on the altar- Christ Himself physically present before us in the Eucharist.  Kindly know of my appreciation for your attention to this matter.  If you have any questions, concerns, or frustration with this, please feel free to contact me and we can discuss it further.

Lastly, as you have noticed advertised in prior bulletins, the Diocese of Toledo has announced the inquiry period for the next cohort of men (currently between the ages of 29 and 59) interested in pursuing the permanent diaconate.  As we have advertised, the Diocese of Toledo will be holding meetings this Fall for those interested.  The deadline for part 1 of the application for the formation program is January 4, 2025.  If you are interested, please contact me at the parish office to discuss further.  I am happy to answer any questions and explain in more detail all that is involved in the formation process.  


Fr. Ammanniti